Jeff Mauro stops in to see his friends at Conte de Savioa, in the heart of Chicago's Little Italy, to learn the secret of making fresh mozzarella and gain a few other insights for his Italian sandwich fest back home. Once in his own kitchen, Jeff takes some of the creamy fresh cheese he helped make and puts it first on an Italian cold-cut sub and then atop the classic sausage and peppers hero. And even your sweet tooth gets a little relief with Jeff's fun and creative take on the Italian favorite dessert, the cannoli.
Yearly Mauro family trips to the sun and surf of coastal Mexico have left Jeff with a love of Mexican food. Jeff likes it all, but saves a special place in his "corazon" for tacos al pastor, or slow-roasted marinated pork. Jeff brings his Spanish-fluent brother Frank with him to his favorite state-side pastor joint to learn the secrets of this delectable meat from a master. He takes what he's learned back home and makes his own version of Tacos al Pastor with readily available ingredients, stirs up a smoky and spicy Roasted Salsa for his Lime Tortilla Chips, and finishes off with a classic Mexican Torta sandwich, featuring a breaded and fried steak cutlet topped by jalapenos and cool avocado slices.
The po' boy is one of the greatest members of the sandwich pantheon, and Jeff Mauro knows exactly where to find the real deal in Chicago, so he heads to Poor Phil's to get up close and personal with their blackened catfish po' boy, then heads back to his own kitchen to whip up some down home classics of his own. He stuffs fat shrimp, battered and fried, into a crusty roll slathered with remoulade for his tangy authentic Shrimp Po' Boy, and pairs them with the cheesiest grits you've ever tasted. Then he finishes his tour below the Mason-Dixon with spicy Louisiana Hot Sauce Chicken Sandwich With Cajun Ranch Dressing. It's a show full of sandwiches that'll bring out the Southerner in everyone!
Like a man on the hunt for Bigfoot, Jeff Mauro heads to Milwaukee in search of the legendary giant macaron. He finds it in its natural habitat, the pastry kitchen of Chef Andy Schneider at La Reve. Andy takes Jeff to the pastry board and shows him how to wrestle one of these light yet chewy behemoths out of a few simple ingredients. Inspired by all he's seen, Jeff heads back to Chicago to make his own sweet sandwiches, starting with one that uses Andy's giant macaron as the bread of a sandwich stuffed with coconut lime cheesecake filling. Next up is a sweet and savory crepe, starring chocolate hazelnut, banana, and potato straws. Finally, a creamy and sinful spiked Vanilla Malted Milkshake.
If there's one ghoul with a passion for the freaky fun, food and sweets of Halloween, it's Jeff Mauro. And the scary good times are only fueled by the costumed excitement of his young son, Lorenzo. So Jeff heads downtown to do his homework at a place that makes a frighteningly large array of sweet cookies and delicious Halloween-themed ice cream sandwiches. He gets a lesson in some key autumn flavor combos, then heads home and gets busy with some sweet/savory Halloween combo sandwiches to feed Lorenzo and his friends before they head out to trick or treat the neighborhood. The classic flavors of a caramel apple go devilishly well with bacon in his haunted take on a Panini. Then, an eyeball-shaped ham sandwich that stares back at you and Mummy Aki Chicken Fingers straight from the tomb of King Tut will keep his little goblins fueled and focused to bring back bags stuffed with candy.
On the search for healthy sandwiches, Jeff Mauro heads up to Graze restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin to pick up some techniques from a chef who makes the most colorful and craveable veggie burger on the planet. Back home, the healthy swagger of a Caesar salad helps jazz up Jeff's Grilled Chicken Wrap, while he uses what he learned in Madison to help him put together a Middle-Eastern spiced mini burger. And on the side, a healthy snack that's almost too good to be true: crunchy kale chips with a barbecue flair.
With a bad case of party fever, Jeff Mauro heads up to Milwaukee to get learn the secrets of the gigantic party sub from the folks responsible for feeding barbecue and sandwiches to half the Wisconsin State Fair. After a hands-on demo, Jeff wrestles a 6-foot hero roll home and starts building his own party sub -- succulent slow-cooked pork done as a gigantic Cubano sandwich. And since he's throwing an all-ages bash, Jeff whips up mortadella and salami sliders for the kids, and sets out bowls of his homemade spicy nut mix to keep the boogie going.
There's nothing quite like a flaky, golden, fried fish sandwich, so Jeff makes a trip to Madison, Wis., to get the goods from Chef Tami Lax at the Old Fashioned. Her biggest fans are known to wait up to two hours for a chance to taste her fried Walleye sandwich, so Jeff wastes no time in getting a few of Tami's secrets. Then he heads back home to try his hand at frying up his own fish sandwich with homemade tartar sauce, and continues the tradition by whipping up his take on a couple other dishes you'll often find at an old time Wisconsin Fish Fry, by first working that staple side, mac and cheese, into a sandwich with bacon. He finishes up with a simple and elegant Three Bean Salad.
Most people associate the holidays with big roasts, but Jeff Mauro isn't most people. He's got sandwiches on the brain when everyone else is in feast mode, and he's always thinking about ways to work with that holiday cheer. So he heads to his grandmother's house to learn the secret to her special holiday sausage bread and -- what else? -- turn it into a sandwich. Say hello to the Sausage Bread Brunch Sandwich. He also takes the classic roast beef and jazzes it up a bit with some fresh beef jus on the side for dipping. And the holidays in the Mauro household just wouldn't be the same without a side of Spaghetti and Broccoli Aglio Olio. It'll have you ringing with holiday cheer!
In a trip down hot dog memory lane, Jeff Mauro and his dad, Gus, relive the past as they grab a couple with everything at Chicago's legendary Gene and Jude's, where they pile fresh cut French fries right on the dog, and Jeff steps behind the counter and tries to keep up with the lunch rush. Jeff takes his new insight back home and whips his own version of the classic Gene and Jude's dog, complete with his own hand-cut fries, then adds a cheesy sauce to that classic Midwestern staple, the bratwurst. To wrap things up, Gus Mauro comes back around to see if Jeff's creations cut the mustard. You'll want to bring a lot of napkins!
Jeff and his son Lorenzo head up to the Mars Cheese Castle in Wisconsin in search of the perfect cheese. With the help of the resident cheesemonger, they taste a staggering array of cheeses and even grill a few up to check their "meltitude" to figure out which ones will accompany them back home. Once back in their kitchen, father and son get slicing as they pile up both adult and kid versions of the venerable cheese steak, and then Jeff melts down a block for cheddar for a classic Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup.
There's nothing like turkey day -- unless you're Jeff Mauro! Jeff's all about the day after Thanksgiving, and the wonderland of leftovers just begging to be made into sandwiches. After a raucous Thanksgiving meal with the whole Mauro clan, Jeff grabs a bunch of leftovers and heads home for seconds ... and thirds! He does the classic Thanksgiving on a Roll one better by using stuffing as the bread! Then he makes a spicy barbecued turkey hero, paired with tangy cranberry barbecue sauce. To finish up, Jeff tries to replicate his mom's amazing mashed potatoes -- with a few of his own special tweaks, of course.