“In the second part of Alicia’s visit to Chicago, she speaks with pastry chef Valeria Taylor, and food writers Tim Mazurek and Natalie Slater. They discuss their frustrations with the way Chicago’s food scene is repeatedly defined by critics based in LA and NYC, their favorite animal-free recipes, and what they think makes for a good vegan city.”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: LOBA’S MOLE CHOCOLATE SOURDOUGH CROISSANTS NAMED ONE OF THE BEST CROISSANT IN CHICAGO
“It’s a punk version of a bakery,” said Taylor last Saturday morning behind the counter in Roscoe Village. “There’s no rules here.” For someone with no rules, the Mexican American baker fiercely follows some. Taylor makes all the croissants herself, weekends only, all by hand, including the mole, traditionally a sauce for savory dishes. The result is a slow sunrise of subtle spice.”
“Valeria Taylor, owner of Chicago-based bakery Loba Pastry and Coffee, wasn’t sure she was ready to open her own bakery until she heard a podcast about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park.
The episode was about one female wolf in the park: the ‘06 Female. This particular wolf was huge, bigger than any of the others, male or female. She had a gray coat that was stark and stunning. She shot down five potential mates who didn’t live up to her impossibly high standards. She didn’t need them anyway; she hunted on her own.
“She upset the balance of what it was like to be a wolf,” Taylor says, recounting the story. “She was fearless and unstoppable and nobody could compare. There was no alpha male. She was the alpha all around.
“It was just so inspiring,” Taylor says. “I thought, ‘This is the time to do this. I’m going to do this.’”
“Val Taylor took over the storefront of her former employer, the beloved Bad Wolf Coffee, and made a bakery all her own, drawing on her Mexican heritage to punch up the flavors of basic pastries in completely novel ways. “
“It was a sad day last September when Jonathan Ory announced that he was closing up Bad Wolf Coffee, his Lakeview bakery that sold, among other things, the best kouign amann in Chicago, and moving to Charleston, South Carolina. Fortunately, Val Taylor, who worked with Ory during his last six months at Bad Wolf, has stepped in to fill the void. As its name implies, Loba Pastry + Coffee is not Bad Wolf Part II, but rather its own entity, with some of the same DNA.”