In this cold, short winter month, I encourage you to find some food and drink that comforts you. Coming down off the high of restaurant week and the flurry of newly opened restaurants, this month I’ve selected some oldies but goodies. Each item offers some cold weather comfort in its own way. Perhaps more importantly, most of the suggestions on this month’s list are specials or special deals, so mark your calendars.

Have something you love, or would like to see featured in the future? Leave a note in the comments.

Calzones | Pizza M

Think about a dark, cold February evening. You probably need cheese, and some carbs. Pizza seems like an obvious choice, but maybe you had that for dinner on Friday night. Maybe you want to eat your food with a fork and knife. What you need is something that is pizza-adjacent and full of cheese. The calzone is stuffed with cheese and various toppings, and you can feign sophistication by eating it with utensils. Pizza M’s Monday special is the calzone (with up to three toppings) for only $7. That’s a good deal. 

Pizza M is located at 224 W Main St, Urbana, and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Photo from Facebook.

Kung Pao Chicken on Pan Fried Noodles | Golden Harbor

Do you know how to make any dish extra delicious at Golden Harbor? Put it on some pan fried noodles. I recently had the kung pao chicken on said noodles (in the background of the above photo), and have been thinking of it ever since. It was delicious. The thin crispy noodles just add a little bit of crunchy texture, and it makes the dish that much more wonderful. I’m also really into the kung pao broccoli (extra smoky!). You can order both, put the broccoli on top of the chicken and noodles, and you will have a most wonderful, well balanced dinner. The kung pao chicken on pan fried noodles is number 122 (to really enhance, ask for extra sauce and add jalapenos; $17.99) and the kung pao broccoli (add smoky, $12.99) is number BR4.

Golden Harbor is located at 505 South Neil Street, Champaign, and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 8:30 p.m. Photo by Jessica Hammie. 

Drinks | Seven Saints

Have you seen Seven Saints' new expansion? The restaurant recently acquired and renovated the space formerly occupied by Mike N Mollys. It looks gorgeous, and fits right in line with the aesthetics of the original Seven Saints space. In the warmer months the beer garden will be open, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, stop by to grab a drink. There are always local brews on tap (Triptych, Riggs), and you’ll often find a limited release brew from Midwest breweries. Monday night wine bottles are half price, which is a steal; Tuesday Brewsday features half price drafts; Whiskey Wednesday features half price scotch and whiskey. And there are always cocktails available; look at that gorgeous glass of deliciousness. 

Seven Saints is located at 32 East Chester Street, Champaign, and open Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m. to midnight, and Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Photo by Chloe Rose Gerard, from Seven Saints' Facebook page.

Butter and Orange Marmalade | Common Ground Food Co-op

Is there anything better than butter and jam? Yes: homemade butter and jam. Common Ground is offering two classes this month to teach you how to make your own butter and your own marmalade. Homemade butter and orange marmalade are food items that are super easy to give as gifts (feel better, sorry for your loss, thinking of you, etc., etc.) and super impressive when you’re hosting breakfast/brunch/houseguests. “Oh, these little condiments? They’re nothing. I just whipped them right up in no time!” The butter making class ($10 owners; $15 non-owners) meets Thursday, February 23rd from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and the orange marmalade class ($15 owners; $20 non-owners) meets Saturday, February 25th from 2 to 3:30 p.m. You can register online or in the store. 

Photo from Common Ground's website. 

Hunter’s Feast | Bayern Stube

Bayern Stube’s special feast celebrations are legendary. The Hunter’s Feast kicks off on February 24th and will continue through March 11th. You’ll have your pick of all sorts of game meats including antelope, venison, wild boar schnitzel, rabbit legs, and wild game sausages. Riggs beer will be on tap. It’s a German feast made for the hungry meat-eaters. Call to make your reservation at (217) 784-8304.

Bayern Stube is located at 209 N Sangamon Avenue, Gibson City, and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 4:30 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 2 to 8 p.m. Photo by Jessica Hammie.