Smile Politely

Five things to eat or drink in C-U: June 2020

The weather is warming up, and I am loving it. Summertime is the best time, in my opinion. I like being outside, and I will be wearing dresses from now until November (not only because it’s hot, but also because my pants don’t fit, thanks to #quarantine15).

The last week has been heavy. I’m no expert, but what I need right now is a cold beer, fried wings, some things for a sandwich picnic, and something from a Black-owned restaurant. Maybe you do, too. Here’s five things you should eat or drink this month in C-U.

A howler from Blind Pig Brewery sits next to a very full glass of light brown beer. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Brett IPA | Blind Pig Brewery Beer

We all need a drink these days, and this is the perfect summer beer. Brewed by Blind Pig, this Brett IPA ($12) comes in a howler, or a “half growler.” Blind Pig’s howler is a 32 ounce glass bottle that you can order online to pick up curbside or go in and carryout. It gave me a beer and a half.

This Brett IPA is light and tart. Like most IPAs, it is a bit bitter and hoppy, but I really enjoyed the fruity taste. The herbal citric flavor lightened up the beer. The flavor profile is something that hopheads and those shy to IPAs will enjoy. I paired it with pasta, but I think it’s the kind of drink that pairs well with anything.

Blind Pig
120 N Neil St
1 p.m. to 10 p.m., daily

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Parmesan Garlic Wings | Rumbergers

I am a girl who loves wings. If it’s on the menu, I’m getting wings. Get my fingers dirty and get all the meat off the bones; I love everything about wings. Rumbergers is a new wing place in town, and they might be my new go-to for wings. These ten bone-in fried wings ($9.50) had super crispy skin with the most juicy, flavorful meat inside. The parmesan garlic dry rub was exactly what it sounds like: a salty, parmesan crumble with strong garlic and pepper overtones.

I ordered online, picked up in store, and took it home to eat — and the wings were still hot. I love how crispy these wings are, and I was sad when I looked down, and there were no more. You can order wings bone-in or boneless in amounts of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 wings. Next time, I’ll be getting way more than ten.

2502 Village Green Place
M-W 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Th-Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A sausage, onion, and green pepper hash is covered with scrambled eggs on a white plate. Photo by Stango Cuisine's Facebook page.

Photo by Stango Cuisine’s Facebook page.

Farm Skillet | Stango Cuisine

Stango Cuisine, the nation’s only exclusively-Zambian restaurant right here in Urbana, offers this farm skillet ($7.79). It’s a hearty portion of home fried potatoes topped with two eggs, sausage, onions, and green bell peppers. It also comes with toast and jelly. The chef at Stango serves only country fresh eggs, pan-fried in no cholesterol butter.

You can get delicious, high quality food while supporting this Black-owned business. Check out their full menu including breakfast, lunch, and dinner here. Call 844-497-6835 to order for pickup or order delivery via DoorDash, GrubHub, Seamless, Ubereats, or EatStreet.

Stango Cuisine 
140 Lincoln Ave
T-Sa 9 a.m. to noon, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Lots of microgreens are assembled in a plastic to-go container. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Micro Greens from Diamond’s Homestead

Picked that day, there’s no fresher microgreens in town. A friendly farmer from Diamond’s Homestead shared with me the different options: he had three kinds when I shopped at the Champaign Farmers’ Market. I tried the radish microgreens which had a nice spice to it. Soak them in water with a splash of apple cider vinegar to wash before eating.

I used my microgreens on my deli meat sandwiches for lunch. It gave such a great crunch and texture to my sammie that I will be back to the market to buy more soon.

Diamond’s Homestead
2720 Boiling Springs Road
M 8 a.m. to noon, or to be arranged 

Champaign Farmers’ Market
T 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Two gloved hands hold up a deli meat sausage of bresaola salumi showing the circular shape and deep purple color. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Bresaola from Cheese & Crackers

This bresaola, an air dried salted beef, from Cheese & Crackers might be my new obsession. It is dark red in color, almost deep purple. Bresaola is not salami but a salumi; salumi is an overarching term for all Italian cold cuts predominantly made from pork, and salumi includes bresaola, mortadella, and prosciutto cotto.

I’d never tried — or heard of bresaola — before, but I was excited to taste it. It reminded me of pastrami but a bit more game-y meat flavor. I liked how thinly the meat had been sliced. I don’t think I would have cared for a large, thick slice of bresaola, but a half pound of delicate, thin slices of bresaola were delicious. I added the meat to my sandwiches and a charcuterie board where the bresaola paired well with grapes, cheese, and cucumbers.

Cheese & Crackers
1715 W Kirby Ave
T-Sa 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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