MOn the other hand, you’ll find Angel Chavez crafting perfect interpretations of French classics like crème brûlée at Bistro Campagne, where he’s the pastry chef. But two days a week, he runs Au Levain, an individual bakery in Lincoln Square that brings unexpected influences to classic baking.
Consider his breakfast challah, a thick roll of challah, that staple of Jewish holiday dinners, topped with a baked egg, bacon, and Gruyere ($ 7). His kouign-amann ($ 5) wouldn’t be out of place on a cheese plate – it’s garnished with homemade brie and apple butter. Chavez serves his Basque goat’s milk cheesecake ($ 28) with a changing selection of sauces, like cardamom and cinnamon cajeta. He even bakes some of the best chocolate chip cookies in town: stuffed with chocolate, they come in packs of 16 ($ 18) – you can freeze them ($ 15 for 15), if you prefer, to put them in. in the oven whenever you want.
Chavez’s baked goods are a far cry from the conchas he nibbled at his great-grandfather’s bakery in Mexico City, but his inspiration still comes from those memories. “I remember the smell of sugar and caramel,” he says. “This is what I think about when I create my own recipes.” Order at aulevainchicago.com for pickup on Sundays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Bistro Campagne (4518 N. Lincoln Ave.).