Category: Photo

Lassoni gobi from Himalayan Chimney is always a good idea

Himalayan Chimney's fried cauliflower appetizer lassoni gobi ($8.99) is a must have dish especially on these cooler days. The name means garlicky cauliflower, and the app is a tasty platter of batter-coated cauliflower, fried, and tossed in a red sauce. The batter was so deliciously crispy and paper thin, and the sauce was spicy good.

We also ordered warm garlic naan ($3.99), chicken Chettinad ($14.99), and lamb korma ($15.99) for dinner. 

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The chicken was exceptionally flavorful, and the dark stew that it was in was wonderfully hot and spicy. I sopped up that sauce with the naan, and I was in heaven. The lamb korma had chunks of yummy tender lamb in a mild cashew curry sauce that was a nice contrast to the spicy Chettinad chicken. They also serve wine and beer at the restaurant.

Order online or enjoy in the restaurant's large dining room.

Himalayan Chimney
134 W Church St
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 to 10 p.m.
Su noon to 3 p.m., 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.


You can purchase a piece of the Lincoln Lodge Motel at Restore

The Lincoln Lodge Motel on University in Urbana has been purchased by Carle, and will be torn down soon, and Restore staff collected some relics from the building to sell in the store.

The hotel opened in 1952, and was designed by Joseph Royer, who designed many buildings in C-U. Royer also designed the Urbana Lincoln Hotel, soon to be named Hotel Royer in his honor. You can see the similarities, as the Lincoln Lodge has the same Tudor style design.

Black and white photo of a single story motel. On one end is a steep gable roof. A sign out front reads Lincoln Lodge Motel, and 1950s style cars are parked in the lot. Photo from University of Illinos Archives. Photo from University of Illinois Archives.

The staff also snapped some photos of the interior.

A portion of a bar area in an abandoned hotel. The walls are wood paneled, and the bar and bar stool are all wooden. A light fixture with two bulbs hangs above the bar. Photo from Champaign County Restore Facebook page.Photo from Champaign County Restore Facebook page.

From the City of Urbana website:

When the Lincoln Lodge opened in 1952, it was considered one of the finest of its kind. The original motel included 32 rooms built in the English rustic lodge-style, a coffee shop, lounge, and restaurant. Each room was built to accomodate five people. The rooms were air conditioned and centrally heated. A unique feature was the each room had a private dial telephone, part of a project of the Illinois Bell Telephone Company. The interior and exterior were constructed of artificially aged Florida and Louisiana cypress. In late November 1954, the motel was extensively damaged in a massive fire.

Check out more of the available items below, or on their Facebook page.

Top photo from Champaign County Restore Facebook page. 


These Halloween treats at Suzu’s Bakery are adorable

It's amazing what some googly eyes can do to make your favorite Japanese desserts more festive. The eyeball macaron, however, is my favorite.

You can read our interview with co-owner Jennifer-Gunji-Ballsrud here.

Suzu's Japanese Bakery
114 N Walnut St
W-Sa 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Top photo from Suzu's Bakery Facebook page.

Photo / Word

Smith Burger Co is adding a second smashburger trailer

Smith Burger Co, a C-U food truck that makes hand-crafted burgers smashed to order, has purchased a second trailer. The truck owners plan to work on it over the winter and have both trucks serving smashburgers in the spring.

Having a second trailer will give more opportunities for C-U to enjoy burgers from the iconic green food truck in addition to letting Smith Burger Co accept more events and private party requests.

If you want to learn more about the burger food truck, you can read our review of the smashburger food truck. Be sure to follow Smith Burger Co's Facebook page for updates on the progress.

Smith Burger Co

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.


This Spiced Caramel Chaider was perfect for a chilly fall day

One of the best things about fall is drinking warm comforting beverages on chilly days. Yesterday, I tried one of Café Kopi's "fall favorites" — a Spiced Caramel Chaider. This delicious beverage packs a whole bunch of fall flavor goodness into one cup: caramel steamed with apple cider, topped off with a tea bag of their chai blend. It was just the right mix of tart and sweet. 

I would like to sip this in my favorite mug whilst sitting by a campfire, cozy blanket draped over my lap. 

