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Maize is my go-to meeting food

Here at SP, we have a lot of meetings around lunchtime, requiring sustenance for a most productive meeting. (Hanger is real.) Maize is my go-to suggestion because it's affordable, delicious, and easily sharable. Plus, you can order online and pick it up. 

It's the tail end of spring break, and the Green Street location will likely be easily accessible. When it's quiet like this, I like to dine there instead of the Downtown location. All of this is to say, you have options. 

Maize
60 E Green St
100 N Chestnut St
Champaign

Photos by Jessica Hammie

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What’s your favorite pie in C-U?

It's Pi(e) Day, 3.14. To celebrate math, we all eat pie, because homonyms? It's all a little unclear, but when it comes to excuses to eat desserts, I generally don't ask too many questions. 

Where do you find your favorite pie in C-U? I really like Hopscotch's pies, and I think Common Ground Food Co-op makes some good ones too. Maybe Courier Cafe? Let's not overlook newbie Oh, Honey Pie. There really is no wrong answer here. 

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Even though it’s well below freezing, this brownie special is on my mind

Courier Cafe's brownie special ($5.75) is a thing of glory: a fudgy brownie topped with ice cream, whipped cream, chopped peanuts, and a cherry, and served with a side of hot fudge. The hot fudge is the thing that takes it over the top. The simplicity of such a dessert is what makes it most wonderful. 

Order it with a cup of coffee, and you're all set. 

Courier Cafe
111 N Race St
Urbana
Su-Th 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
F + Sa 7 a.m. to midnight

Photo by Jessica Hammie

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Triptych has a shuffleboard table and I’m really excited about it

Triptych has long been one of my favorite date night stops. We have flight of tasty beers and play some Yahtzee or Boggle or Battleship — yes, we as grown ups play these, and we are rather intense about it. Now, with the bulk of the brewing process moved across the street to #TheMemery, Triptych has filled the space with one of THE BEST bar games, that doesn't seem to exist anywhere in C-U...shuffleboard. 

One of my best friends growing up had one of these in her basement, and I have such vivid memories of playing it. It's kind of like curling in table top form, and it's super fun and a perfect game to play with a beer in one hand.

But seriously, beyond the addition of shuffleboard, the original taproom is kind of amazing now. There are couches and darts (the old school kind where you actually have to keep score) and so much more space and seating. 

If you haven't been for a while, here's a peek:

Photos by Anna Longworth

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The new Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space is pretty amazing

Have you had an opportunity to check out their new space/new games yet? It's well worth your time and money. Over the past several months they've been slowly shifting their business over to the space at 302 N. Broadway, and leaving their original location at 123 N. Main behind. There are still a couple of games running at 110 S. Race. 

Their new locale has really opened up some amazing design opportunities for them, and while it's still a work in progress — they are continuing to work out some plans for larger scale games in the substantial warehouse space they have — what they have going right now looks great. They've really upped their game, so to speak.  

The entrance:

FYI: That giant coin can be put in the slot, and you can play a collaborative game of Tetris. 

The Broadway location has an updated version of The Lost Temple, one of their original games, and they have two new games: The Wizard's Curse and Revenge of the Cabin.

Our SP crew, having tried the original Cabin last year, tried our luck? skill? intellect? at the sequel a couple of weeks ago, and we're proud to be able to claim victory over the evil, but not without a few hints. 

If you're up for giving it a shot, you can go here to book your experience. 

Photos by Anna Longworth

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Here’s the one vegetable you should eat this weekend

Have you been to Dumpling Noodle BBQ yet? The Champaign restaurant is only a few months old, but it's quickly become a go-to for the eponymous items. (The pork noodle soup made our Best of 2018 list). My favorite item on the menu, though, is the eggplant with garlic. It's absolutely delicious, and among the best eggplant I've ever eaten. 

Read up on the restaurant's other offerings here

Dumpling Noodle BBQ
715 S Neil St
Champaign
Su-F 1:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Sa 1:30 p.m. to1:30 a.m.

Photo by Jessica Hammie

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Hit up Fleurish this Valentine’s Day

Yes, flowers seem like kind of a cliché Valentine's gift, but have you ever received flowers from someone you care about and not appreciated them? No. And if you stop by Fleurish, it is not going to be the same as grabbing those last minute roses at the grocery store. The ladies there know what they're doing, and can help you choose something lovely, whether it's a dozen roses or a vase shaped like a face. 

If you're thinking it's too late to secure your Valentine's flowers, it's not! You can even stroll into the store on Thursday and get what you need. But, that will be a busy day so save yourself some time and help them prepare by pre-ordering. You can call or you can stop by and take a look at what they have to offer. I recommend the latter, because it's really a mood lifter to be there amongst these beauties. Here's a peek at some of their offerings:

Fleurish
122 N Walnut St.
Champaign
217-607-0015
Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday-Monday Closed

Photos by Julie McClure

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What’s your favorite sandwich at Cafe Kopi?

Cafe Kopi's food menu is surprisingly robust. I always think that it's pretty limited, but it's not; there are hot and cold options, open- and closed-faced sandwiches, and wraps. (Also soups and salads). 

I recently had the turkey pesto panini ($7.40), and it was delicious. Served on an olive bread with turkey, pesto, cheese, and tomatoes, it's super filling and a very satisfying lunch option. I ordered mine with a side of Sun Chips, but you have the option for soup, an apple, or a salad. 

What's your favorite thing to eat at Kopi?

Cafe Kopi
109 N Walnut St
Champaign
7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

Photos by Jessica Hammie

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Go have some pizza in honor of National Pizza Day

I'm not really sure who decides these things, but if it's an excuse to eat delicious food, does it really matter? Also it's the weekend, and who really wants to cook on the weekends? Here are a few of my go-to pizza options: 

Papa Del's 

When I plan to eat and then not move for the rest of the day.

Photos: Justine Bursoni

Old Orchard

Where I can use bowling as an excuse for not paying attention to how many of these conveniently tiny pieces of pizza I shove in my mouth.

Photo: Bobbie Bonebrake

Pizzeria Antica

When I want pizza plus salad, wine, gelato...all the things. And that crust is top notch.

Photo: Jessica Hammie

This is obviously not an all encompassing list. Where do you you go to fulfill your pizza cravings?