Smile Politely

Five things to eat or drink in C-U this month: November 2016

It’s officially fall, and officially appropriate to consume copious amounts of leftover and discounted Halloween candy, apples, pumpkin spiced things, and turkey. Thanksgiving is an excuse to make all the starchy sides you can manage to eat and all the pies you can fit on your table. There’s no shame in seeking assistance in the holiday cooking or baking; C-U has plenty of options for ordering Thanksgiving favorites. I’ve suggested a few below. But what will you eat when you’re stick of turkey and “Thanksgiving” sandwiches? Personally, I’m into pizza. And bulgogi.

Have suggestions for November eats, or a dish you’d like to see featured in the future? Let us know in the comments.

Thanksgiving Fixings

Turkey | Black Dog; Cheese & Crackers; Common Ground Food Co-op

The traditional Thanksgiving item that takes up the most space — and time — in your kitchen and oven is the bird. In the past I’ve ordered a smoked bird from Black Dog. This year the 14-16 lb birds are $75. The bird is fully cooked, and it’s hot when you pick it up, though if you’re eating a little later in the day you can easily cover that bad boy and it’ll still be warm and moist when you sit down to eat. Everyone is always impressed, and all you have to do it place your order, pay your monies, and pick it up (between 10 a.m. and noon on Thanksgiving). It’s the best; your house smells great, too. 

If you’re into cooking the bird, you can order some local Triple S Farms turkeys from Common Ground. Common Ground is offering a few bonuses if you pre-order your bird:

You must order your turkey by November 18th, so get to planning — and be sure to note that the birds will be frozen. So plan accordingly.

Cheese & Crackers is also selling pre-ordered turkeys from Peacock’s Poultry Farm (Troy, MI). These tend to sell out quickly, so call or email the store to place your order. If you’re not into eating turkey, you can also order fresh fish, which is a lovely alternative. 

Order your Black Dog smoked turkey(s) online here. Questions? Call the store at 217-954-0465.

Common Ground is located at 300 S Broadway, Urbana, and open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Cheese & Crackers is located at 1715 W Kirby Ave, Champaign, and open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Call the store at 217-615-8531.

Pies (or cakes) | Cake Artist’s Studio; Hopscotch Cakes

Not comfortable making pie? Leave it to the professionals, then. It’s been well documented on SP that both Cake Artist’s Studio and Hopscotch Cakes and Confections throw down the deliciousness when it comes to dessert. Cake Artist’s Studio hasn’t updated its 2016 Thanksgiving menu yet, but based on 2015’s details, pies will cost you about $20. There are other festive baked goods available (like this pumpkin cupcake), too, so be sure to ask for pricing and details when you call (or stop by and sample some treats first). 

Hopscotch is offering pies and a dessert platter for twenty people ($40 each). Choose from pumpkin graham, black bottom oat, apple-rosemary, or a 6-inch pumpkin cheesecake. The dessert platter includes gooey butter cake, salted caramel brownies, and cranberry crumb bars. You can even order online. You can even order one of each. 

Cake Artist’s Studio is located at 1100 W Bloomington Rd, Champaign, and is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call the bakery at 217-403-0900.

Hopscotch is located in Art Mart (1705 S Prospect Ave, Champaign). You can order your pies online here.

Cheese | Art Mart; Cheese & Crackers; Prairie Fruits Farm

There is nothing better than a well-considered cheese platter. If done properly, it’s the perfect (and only) appetizer you’ll need. It could even function as a dessert course if you and yours aren’t keen on sweets. You can contact Art Mart or Cheese & Crackers to order a custom platter, or stop in the store(s) to compile your own.

Conversely, you could do the even more awesome thing, which is to say, become a cheese “expert” by learning about cheese, what to pair with it, and then build your own amazing cheese platter. Prairie Fruits Farm is hosting a classed called “Cheese Demystified” on November 16th. For $20, you’ll spend two hours in PFF’s barn learning about the basics of cheese, how to describe what you’re tasting, and how to speak cheese at the deli counter. You can sign up for that class here.  You could also sign up for PFF’s “Pairing cheese with wine, beer, jams, nuts and more” class on November 30th. Though not in time for Thanksgiving, you can impress your Hanukkah and Christmas crowds with your wealth of knowledge.

Art Mart is located at 1705 S Prospect Ave, Champaign, and is open Monday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call the store at 217-344-7979.

Cheese & Crackers is located at 1715 W Kirby Ave, Champaign, and open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Call the store at 217-615-8531.

When you’re sick of turkey

Pizza | Pizzeria Antica

Antica’s pizza is absolutely delicious. It’s best when eaten in the restaurant. You could share with someone, but I’m partial to ordering my own and taking the leftovers home (though there are rarely any). I’m a huge fan of the cantalupo ($14), which is a little spicy. If you’re feeling like you need all the cheeses, order the bianca ($14), which is rich and creamy and indulgent. The pistachio ($14) brings together meaty mortadella, spicy arugula, and sweet and crunchy pistachios in a wholly satisfying manner. Antica offers a vegan pizza ($14), too, for those who don’t eat meat or cheese. 

Pizzeria Antica is located at 10 E Chester St, Champaign, and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Bul go ki beef (+ karaoke) | Star Karaoke

There are quite a few places to get Korean food in C-U, but there is only one place where you can eat good Korean food and sing karaoke to a room of your friends. Star Karaoke’s food is good, and you can read the specifics about that here. I recently had the bul go ki beef ($12.99), and it was sweet and tender and the perfect fuel for a night of karaoke with my friends. You can sit down in the restaurant and eat, as you would anywhere else. You can also go and do karaoke only. But you can have dinner (or snacks) and karaoke, which is what I recommend. You might consider sharing some dumplings ($6.99). If you’re looking for something to do with visiting friends and/or family, this is your plan. The menu options will appeal to all levels of familiarly with Korean food (there’s pizza, too!), and the English-language song catalogue is vast (including way too many songs from musicals). 

Star Karaoke is located at 1503 Lyndhurst Alley, Savoy (near the movie theater), and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. 

All photos by Jessica Hammie. 

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