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Five things to eat or drink in C-U this month: June 2022

June is one of my favorite months because summer. The weather brightens my mood, and the social buzz of events is back. Everyone seems busier this summer, travelling here and there to places outside C-U. I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of a trip is coming home to my bed — and the amazing food here in Champaign-Urbana.

This month is also my birthday month, so I’m indulging. Give me cake. Give me fried chicken. Give me freaking delicious food. Did I include any nutritious foods in this list? Only one! If you want healthful foods, check out my list of broccoli dishes, five satisfying salads, or check out our monthly farmers’ market updates.

This June, try some food from Black-owned businesses, something different from Papa Del’s, and more.

On a white plate on a white table, there is a chocolate chip bundlet cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes in Champaign. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Chocolate Chip Bundtlet | Nothing Bundt Cakes

This chocolate chip bundtlet ($5) was a perfect dessert. Made fresh at the North Prospect bakery, the miniature bundt cake was individually packaged along with other bundtlets in variety of cake flavor. I usually get the chocolate chocolate, but this chocolate chip cake was so great. The spongy yellow cake was dotted with mini chocolate chunks and frosted with the bakery’s signature cream cheese frosting stripes. The sweet cream cheese frosting went well with the vanilla cake and chocolate chips. The outer layer of the cake had a soft, chewy cookie taste from where the sugar caramelized in the bundt pan during baking. There’s nothing wild or crazy about this dessert, but its simplicity was the tastiest part. Also, this bundtlet is gluten-free, and I couldn’t even tell. It was a wonderful little dessert.

Find other bundtlets in flavors like red velvet, strawberries and cream, lemon, and more. Each flavor can also available in larger cake sizes. Order online or walk in to spontaneously pick up cake from the Black-owned bakery.

Nothing Bundt Cakes
408 W Town Center Boulevard
M-F 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sa 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On a long white plate, there are five small arancini with a balsamic glaze on top of tomatoes and roasted red peppers. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Arancini | Papa Del’s

I went to Papa Del’s and didn’t order a pizza. My date and I shared a variety of appetizers, and this plate of arancini was tops. Papa Del’s arancini ($9) had five risotto bites with cheese, peas, and wine covered in panko crumb atop a Romesco sauce and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic glaze. 

A close up of Papa Del's arancini. There are five panko breaded arancini on a long, skinny white plate. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

They were so pretty! These little balls of rice were perfectly cooked with a golden brown exterior and a seriously delicious middle.The peas had a lovely soft pop and gave a good texture to the rice. The softened tomatoes and roasted red peppers beneath the arancini added a great taste and chunky sauce that elevated the rice balls. The drizzle of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil took it to the next level. This arancini app was such a delicious Italian bite.

Papa Del’s
1201 S Neil Street
Su-Th 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

On a white table, there is a bowl of bibimbap from San Maru in Champaign. The fried egg is cooked perfectly and centered atop different vegetables. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Beef Bibimbap | San Maru

This beef bibimbap ($11.99) came with colorful vegetables, beef bulgogi, and an egg over rice with a red pepper sauce to mix. San Maru’s bibimbap has been amazing as takeout over the last two years, but I enjoyed it in person recently — and it was even better. Eating this dish in a big beautiful bowl straight from the kitchen was a treat. I especially liked eating the fried egg at The Crossing restaurant; there’s nothing like a perfectly cooked fried egg with no travel time in a styrofoam container. The meat was marinated and so flavorful. The rice soaked all the flavors from the beef and the egg’s runny yolk. I liked the bites of cucumber, carrots, and sprouts with the sweet and savory meat. Each bite of the bibimbap had a different combination of the yummy components, and it was a filling, nutritious meal of rice, vegetables, meat, and egg. San Maru’s bibimbap was amazing, and while I will still order it to go, I think this dish tastes the best at the restaurant.

There’s an option to switch the protein from beef bulgogi to chicken, seafood (chopped squid and masago), or tofu. There are tables for dine in inside the small restaurant, and online ordering is available as well. 

San Maru
2504 Village Green Pl
T-Sa 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. + 4 to 7 p.m.

On a white plate on a white table, there is a koiugn amann from Six Red Chairs Bakery. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Cinnamon Kouign Amann | Six Red Chairs

This heavenly pastry is from the Urbana farmers’ market vendor Six Red Chairs Bakery. The cinnamon kouign amann ($3.75) has become something I crave every time I’m at the Saturday morning market. I tried it last year, and when I had one again this past Saturday, I had to recommend you try this. Made fresh for the market, the kouign amann had delicious buttery layers of sweetened yeasted dough encased by a thick hard sugar shell. It was like a cinnamon croissant meets crème brûlée. The outer layer of crystallized sugar cracked to reveal soft, airy pastry with cinnamon-sugar. It tasted cinnamon-y, sugary, and yeasty, and I freaking loved it. 

Six Red Chairs has a red tent in the middle of row three at the Market at the Square. Stop by the baker’s tent to try the kouignn amann and eat it as you browse the market.

Six Red Chairs Bakery
Market at the Square
Sa 7 a.m. to noon

In a tin-foil lined basket, there is a fried chicken sandwich with macaroni and drippy hot sauce on a bed of crinkle fries from The Stuft Bird in Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Big Chuck | The Stuft Bird

The Stuft Bird food truck needs to be on your radar. This Black-owned business makes some of my favorite wings: macaroni-stuffed wings. I ordered the Big Chuck combo ($10.50) which was the Big Bird (a fried chicken sandwich) with homemade macaroni and cheese on top. This was a magical combination of all the carbs: bread, pasta, and breaded chicken — and I am obsessed. The tender fried chicken had a great salty breading, and the sandwich had several fried chicken pieces stacked on top of each other inside the bun. The cheesy mac was so creamy that it was sliding out of the sandwich. I love the macaroni and cheese stuffed wings from The Stuft Bird, and this is just another tasty way to play around with the macaroni and fried chicken combination. Sauce can be served on the sandwich or on the side, but definitely will ask for the hot sauce. The Stuft Bird’s sauce was tasty, tangy, and spicy with an addicting sweetness that gave way to a powerful peppery finish. I poured it on everything even the macaroni and cheese. The side of crinkle fries were great, especially dipped in that sauce.

The fried chicken sandwich was wrapped in tin foil and carried out well. Every bite of the sandwich was still hot even after my drive home; the food truck’s packaging was on point. Order online for pick up at the truck parked on the corner of Fourth and University or have it delivered to you.

The Stuft Bird
104 N Fourth St
W-Sa 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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