Smile Politely

12 foodie days of Christmas

If you count today, there’s only twelve days until Christmas. The Christmas season is in full swing, and there are lots of ways to make this season bright. If you need gift ideas, check out our food and drink holiday gift guide.

If you’re just looking for a fun time, here’s a foodie take on the classic Twelve Days of Christmas. Looking to twelve wonderful Champaign-Urbana food and drinks, I hope you feel inspired — and I hope you forgive my egregious stretch on day six.

A single cocktail glass holds a dark orange pear cocktail with a lime circle garnish and a pink drink umbrella. The drink sits on a marble counter with a white wall behind it. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

A cocktail with a pear liqueur

On the first day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: a cocktail with a pear liqueur from Punch! Bar. The Parrot Head cocktail ($10) has Libelula Tequila Joven (a blended tequila of both blanco and reposado), barrel-aged Giffard Banane du Bresil (a banana liqueur), St. George spiced pear liqueur, ginger, cardamom, pear, and key lime. There’s a lot to like about this cocktail. Not too sweet but sweet like a pear, this drink was yummy. The herby notes from the cardamom played well with the fruity flavors of the liqueurs. The drink came in the cutest mason jar I’ve ever seen (plus a tiny pink umbrella!), so that’s pretty festive.

The drinks available for carryout from Punch! are plentiful, so if you’re not into pear liquor, do not worry. Punch! offers cocktails made with cinnamon cordial, a drink with peanut butter whiskey, martinis, and more. I ordered carryout cocktails on Friday night, and when I arrived, they were ready to go — and the masked staff were super nice. You can put your order in here

On a white plate, two chocolate turtles from Sugga Shaii's Sweets are next to each other. There is a portion of the pecans under the chocolate poking out. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Two chocolate turtles

On the second day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: two chocolate turtles from Sugga Shaii’s Sweets. These milk chocolate turtles ($7 for four) are to die for. It’s a simple treat: chocolate with pecans and caramel, but it is extraordinary in taste. The large chocolate discs were decadent with rich, buttery caramel inside. The pecans throughout gave a good crunch and nuttiness to balance the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel.

Put your order in here for pick up at the Saturday Champaign-Urbana Winter Market in Urbana. 

Three French toast from Sam's Cafe are leaning on top of each other in a row on a black plate. On top of each is a small amount of powdered sugar. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Three French Toast

On the third day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: three French toast from Sam’s Cafe. This French toast is famous; everyone says you have to try it, and last week, I did — and it was on point. Perfectly crispy and caramelized on the outside and soft and bready inside, this French toast is a cinnamon treat you need in your life.

You can pick up French toast from Sam’s Cafe in Downtown Champaign from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., or you can order delivery to your front porch between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Call 217-352-7102 to place your order, and remember it’s cash only.

Watson's fried chicken sandwich sits on a white plate next to waffle fries. The chicken is battered and coming out of the sandwich with lettuce on top and also coming out of the sandwich. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Four fried birds

On the fourth day of Christmas, my C-U love gave me to me: four fried birds. There isn’t anything better than a fried chicken sandwich, in my opinion. If you’re wanting a fried bird this December, might I recommend one of Watson’s impressive chicken sandwiches? There are several great chicken sammies available to us in Champaign-Urbana, and I rounded up not just four but five fried chicken sandwiches (and a fried chicken sushi roll) that you should try.

In a pink bowl, many onion rings from Rumbergers in Champaign are stacked. They are golden in color and plentiful. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Five onion rings

On the fifth day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: five onion riiiiiiiings. (I hope you sang that in your head.) These onion rings from Rumbergers in Champaign are perfectly crunchy and delicious. These crispy rings have a light batter and a substantial, soft onion center: exactly what I like in onion rings. And I think it’s quite a lot of rings for $3.99.

You can order Rumbergers for carryout or delivery here.

A single morning bender sandwich from Cracked! The Egg Came First sits on a white plate. The sandwich has egg, hashbrowns, cheese, and cream cheese inside the soft bun. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Six eggs a’ crackin’

On the sixth day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: six eggs a’ crackin’ from Cracked! The Egg Came First. Geese be a-laying eggs, and I like my eggs cracked onto a sandwich. Cracked’s morning bender sandwich ($7) is a sandwich with a fried egg, cheddar cheese, hashbrowns, and cream cheese on a soft roll — and it’s my favorite thing on the menu. It’s got everything I need from a breakfast sandwich: cheese melted onto my egg with some salty, crispy ‘browns on a soft bun. 

