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Pekara offering summer specials

Pekara has a bunch of summer specials, including sandwiches, salads, and drinks. Check 'em out:


MONDAY – Reuben - House sliced corned beef, swiss cheese 1000 island dressing, sauerkraut on toasted Deli Rye.

TUESDAY – Molletes – Beans, pulled pork, pico de gallo, queso Chihuahua and salsa open faced on a warm ciabatta hoagie.

WEDNESDAY – Asian Meatball Hoagie – House made pork meatballs in a tangy BBQ sauce, topped with julienned carrots and green onions on a toasted ciabatta hoagie.

THURSDAY – Buffalo Chicken Panini – Grilled buffalo chicken with bleu cheese on Paesano Sourdough. 

FRIDAY – French Philly – Hot house sliced roast beef melted provolone, lettuce, tomato with an herb mayo on a toasted baguette.

SATURDAY – Midwest Gobbler – Hot house sliced, free range turkey breast, romaine lettuce, crispy bacon, thinly sliced pears with a poppy seed ranch on a toasted baguette.

SUNDAY– Batta Bing – House sliced ham, salami, prosciutto, provolone, lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini with olive oil and balsamic on a toasted ciabatta hoagie.


MONDAY – Farmer’s Salad – Romaine, cucumbers, tomato, red bell peppers with an avocado vinaigrette.

TUESDAY – Cobb Mexicano – Romaine, hard boiled eggs, pico de gallo, corn, queso Chihuahua and crispy tortilla strips with a creamy chili lime dressing.

WEDNESDAY – Italiano -  Spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with a pesto vinaigrette.

THURSDAY – BLT -  cherry tomato, bacon and cucumbers tossed in a poppy seed ranch with focaccia toast spikes.

FRIDAY – Spinach, market asparagus, goat cheese, shaved carrot and crispy prosciutto tossed in a sesame ginger vinaigrette.

SATURDAY – Grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, tossed in a lemon dill vinaigrette over grilled potato garlic sourdough, topped with feta and green onion.

SUNDAY – Spinach, blueberries, walnuts, Anjou pears, bleu cheese tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette.

Daily Drink Specials

Monday:   $2.50 12oz Mocha
Tuesday:    $2.50 12oz Caramel Macchiato
Wednesday:   $2.50 16oz Iced Latte
Thursday:   $2.00 16oz Cold Brew
Friday:     FREE Flavor Shot

Images courtesy of Pekara.


You can apply to be on Common Ground’s Board of Directors

For those of you who take pleasure in titles being on boards or committees, Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana is accepting applications for their Board of Directors. If food is something you're into (and you probably should be), this would be a really need way to get involved in the C-U community.

Applications are due on August 15th. For more information, check out Common Ground's post below:

There are several positions available in our Board of Directors!

Are you passionate about local food and food issues?

Does the cooperative movement and its sense of community excite you?

Have you considered running for Common Ground's Board of Directors?

Apply today for the Board of Directors.

Online applications are available here! Paper applications are also available at every register. Just ask your changemaker next time you are in store!

All applications are due August 15th at 10pm.


Check out Pizzeria Antica’s new Funghi pizza

A while back, I took a trip to Pizzeria Antica for the first time, and it was pretty impressive. Today, the Downtown Champaign establishment (located just around the corner from Quality) has announced their new Funghi pizza, which, contrary to popular belief, is not just a giant mushroom in the middle of a pizza pie, as I first pictured in my mind when I read the name of the pizza.

What it is, however, is a combination of fresh mozzarella, ricotta pastaio, crimini mushrooms and pancetta that is topped off with white truffle oil and salt.

Gaze upon it longingly above, and then stop in and get yourself one.


Triptych unveils new beer Because, Chocolate

If you're anything like me, your drink of the day goes on a pretty consistent rotation from coffee to water to (sometimes) beer in the evening. Today, the good folks at Triptych Brewing are making that transition even easier with the release of Because, Chocolate, their new beer which combines Imperial Stout with over two pounds of cocoa nibs per barrel, and is sure to be delicious.

I may just have to run down there before they run out.

For more info, check out the text of Triptych's Facebook post below:

Available now on draft and in cans to go! We used some interesting Vietnamese cocoa nibs from Chocolate Alchemy for this batch. We think this beer pairs well with fireworks. Cheers!


