Did anyone keep up with last month’s resolutions? Did you even make resolutions? I ate mostly vegetarian and vegan, with the exception of Restaurant Week and that burger I had on January 31st because I was feeling iron deficient. But who cares about last month, anyway — it’s a new month!
This month, we’re blessed with an extra day. Leap years are always fun, because it adds a little extra flavor to February. It also gives you an extra day to try some new things, or make your way through this month’s list of goodies.
The goodies on the list this month include a fair amount of veggies (maybe I acquired a good habit last month), some breakfast, spicy hot chocolate (because February = Valentine’s Day = chocolate, I guess), and cake. Allow me to also gently remind you that Valentine’s Day is Friday the 14th, and if that is something you celebrate, you should get your act together and make a plan.
Ban Chan + Bibimbap Ingredients | Green Onion Market
Alright, here’s your romantic dinner idea: A homemade bibimbap bar. Take a look at last year’s article about the bibimbap cooking class at Japan House — that’s where I’m getting my inspiration. Green Onion led the class, and the grocery store sells marinated and uncooked bulgogi, various ban chan (side dishes), as well as any other ingredients you’ll need to put together your romantic bibimbap dinner.
I did this recently when some friends came over. Instead of trying to make myself crazy with trying to recreate things you’d get at a Korean restaurant, I just went to Green Onion and picked up a bunch of things that looked good: pickled radish salad, fish cakes, seaweed salad, pickled radishes…there are a whole bunch of things. If you’re not sure where to start, just ask. The employees are super friendly and helpful.
Green Onion Market
2020 S Neil St
Su-Th 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
F + Sa 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Breakfast | Stango Cuisine
As you may have seen, I visited Stango Cuisine for dinner during Restaurant Week. The food is so delicious, and I keep telling myself to go for breakfast. This it the month I do it. Seriously. The breakfast options are more or less exclusively American, and include things that Midwesterners like, like skillets. I’m personally quite interested in the pancake sandwich ($8): baked ham and two buttermilk pancakes, topped with two country fresh eggs.
Stango is the perfect place to grab breakfast either before or after you do your market shopping on Saturday.
140 Lincoln Square Mall
T-Sa 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Su 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Veggie Fried Rice | Peking Garden
Peking Garden has not really been my go-to Chinese takeout restaurant. There’s no real reason for this; I discovered other restaurants when we first moved here, and old habits die hard.
But I think I’ve been wrong in my approach, because the food I’ve had at Peking Garden has been great. On a recent dine-in visit, my hubby and I shared an order of veggie fried rice (among other things), and it was absolutely delicious. There were actual veggies in it, something that can’t be said for other veggie fried rice in C-U. The dish was incredibly savory and most enjoyable.
206 N Randolph
T 3:30 to 10 p.m.
W-M 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Spicy Hot Chocolate | Bossa Nova
Remember, just a few paragraphs earlier when I said “February = Valentine’s Day = chocolate”? Well, here’s your chocolate. You could even take a date to get some hot chocolate. I prefer the spicy hot chocolate at Bossa Nova; the little bit of heat cuts through the richness of the chocolate and makes the drink more interesting and sophisticated. I do think that Bossa Nova could make the drink a little hotter, temperature wise, but on the other hand, it’s nice to be able to actually drink your beverage when it’s served to you.
Make sure you opt for the whipped cream, because it’s essential to hot chocolate, and way superior to marshmallows (don’t @ me).
1 E Main St
M-F 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sa 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tres Leches | Rick’s Bakery
Have you tried this cake? It’s one of my top-two favorite cakes in C-U. It’s got the milks, obviously, plus a few slices of strawberries between the layers. I love this cake. It’s delicious.
124 W Main St
M-F 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sa 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.