Smile Politely

March Eats, Tastes, and Tipples

Food classes

All month long

The Common Ground Food Co-op is using their new Flatlander Classroom to teach a lot of new food classes — beer and wine, cheese, cooking, gardening, healthy eating, urban chickens for beginners (no joke!), and the list goes on! Seriously, there are fourteen in March, too many to list, but you can check out the full offerings here. If you’re more of a teacher than a learner, they’re also looking for new teachers to make “lively and engaging classes,” so fill out a proposal form or contact their education coordinator for more information.

March 4

Knife Skills 1.0

According to a brief post on the The Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant’s Facebook page, you can attend “Knife Skills class 1.0…6 PM. Stir fry after. Bring yourself.” We don’t know much else, but we suspect you’ll be learning the 1.0 basics of cutting vegetables, a skill that wouldn’t hurt anyone to master.

Dinners and other events

March 6

A Night in New Dehli at Spice Box

The Spice Box, the student-run restaurant on campus, will host themed dinners with a guest chef on March 6 and 8. Seatings are available every half hour, starting at 5:30 and going until 7:30 each evening. For more information, check out their website. On March 6, “embark on a journey of Indian-inspired cuisine with student Ellen Hayes and guest chefs Gursharn Singh and Simran Singh from Bombay Grill.”

(See three additional Spice Box dinners below)


March 8

Spices, Inspired Flavors of the Mediterranean at Spice Box

(See March 6 for further description of Spice Box)


March 7

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Black Dog Smoke and Ale House Late Night Chicken Pop-Up dinner

On the first Thursday of every month, Black Dog’s late night chef,  Josh Boyd, cooks his chicken dinner from 11 p.m.–2 a.m.

For this first time this week, he’ll be cold smoking the chicken prior to brining, battering, and frying. We’ve got to try this. Here’s the menu for this week:


  • Cornbread with green chiles, pit beans, cheddar cheese & pulled pork
  • Burnt Ends with chile rub & coffee barbecue sauce


  • Smoke & Buttermilk Fried Chicken
  • two pieces of fried chicken, your choice of wing, thigh,  breast, or leg & a choice of two sides


  • Creamed Spinach
  • Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
  • Corn Pudding with bacon & mushroom
  • Braised Collard Greens with pot likker


  • Spiced Cupcake with browned butter frosting


Now through March 9

Bayern Stube Hunter’s Feast

This Gibson City German classic, Bayern Stube, serves an extended menu during their Hunter’s Feast, including rabbit and veal. Check out our review from January. It may be 45 minutes away, but this once-a-year event is worth the drive. Call ahead for popular weekend nights — the Hunter’s Feast books up quickly. Check out their website for more information.


March 10

The 30th Annual International Dinner 

The annual International Dinner will be on Sunday, March 10, from 6–8 p.m. at the University YMCA. According to the Facebook page, you can try cuisine “from Africa, Greece, Ukraine, Myanmar, Israel, Bangladesh, Romania, Peru, Poland, Sri Lanka, France, and more! Dishes include: Chicken and Vegetarian Causa, biriyani, mango kulfi, Brazilian Passion Fruit Mousse, githeri (corn and beans), mandazi (African donuts), Mousaka, Galaktoboureko, macaroni and cheese, Papa a la Huancaina (Potatoes with spicy cream sauce), Pierogi, Ratatouille, Rice and curry, and more!”

There will also be a variety of performances, including Chai-Town, a local Indian rock a cappella group. Hear a preview here.


March 10

Slow Food C-U Farm-to-Table Dinner at Big Grove Tavern

Slow Food C-U will host another farm-to-table dinner to showcase the best of local farm food on March 10 at 6 p.m., this time at Big Grove Tavern. The family-style dinner created by Chef Jessica Gorin will be $60 per person, gratuity included (but drinks not included). To purchase tickets, go to the Slow Food C-U website

The tentative working menu currently includes the following:

  • French Onion Tarts, Grilled Portabellas, Balsamic Reduction (mushrooms from Monterey Mushroom in Princeton, IL)
  • Fried Bacon Grits, Hot Sauce Aioli, Green Onion (bacon from Moore Family Farm
  • Roasted Radishes & Carrots, Pea Tendrils, Lemon Creme Fraiche & Toasted Almonds (featuring produce from Blue Moon, Living Waters, and maybe PrairiErth Farm too)
  • Grilled Pork Tenderloin (from Triple S)
  • Cider Glazed Turnips & Apples (turnips from Blue Moon)
  • Smoked Sweet Potato Puree with Toasted Pecans
  • Lemon Panna Cotta, Autumn Berries & Winter Citrus (Autumn Berry Inspired)

Also, every Tuesday evening at Big Grove Tavern, a fried chicken and sweet potato waffle special is served. See banner photo at top of article for photo.

March 12

Heritage Wine Cellars Wine Pairing Dinner

Buvons Wine Bar, next to Corkscrew Emporium in Urbana, is hosting another wine dinner … according to the announcement, “The event will be held on Tuesday, March 12th in Buvons Wine Bar starting at 6:30. Our very own Mark Hartstein, a.k.a. Chef Shades, will be preparing a special four course meal to pair with the wines. Our host and moderator will be Patty Ahern of Heritage Wine Cellars, who will walk us through the various intricacies of the region. The cost of the event is $85/person, all inclusive.” Call (217) 337-7704 to make your reservation.

Greeting Wine

  • 2011 Rainstorm Pinot Gris 

First Course

  • 2011 Abacela Albarino 
  • Whipped Brandade

Second Course

  • 2009 Bethel Heights Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 
  • Molasses Arctic Char 

Third Course

  • 2010 Bergstrom Pinot Noir Cumberland Reserve 
  • Gnocchi with duck, parsnips, pomegranate and kale 

Fourth Course

  • 2008 Frances Tannahill Passito 
  • Almond financier with honey ice cream and Turkish Delight


March 13

Travel Around the World Dinner at Spice Box

(See March 6 for further description of Spice Box)

A delicious culinary adventure by student Blair Xian Chen and guest chef Tomasz Nilges from Timpones in Urbana


March 29

L’Arte Di Mangiar Bene at Spice Box

(See March 6 for further description of Spice Box)

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