Because is our series of Imperial Stouts and this edition was brewed with a judicious amount of Cocoa Nibs (over two pounds per barrel), rich dark chocolate, dried fruit, and roast combine to make this beer an excellent way to end a night or an intriguing start for the evening to come.


CobraFest (featuring HUM) announces full schedule

You might've heard about CobraFest happening this weekend in Tolono at the Loose Cobra — featuring HUM and eight other bands. They've released the schedule for the show on Saturday afternoon and evening. Check it out:

3:00 Doors open. (It's not really a door. More of a check point, Charlie. And I may open it before 3:00...blood pressure pending.)
3:45 Withershins (Mongoose Stage [that's inside])
4:30 Electric Hawk (Cobra Stage [that's outside])
5:20 RedLeg (Mongoose Stage)
6:05 Cloakroom (Cobra Stage)
6:55 Our Landmark (Mongoose Stage)
7:40 Sweet Cobra (Cobra Stage, natch)
8:30 Terminus Victor (Mongoose Stage)
9:15 Hum (Cobra Stage)
10:45 Dibiase (Mongoose Stage)
12:00 Everyone drags my corpse through the streets and throws it in the creek.

Check out Big Grove’s new summer cocktail menu

A couple of us Editors got a chance to check out the summer cocktail menu at Big Grove in Downtown Champaign yesterday afternoon. Especially now that we are fully into summer-mode, take a look at what they have listed for the upcoming season. Whether you're an avid cocktail-drinker, or an amateur experimenter (like myself), there are some options here across the board.

Here's the entire Seasonal Cocktail menu, and below you'll see the ones that we got to take on a test drive.

Liquid Sunshine: Geneva gin, fresh lemon & strawberry juice, house-made syrup. Shaken and served over ice.

This was a good start to the tasting menu for the summer cocktails — gin is kind of the best in the summer anyhow. 

Fresh Sprig: Sailor Jerry rum, vanilla imfused simple syrup,, fresh mint, lime juice, soda water.

There's a definite mint empowerment to this cocktail, and this is a mojito with a bit of a twist. Solid.

Moscow Mule: Herrington vodka, Gosling's ginger beer, house ginger-lime syrup.

Bella Pepper: Geneva gin, fresh lime juice, red bell pepper juice, mint infused syrup.

When first spotted on the menu, I was a bit unsure of how this would go down, bell pepper-focused and all. This one basically takes all the best parts of a bell pepper and morphs it into a drink. Really good to my surprise, as typically you don't think of bell peppers making a cocktail list.

Tavern Punch: made with fresh, seasonal fruits and herbs. Market Price.

This punch was really tasty, and not too overly-powerful in terms of fruit flavor. Just right on the mark for something a little boozy but more refreshing than anything.

Big Grove Fashion: Buffalo Trace bourbon, Angostura bitters, Demerara sugar, muddled orange zest and Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

Classic cocktail for you, served up.


Rapper Frank Leone releases new single

Hip-hop artist and producer Frank Leone, originally from Monticello and now based in Urbana, has just released a new single. The song, entitled "Loser," features creative instrumentation and vocalizing that make the song unfold like a story.

Leone is not a stranger to C-U music, or to Smile Politely. The prolific musician and producer is currently working on several projects, both solo and with other artists. They include a new album, a movie, and other yet-to-be-divulged goodies.

"Loser" is a bittersweet love song, intended as a foil for his next release, which he says will be a "darker project." Let the anticipation build.

Stream his new song here.


Mrinali Kesavadas is Mahomet’s budding young scientist

A student from Mahomet-Seymour Jr. High School in Mahomet, Mrinali Kesavadas, has been announced as one of ten finalists in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

The competition, which is for students in grades 5 through 8, celebrates students who work to innovate and develop something which will improve the lives of either their local or the global community. 

Kesavadas' project is a CPR simulator that only costs around $50, appreciably cheaper than what's currently on the market. 

Part of being a finalist is that Kesevadas (and the other finalists) will be able to meet with a 3M mentor virtually this summer, who will guide her and help her to bring her idea to fruition as a prototype. She will receive a monetary prize as well, and a trip to the 3M headquarters in St. Paul Minnesota for the final competition on October 17th and 18th.

So, congrats to Mrinali Kesavadas, and good luck to her in the development of her prototype and in the final competition.

In addition to being in the link to her profile above, you can also see Kesavadas' video here.