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Artisan Cup & Fork night two with Red Herring was a beautiful vegetarian supper

Night two of The Land Connection's Artisan Cup & Fork event featured dinner and dessert from Red Herring.

An exterior photo of the Red Herring with a tall sign from The Land Connection on night two of the Artisan Cup & Fork event. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Dinner was a vegan meal of fresh, local mixed greens with toasted almonds, candied walnuts, apple chips, edible flowers, and an autumn berry vinaigrette with pesto pasta and eggplant sandwiches with cashew 'chevre' on a homemade bun.

Two meals from The Land Connection's Artisan Cup & Fork event sit on a black table. The meals from Red Herring feature a side salad, a side pasta, an eggplant sandwich with a small plastic cup of marinara, and the event program lay in front of them. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The dinner was fantastic: a lovely vegetarian supper. The sandwich was incredible: the eggplant was breaded just like a chicken Parmesan; the homemade tomato sauce tasted of fresh garden tomatoes, and the bun was perfection. The side salad and side pasta were great as well. 

A single tiramisu cupcake from the Red Herring sits on a white plate. The frosting is gently falling off the cupcake, and there is an edible flower on top. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Dessert was a vegan tiramisu cupcake made with flour from Brian Severson Farms and an edible flower from Delight Flower Farm. It was a gorgeous looking dessert, and it tasted delicious.

There is one more night of Artisan Cup & Fork this Thursday night featuring dinner by Wood N' Hog and dessert by Heidi Leuszler. Check out night one here.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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Do not let a pandemic prevent you from acquiring parking lot meat

I know that top of mind for you of late has been anxiety about where you will get your mall meat. Nevermind a global pandemic and a crumbling democracy; you have mouths to feed. No better way to feed them than with affordable steaks purchased in a parking lot.

Photo of a parking lot from across a four lane road. The parking lot is empty except for a large truck. On the grass between the parking lot and the road is a sign that reads Photo by Jessica Hammie.

This fall, instead of trekking to Marketplace Mall, you will only have to go to Hunters Haven (how fitting) in Champaign for your truck load meat sale. And, as a bonus, you'll be able to take advantage of a shrimp sale. What a day!

Find this parking lot meat sometime soon.

Hunters Haven
1040 Bloomington Rd
Champaign

Top image by Jessica Hammie.

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Artisan Cup & Fork night one was brilliant, and there’s still time today to join the event

Last Thursday, I picked up two dinners from Neil St. Blues and desserts from Hopscotch Bakery + Market as part of the Artisan Cup & Fork event.

Two packaged dinners from the Artisan Cup & Fork sit on a black table. Two dessert boxes are pink and taped shut with a business card for Hopscotch affixed to it. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Each dinner and dessert was packaged and ready to take home, though I think it could have been a lovely picnic dinner.

Open takeout containers reveal a special dinner from Neil St. Blues for the Artisan Cup & Fork event. A thin gumbo is light brown color, the black-eyed pea salad sits in a clear container behind the gumbo, and beside it is a container of Savannah red rice with meat and microgreens. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The dinner from Neil St. Blues was fantastic. From the peppery gumbo to the refreshing black-eyed pea salad to the tasty Savannah red rice, I was impressed. The cornbread and baguette were welcome carb additions indeed. 

Two donut-like treats sit on a white plate. One is naked, and the other is covered in a white, marshmallowy topping with several miniature flowers and crumbled peacans. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Look at these sweet potato butter cakes with meringue from Hopscotch. I audibly gasped when I opened the box; it was so gorgeous. I'd never eaten a flower before Thursday, and now I've eaten several. They were delightfully fancy.

If these photos of Thursday's dinner make you wish you had joined the Artisan Cup & Fork event, don't worry. There are a few remaining tickets, and you can join this event the next two Thursday evenings for a special dinner and dessert provided by two different restaurants. This Thursday, September 24th will feature dinner and dessert from Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant, and on Thursday, October 1st, event guests will enjoy dinner from Wood N' Hog and dessert by Heidi Leuszler.

Buy your tickets here. Ticket sales will end tonight, Monday, September 21st at midnight, so if you want to enjoy a unique dining experience, get those tickets today.

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This is what your vote by mail envelopes will look like

The Champaign County Clerk's office has posted photos of what vote by mail envelopes will look like. The envelope you receive will have dark blue vertical stripe on the left side; the envelope you drop off or mail back will have an orange vertical stripe on the left side. Images are in the tweet below.

Double check that you're registered to vote and have indeed requested a vote by mail ballot on the Champaign County Clerk's website (now newly redesigned and much, much easier to navigate).

Early voting begins September 24th.

Top image from the Champaign County Clerk's Twitter feed.

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Unit 4 teachers host a Black Lives Matter march ahead of the school board meeting

Champaign Unit 4 teachers, staff, and families gathered at Westview Elementary School this afternoon and marched to the Mellon Building in support of Black lives. Led by Black Teachers Alliance C-U, the march preceded tonight's board meeting, where there will be a vote to approve this sign:

 A black sign with white lettering that says: Resolution 2020, Black Lives Matter in CUSD #4. Image from Facebook.Image from Facebook.

