In Dining

Daniel Jacobs loves restaurants with a welcoming, fun vibe.

What Chefs Eat: Daniel Jacobs of Dandan, EsterEv and Fauntleroy

Season's eatings! The weather may be getting colder, but Dining Month on OnMilwaukee is just cooking up, dishing out your winning picks in this year's Best of Dining poll. Dining Month is brought to you by Fein Brothers, your premier food service equipment and supply dealer in Wisconsin since 1929. Congratulations to all of the winners, and happy eating for all those who voted!

There's no shortage of articles and television shows that showcase the dishes that chefs love to cook at their restaurants. But, what do they love to eat at the end of their exhausting 16-hour days? Or on their days off?

In this series, we ask Milwaukee area chefs to share their favorite dishes – both from area restaurants and for eating at home. In this edition, we talked with Chef Daniel Jacobs of Dandan, EsterEv, and Fauntleroy.

"For a chef, eating … it's so different," says Chef Daniel Jacobs. "I'm cooking Chinese American food and French food … and while I still really like takeout Chinese from places like Jing's, I don't eat it as often. And we just opened a French restaurant … so the thought of eating another French onion soup or pate right now … it's just ... no."

Jacobs says the lifestyle and dietary changes he's implemented to manage his Kenndy's Disease have also impacted the way he eats.

"I feel like my tastes have changed so much over the past number of years," he says. "I've definitely become more aware of what I'm eating. It's gotten to the point that when I eat a cheeseburger and it's not really good, I get really mad … because it just feels like a waste."

Jacobs says that when he does eat out, it's often with his wife, Kate Riley.

"We cook quite a bit at home," he says. "But when we go out, we want to have a good time and we want to eat things that we'll really enjoy. We bounce all over the place. And lately, for me, eating out is a splurge. So we eat pizza and pasta quite a bit."

Rotisserie chicken at Goodkind

"Kate is mostly vegetarian, and right now I'm eating this mostly Keto diet. So this is an awesome place for us. We can get a salad. And we can both find things that we love to eat."

"I tend to judge a restaurant on its chicken because there's this really fine line between OK chicken and really great chicken … and Goodkind's is really great. It's juicy AF and the skin is nice and crispy. It's so simple … it's just dressed with a vinaigrette and finished with just a little bit of fennel pollen. We actually finish our chicken at Fauntleroy that way; it's something we blatantly stole because it's awesome. I love it. I eat that chicken probably once a week."

Bolognese at Tenuta's

"When I'm really cheating, we go to Tenuta's. It reminds me a lot of the Italian-American restaurants my parents took us to when we were kids. And I love how comforting it is. The people are great and the food is good."

"The bolognese with pappardelle is always great. It's satisfying and comforting, and it brings back memories. My mom hates this; but a lot of my early cooking memories are with my dad when he was out of work. He was laid off for about two years, and so he'd have a list of chores that my brother and I were supposed to do when we got out of school. And my way of getting out of them was to help out in the kitchen. And for some reason, his spaghetti sauce is one of the memorable things. He'd put this really shitty wine in it, but it was really so good."

Pork Torta at Casa de Alberto

"We live in Bay View, so this tends to be a great place to meet friends from Riverwest, since it's kind of right in the middle. It's also this sort of place that's just really welcoming. The people are really, really nice."

"I'd ordered a lot of things off the menu, but then my friend Bruce introduced me to the torta. It's so f*cking good. It's crazy good. It's craveable. It's the sort of thing where you think about it and your mouth waters. The bread is super buttery and crispy, but soft. And there's mayo and sour cream and pork. And the onions are abrasive in this really good way. It just makes me really happy."

Ultimate comfort food

"For this, I'd have to go with biscuits and bacon gravy. It's something Kate's mom always made. I had it for the first time at her parents' house while we were dating. And now we make it at home. It's pretty much made the same way as you'd make any biscuits and gravy, but with bacon. Maybe it's cliche, but it's delicious. It's perfect on weekends when we make brunch at home."


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