I miss the truck, but you can put your order in here for carryout or delivery from Cracked on Green daily from 8 a.m. to midnight.

An overhead shot of a white mug with hot chocolate and marshmallows floating. The mug sits on a butcher block counter. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Seven ‘mallows a-swimming 

On the seventh day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: seven ‘mallows a-swimming from my hot chocolate bomb. Hot chocolate bombs are so hot right now. They are magical chocolate balls filled with hot cocoa mix and marshmallows, and they come in different flavors like milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, Oreo, and more.

You can buy them from Cheese & Crackers, Industrial Donuts, Sugga Shaii’s Sweets, Teystie Treats, and Seven Hills Sweets.

A plastic, circular container from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery sits on a red and white checked tablecloth. The chevre flavor is herbs de province. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Eight goats a-milking

On the eighth day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: eight goats a-milking. Champaign’s Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery makes the best chevre I’ve ever had. So creamy and fresh, this goat milk cheese is divine on on toast for breakfast, on sandwiches for lunch, assembled on a charcuterie board, and in pastas or on pizza for dinner — or by the spoonful when no one is looking.

You can order cheese here. If you like goats, you might enjoy seeing baby goats leave the barn for the first time or virtual viewings of the baby goats

A cropped version of Page Roasting Company's logo featuring owner Erin Erdman in a tarot card style holding a beaker of coffee. Photo by Erin Erdman.

Image by Erin Erdman.

Nine ladies brewing

On the ninth day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: nine ladies brewing. I’m not sure if there’s a place in town with nine ladies brewing, but there is one amazing lady roasting coffee at Page Roasting Company. Erin Erdman shared with us earlier this year why her coffee is so special: because she uses a manual roaster.

“I am able to control the roasting process when humidity, temperatures and other environmental factors shift. This allows me to both achieve consistency and quality when other roasters who use automated systems are dialed in, thus preventing them from making subtle adjustments in drum speed, air, and gas flow.”

You can buy coffee from this woman-owned business here.

Five pairs of frog legs from Neil St. Blues in Champaign lay spread out in a circle on a black plate on a black table. The frog legs are battered and fried. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Ten frogs a-leaping

On the tenth day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: ten frogs a-leaping from Neil St. Blues. These incredible deep-fried frog legs ($12) are available on the appetizer menu. These are bone-in frog legs with tender white meat, battered and fried to perfection. There’s some creole seasoning in the batter which elevates the flavor of the frog legs, and the salty crunch takes it to the next level. They definitely look like frog legs — there’s no fooling anyone, but they taste a lot like chicken. 

You can place your order here. Park in the designated cubrside spot on Hill Street just off Neil, and a masked staff person will bring your order out to your car. 

In a white paper box, there are 13 unfrosted sugar cookies in holiday shapes next to four bags of icing and containers of sprinkles. This is a cookie decorating set from Central Illinois Bakehouse. Photo from Central Illinois Bakehouse Facebook page.

Photo from Central Illinois Bakehouse’s Facebook page.

Eleven Cookies to be Piping

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: eleven cookies to be piping from Central Illinois Bakehouse. You can order a set for $25 which includes more than just eleven cookies to pipe. This cooking decorating set comes with a bakers dozen (13) of plain baked sugar cookies, four pre-filled piping bags of royal icing, and two containers of holiday sprinkles. For me, the hardest part of cookies is putting the dang frosting in those piping bags, and four pre-filled piping bags might be worth the $25 alone. Have all the fun of cookie decorating without any of the hassle of measuring ingredients, making the dough, cutting the cookies out, making sure the cookies don’t burn, and letting them cool. This year, pipe some frosting onto cookies the easy way: let Central Illinois Bakehouse do all the hard work, so you can make some holiday memories without any stress.

You can order yours here. Orders can be picked up on Friday, December 18th or Wednesday, December 23rd.

A dozen Buffalo wings sit on a white plate at Crane Alley in Urbana. In the center is a cup of ranch dressing. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Twelve drums a-drumming

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my C-U love gave to me: twelve drums a-drumming. I don’t know if drums or flats are your favorite wings (I prefer the drums myself), but you definitely need twelve wings. I always think a half order will do, but six is never enough — especially if you have others in your house who “just want to try one.” Check out this list of five C-U chicken wings if you’re craving some chicken drums a-drumming this season. No matter the day (or holiday), chicken wings are never a bad idea.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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