If apple cider isn't your thing, maybe try the Campfire Mocha, Pumpkin Pie Chai, or Cold Pressed Pumpkin Spice.

Top photo by Julie McClure.

Café Kopi
109 N Walnut
Tu + W 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Th-Sa 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Su 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 


Check The Idea Store for Halloween costume additions

If you are looking to accessorize your Halloween costume, or find some inspiration, I found a few items at the The Idea Store that might be of use. When you're only going to wear something once or twice, why not seek out some inexpensive items? Also, if you are a crafty sort of person, don't forget they have a gigantic section of all kinds of fabric to assist in your costuming needs.

A basket filled with colorful thin rubber bracelets, and different colored hair clips with rhinestones. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

An assortment of sunglasses with solid colored frames are scattered on a table with a red drape. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A top hat that is covered in long pink fur. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A black fuzzy head band with rabbit ears. The ears are black with a pink center. The headband is hanging on a sparkly orange jack o lantern bucket. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

An assortment of rings are in a black display box within a glass case, most with a large ornamental piece. Each has a white price tag attached. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A collection of patterned necktties. Many are rolled up, a couple of them are draped across the container. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

A book with a spiral binding. The cover shows a photo of a child in a wig with their face painted like a clown. It says Face Painting in white block letters across the top. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

The front of a package of sewing patterns. There are three women dressed in prairie-style clothing. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

Top photo by Julie McClure.

The Idea Store
125 Lincoln Square
Tu-F 12 to 6 p.m.
Sa 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Su 12 to 5 p.m.


MTD unveiled it’s first zero emission buses today

Today at the MTD Maintenance Facility in Urbana, national, state, and local leaders and industry partners gathered for the unveiling of the brand new zero emission fleet technology. An on-site hydrogen production station, powered by solar panels, will fuel 60 foot hydrogen fuel cell buses. These will be the nation's first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric buses, emitting only water vapor into the air.

A close up of the inner workings of a hydrogen fuel cell bus. There are various tubes and pipes twisted around each other, and they are all very clean. Photo by Julie McClure.Inner workings of the new hydrogen fuel cell bus. Photo by Julie McClure.

Inner workings of a regular MTD buses. A different configuration of pipes and tubes, and there is a dirty film over everything. Photo by Julie McClure.Inner workings of a regular MTD bus. Photo by Julie McClure.

Senator Dick Durbin and Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez spoke, as well as Congressman Rodney Davis, Illinois Secretary of Transportation Omer Osman, and industry partners that made this technology possible. Some important notes about the hydrogen buses, per MTD:

The hydrogen fuel cell electric buses save over 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel per bus each year, and one bus reduces greenhouse gases up to 135 tons annually. MTD’s truly zero emission fleet will operate alongside diesel electric hybrid buses, currently 97% of the 114 bus fleet, but will be 100% low or no emission in 2022.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric buses bring the power of zero emissions without the stagnancy of recharging. Hydrogen fueling takes no more time than conventional diesel fueling, which enables flexible route and service designs. Hydrogen is non-toxic and is 14 times lighter than air. With rooftop hydrogen fuel tank storage, an unplanned release rises safely in the air at 45 miles per hour, rather than pooling on the ground. MTD’s zero emission, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles present a reliable solution for a brighter, cleaner tomorrow.

Hydrogen fueling station. Photo by Julie McClure.

You can read more about the project here.

Top photo by Julie McClure.


Check out the new art in the Lierman Neighborhood Community Garden

Next time you're near the Lierman Neighborhood Community Garden (corner of Lierman and Washington Streets In Urbana) stop and enjoy the new art by Cindy Sampson which brightens this shade and table. Sampson's work is made possible by the new Urbana Arts and Culture Program's Growing Community Intitiative, which was funded by an AARP Community Challenge Grant. 

Photo from the Urbana Arts and Culture Program Instagram.

Link / Photo

Happy National Dessert Day

In honor of this sweet holiday, make sure you treat yourself to some dessert today. Not sure what to get? Take a look at this list of five sweets to eat in C-U.

If you want more inspiration for where you should get a cake, sugary drinks, and other desserts, I rounded up our recent dessert content and what we recommend in Champaign-Urbana.