Last month, a Black Lives Matter sign that was hung in the window of a Westview classroom was taken down on district orders. Earlier in the summer, the board passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. 

Two women wearing masks are holding white posterboard signs with black lettering. One says Will the real anti-racists please stand up? The other says Matter is the Minimum. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A group of people are standing along a sidewalk and in the grass alongside a school building. Some are holding signs. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A white sign with different colored lettering that says Racism is also a pandemic. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A man is holding a large flag that says Black Lives Matter. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A woman wearing a shirt that says Black Teachers Matter is standing in front of a tree holding a microphone while others stand around and listen. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A long line of people are walking down the sidewalk. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

Top photo by Julie McClure.

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Triptych’s tap room has a new look

The folks at Triptych have been busy during this pandemic, working on an overhaul of their tap room. After months of strictly patio seating and curbside pick up, they are now open on the inside with a brand new bar and a spacious interior with distanced tables.

A warehouse interior with exposed ceiling and concrete floors. There are a handful of tables spread out and a garage door in the background. One wall has a painting of the beer brewing process. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A room with a concrete floor and four rectangular tables. There is framed artwork on the far wall, and cube shelves on the adjacent wall. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A chalkboard sign that says Triptych Brewing at the top. It has a list of mask and seating guidelines. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

As cool as the tap room is, my comfort level is out on the patio, so I took my Fruit Aisle sour IPA outside to enjoy. Here's the description: Raspberries & Tart Cherries with a touch of Vanilla Beans, Milk Sugar, Red Currant, & Mosaic Hops. Highly recommend. 

A goblet style beer glass with a reddish beer sits on a metal table outdoors. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

Top photo by Julie McClure.

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Urbana Park District staff spruce up parks with hand painted art boards

Urbana Park District staff have recently painted seven art boards that are sure to spruce up district parks. Filled with different themes and color palettes, the four x eight foot art boards have been installed in Blair, Chef Shemauger, Larson, Prairie, and Victory Parks, as well as Phillips Recreation Center and the Urbana Dog Park. Be sure to check them out on your next visit.

Photo courtesy of Urbana Park District

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Have you seen this Free Community Pantry in Downtown Champaign?

There's a community pantry near the corner of East Washington Street and Neil. 

A white box on wheels serves as a community pantry in Downtown Champaign. On the side, it is painted: Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

A white wooden community pantry reads: Take what you need. Leave what you can. There are colorful paintings with clouds, flowers, and grass. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

If you are in need, this is just one of the Free Little Pantries in C-U available to you. 

If you are able, the next time you're in Downtown Champaign for curbside pickup, going to dinner out, or at the Champaign Farmers' Market, consider bringing a few items to donate to this community pantry. It's right across the street from the North end of Neil and Washington parking lot. 

A white wooden community pantry has open cupboard doors showing a small collection of canned goods, boxed food, and cereal. On the bottom shelf, there are apples. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

 

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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Today is National I Love Food Day, and here are some pictures of the foods I love

What's a food that you love in C-U? Today is National “I Love Food” Day, and it is a day worth celebrating. I’m going to celebrate, and you should celebrate. Let me know in the comments what’s your favorite food to eat in C-U.

Here are some pictures of foods that I love.

Four al pastor tacos on corn tortillas with raw onion and cilantro are packaged in a takeout container. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Los Hidalguenses tacos. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Broccoli bites from Rumbergers are on a plate with wings. The broccoli bite is cut in half to see the cheesy inside. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Rumberger's broccoli bites. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Two specialty tuna rolls from Sakanaya in Champaign are in a white styrofoam container. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Sakanaya sushi. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

A burger with a large piece of bacon sticking out of the burger sits on a white plate next to a pile of Hamilton Walker's frizzled brussels sprouts. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Hamilton Walker's bacon steak burger. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

A white plate at Crane Alley holds one dozen wings covered in Buffalo sauce with a few celery sticks and a cup of ranch in the center. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Crane Alley wings. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Pad thai from Siam Terrace in Urbana has thin rice noodles, big chunks of chicken, bean sprouts, onions, and carrots in a light brown sauce. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Siam Terrace's pad thai. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

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Watson’s has smothering down to a science

Watson's knows how to smother an entrée. The restaurant is also good at smearing and slathering — all of this is evidenced in the delicious and indulgent photos of available dishes and specials on its Facebook page.

Take, for example, this special:

��Tuesday Dinner Special�� Cajun Broiled Red Snapper over Chimichurri Mashed Potatoes, topped with a Roasted Red Pepper & Shallot Sauce, Sweet Corn, and Parsley. Served with Fried Brussels Sprouts. Dinner only!

Posted by Watson's Shack & Rail on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Or this one, from last weekend:

This Hungry Boy Poutine is only available during Sunday Brunch, is a whole chicken fried steak and fries with Ropp's cheese curds, smothered in our country sausage gravy. Only $12!

Posted by Watson's Shack & Rail on Saturday, September 5, 2020

If you're a smothered/slathered/smeared fan, do check out what Watson's has on offer.

Top image from Watson's Facebook page.