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October 18th, 2013October 24th, 2014

Chef Daniel Boulud talks to Dorie Greenspan about his book Daniel: My French Cuisine, we look at the basics of cooking with coconut oil with culinary nutritionist Tricia Williams, and Jane and Michael Stern bring us the best in non-chain steak houses.

Jane and Michael Stern's Roadfood

Some of the best steak houses are way off the beaten path and who but the Sterns would go to such great lengths to find them? A case in point is the Tea Steak House in the tiny town of Tea, South Dakota, where the motto is 'we're glad you brought your sugar to tea.' It's a real country steak house with waitresses in polyester uniforms and orthopedic shoes serving up simple fare - char-broiled or pan-fried steaks with an iceberg salad on the side - and it's the place to be on a Friday evening. If you make the trip, be sure to stop by Lee's Smokehouse for their great beef jerky.

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Located on the wrong side of town in the back rooms of a dilapidated grocery store, Doe's does not look like a restaurant, much less a great restaurant. Many of the dining tables are in fact located in the kitchen, spread helter-skelter among stoves and counters where the staff dresses salads and fries potatoes in big iron skillets. Nevertheless, the steaks are some of the best you will eat anywhere.

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Surrounded by the largest livestock trading center on earth, Cattlemen’s is the consummate western steak house. The original dining area maintains its old lunch counter, where brokers, haulers, and buyers come for breakfast of steak or brains and eggs starting at six a.m. In the South Dining Room, which was added in the 1950s, there are spacious upholstered booths; one entire wall features an immense, illuminated panoramic transparency of a herd of black angus cattle with two men on horseback watching over them. Curiously, the mounted cowherds are not dressed in buckaroo attire.

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Harry Caray's Chicago (there are outposts in Rosemont and Midway Airport) was founded by the late hall-of-fame announcer and 'voice of the Chicago Cubs.' It's not the typical sports bar and restaurant, but an Italian steakhouse located in an old building by the river that used to house a varnish distribution plant, along with a fourth-floor hideout for the 1930's mobster, Frank Nitti. The food is regional and the atmosphere funky.

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America has no better place to slice into prime aged steak than an old wood-frame house known as Gene & Georgetti just north of the Chicago Loop. In a city with many four-star steak houses, Gene & Georgetti wins our vote as the best.