Here are some lists about desserts:

Plus, check out some recent reviews about places where you can find desserts:

On a white plate, there is an Art Mart pumpkin cookie: a soft orange, brown cookie with bright white icing on top. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Lastly, here are are some desserts worth indulging in if you haven't tried it yet:

If you want, you can drop your favorite dessert in the comments or email me.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

Link / Photo

October 17th exhibit at Marm Studio features work of Lorraine Graham

The artists of the Marm Studio Gallery will be hosting an exhibit on Sunday, October 17th featuring the work of Lorraine Graham. Graham's work has recently been showcased in The Best of Acrylic magazine and Bridging the Art Divide.

Midwest Interpretations
Sunday, October 17th, 1 to 4 p.m.
917 W White St, Champaign

Follow Marm Studio Gallery and Lorraine Paula Graham on Facebook


This burrito from Espresso Royale was a solid grab and go breakfast

First, I hestitate to call it a burrito. It's really more like a breakfast wrap. Either way, my vegetarian burrito/wrap from Espresso Royale was an easy grab and go breakfast this morning. It offered a nice change from my usual breakfast sandwich order. 

The vegetarian version featured eggs, potatoes, melty cheese, and roasted red peppers in a spinach wrap. It was flavorful, and though I brought it home to enjoy, it was not so overwhelming that I couldn't eat it in the car. I really liked the addition of potatoes. That's not something you find in many breakfast wraps, and it made for a heartier meal. 

They also had a Southwestern option for meat eaters, with egg, cheese, sausage, and black beans. Both were $5.

Espresso Royale
1411 S Neil Street
M-Su 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Top photo by Julie McClure.

Photo / Word

Last Saturday’s Toast to Taylor Street was awesome

Last Saturday, Toast to Taylor Street's festival event celebrated performers, makers, and Taylor Street businesses on a beautiful October evening. The event had an open air market with local businesses, live bands, craft beer, local food and drinks, and a drag show finale.

On Taylor Street in Champaign, there are colorful vendor tents set up with makers selling goods and Downtown Champaign building tops in the background. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Presented by Farren's Pub, The Blind Pig Co, Cowboy Monkey, Champaign Center Parnership, Fire Doll Studio, Perennial Sound Studio, Behemoth Durable Goods, and Before Brand, this event was a collaborative effort.

During the day, there are vendors setting up for the Toast to Taylor Street event party. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

All day long, Taylor Street had local foods and artisan goods for sale. People wandered through the market buying cakes, cookies, handmade cards, art, socks, beer, and more.

At night, there are vendor tents for Toast to Taylor Street and shoppers browsing the open air market. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The vendors at Toast to Taylor Street included Hunny Bunny Bakes, Fire Doll Studio, Art CoopFRESHASSMONKKatrina Catizone, J.Gil FitnessPure Vida Pets, and more.

A wooden box with a metal pig etched with the words Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The Blind Pig had a mini bar set up in the street on Taylor Street, serving craft beer for the event. $6 pours of brews from The Blind Pig, Triptych, and Riggs were available to enjoy with live music.

On the Blind Pig patio, there are overhead lit string lights at night illuminating the patio of many diners at round outdoor black tables. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

At night, there was a stage set up on Taylor Street next to Farren's where live bands performed including New Souls, Modern Drugs, and more.

The band Modern Drugs is playing for an outdoor crowd at Toast to Taylor Street. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Tables right in front of the stage were reserved for diners of Farren's, and there were lots of people eating burgers and rocking out to the jams. Plus, there were plenty of outdoor tables for The Blind Pig near the open air market, and further down Taylor Street, I enjoyed a red sangria on Cowboy Monkey's patio — and I could still enjoy the music.

A pantsless drag performer in a beautiful black leotard with a cape performs at Toast to Taylor Street in Champaign. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The street festival event ended with a drag show featuring three queens and a king. It was a super fun show that had quite a crowd sitting at tables, perched on the curb (like I was), and standing all along Taylor Street having a good time at the Saturday night performance.

The cast of the Toast to Taylor Street drag show stands at the end of the show. There are three drag queens and one drag king standing on a black stage at night with street lights shining behind them. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

This event was a wonderful reminder of how lucky we are to live in a place like C-U where restaurants, makers, and performers collaborate to bring something new and fun for our community.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.