Smile Politely

Five things to eat or drink in C-U this month: February 2021

In February, we celebrate Black History Month and recognize the achievements of Black individuals. We celebrate contributions made to American history, and this month (and all year), we can support Black entrepreneurs and restaurateurs who are making incredible contributions to our C-U community. I, for one, am excited for another reason to celebrate these businesses. 

I’m highlighting five delicious food items from Black-owned businesses that you should enjoy this month. 

A giant cinnamon roll sits on a white plate on a white table. The cinnamon is swirled like a tower, and the icing is cracking. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Cinnamon Roll | Brittany’s Sweet Spot

This cinnamon roll ($4) came in a clear clamshell container with a cute label with Brittany’s Sweet Spot printed on it, so immediatelty, I was smitten. The large roll was as big as my hand: a tall, twirling tower of cinnamon dough. The cake itself was soft with a donut-like texture with a great sweet flavor. Freshly baked, this cinnamon roll was light on the cinnamon letting the yeasty, bready part of the roll star. The icing on top was thin and super sugary, and there was a good amount of it. It was pretty much perfect. Order yours by contacting her on Facebook or find her as a vendor at the Winter Farmers’ Market in the Lincoln Square Mall this Saturday, February 13th.

Brittany’s Sweet Spot
Winter Farmers’ Market
Sa 8 a.m. to noon

A slice of yellow rum cake from Caribbean Grill is on a white plate. The cake is a rich yellow throughout and a dark brown exterior with chopped nuts on top. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Rum Cake | Caribbean Grill

My goodness, do I love this rum cake ($5.49) from Caribbean Grill. Topped with chopped nuts, this cake was a thick, decadant cake with a dark brown outer layer. The cake had a really strong rum flavor which is unique compared to most desserts I’ve had that lean on chocolate or fruit for flavor. I’m always down for a little rum, especially after a meal of jerk chicken. It’s a sizeable portion that you can definitely share. I enjoyed how moist and sweet (but not too sweet) the cake was. It was buttery and full of rum flavor, and it’s a must have dessert to add on to your order from CG. Order yours on the Caribbean Grill app.

Caribbean Grill
2135 S Neil St
T-Sa 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A chocolate covered Twinkie is drizzled with white chocolate and laying on a white plate. There is a white stick for easy holding. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Chocolate Dipped Twinkie | Cool Bliss Pop Bliss

Famous for their popcorn, Cool Bliss Pop Bliss also offers a variety of chocolate covered treats including this chocolate dipped Twinkie ($3.99). Like what? I had to get it when I was in there picking up popcorn; it beckoned to me — and I’m glad it did. This is exactly what is sounds like: a Twinkie, the American sponge snack cake with a creamy filling, dipped in artisan milk chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate. Is it sugar overload? Oh, yes. Is it delicious? Very much, yes. The chocolate cracked with my first bite, and I enjoyed the chocolate, the spongy cake, and the classic white filling, all in one. My hands remained clean thanks to the stick inserted into the Twinkie. I highly recommend going in store to browse and see what chocolate-dipped treats speak to you. You can also message CBPB on Facebook to place an order as well.

Cool Bliss Pop Bliss
1506 S. Neil St
T-Sa 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Su noon to 5 p.m.

A burger with bbq pulled pork and onion rings sits on a black plate besides a lot of french fries. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Blues Burger | Neil St. Blues

The Blues burger ($12) is a burger that comes with a half pound beef patty with smoked pulled pork, barbeque sauce, and onion rings on a soft bun with your choice of lettuce, onion, tomato, or pickles. Served with fries, this was such a filling meal. The burger patty was thick and meaty with an expert char that give a good crunch plus the raw onion. The bun was soft on top, golden brown in the middle, and grilled crispy around the edges. There was a sweetness from the barbeque sauce spilling onto the pulled pork, the beef patty, and the bun — and my fingers. Oh, and there’s onion rings in there, too. There was a lot of pulled pork, enough to make a pulled pork sandwich, but paired with the burger, it was like two damn good sammies in one. Get yours by ordering online here.

Neil St. Blues
301 N Neil St
T-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In a small paper tray, there are fries covered in barbeque sauce beside pulled pork sandwich from Wood N Hog. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Pulled Pork Sandwich | Wood N’ Hog

Wood N’ Hog has daily specials, but there is nothing as worthwhile as the Friday special: pulled pork with fries for $5.99. You can buy this sandwich for $7.99 any other day of the week. Get a pile of napkins: this was a messy, finger-licking good meal. The soft bun holding the saucy pulled pork fell apart into the meat making one glorious, messy AF sammie. The generous heap of meat had crispy ends on some shredded pork, and most tender strings of smoky meat were covered in Wood N’ Hog’s barbeque sauce. You can choose mild, hot, or mixed for barbeque sauce; I always choose mixed because the spice gives a little tingle on the tongue, but it’s not overpowering. The sauce was drippy all over the sandwich and the fries. The fries had some crunchy parts, but mostly, the bed of fries were yummy, soft potato sticks swimming in sticky sauce — which was straight delicious. If you don’t want sauce on your fries, make sure to ask for sauce on the side. But if you haven’t had barbeque sauce covered fries yet, get on it and try it this month.

You can order yours by calling 217-367-1018. Pay at pick-up inside the Urbana restaurant, and bring cash for the pig on the counter because you can’t leave a tip on your credit card.

Wood N’ Hog
101 W University Ave
M-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

Food + Drink Editor / / instagram

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