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Here are pics of some cool projects by Illinois Intro to Fashion students

Though we may not get to enjoy an in-person 2021 Re-fashioned show, we can still see the amazing work by Susan Becker's Introduction to Fashion students on Facebook. You'll find amazing entries in the "The Newspaper Project," and "The Re-Claim to Wear" categories. Go check it out and leave the students some love in the comments. 

Top image from Facebook.


Go nuts: this cheeseburger from NAYA is on a cronut

NAYA's new burger has a beef patty, American cheese, and bacon on a two halves of a maple bacon cronut. This burger ($14) sounded wild, and I had to try it.

The cronut, a croissant-doughnut pastry, was flaky and buttery but still worked as a bun for this burger. The edges were crisp, and the inside was airy like a donut. The whole burger was lightly doused in maple syrup, so it was a messy, delicious meal. The bacon paired so well with the cronut, and the burger patty and cheese were great. It tasted a lot like breakfast: bacon, maple syrup, and fries as hashbrown adjacent. 

My date ordered the Korean fried chicken sandwich ($13) which had a sweet, spicy sauce and was freaking humongous.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Indoor dining is available at NAYA, and the hostess checked temperatures and offered hand sanitizer to every customer upon arrival. Takeout and delivery are still available.

212 E Green St
T-Sa 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.


Have you eaten Dis N’ Dat BBQ yet?

Dis N' Dat BBQ is a Black woman-owned restaurant in Rantoul cooking up delicious barbeque. The menu includes a Chicago-style chopped steakburger, deep-fried pork chops, beef brisket sandwich, ribs, pulled pork, rib tips, wings, Polish sausage, Italian beef, sub sandwiches, pot roast, and nachos. The sides menu has some classics like sweet honey cornbread, baked macaroni, slaw, black eyed peas, potato salad, and also a special loaded baked beans which the site says is Grandma's recipe with beef, onions, bell peppers, and Dat Sauce. 

Check out some of these photos of the food from Dis N' Dat BBQ.

Two fried pork chops with crinkle cut fries sit in a white takeout box. Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.

Seasoned chicken with two sides sits in a divided styrofoam container. Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.

Rib tips from Dis N' Dat BBQ are covered in a dark barbecue sauce. Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.

Dis N' Dat called this a stuffed baked potato, and it is the most loaded potato I've ever seen. You can barely see the potato.

An entire container is full of baked potato covered with cheese, broccoli, and smoked chicken. Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.

This strawberry and pecan smoked chicken salad looks really satisfying as well.

A huge smoked chicken breast is on top of a salad in a styrofoam container with strawberries, almonds, croutons, and cucumbers. Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.Photo from Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.

There are also cake slices available by the slice with rotating flavors like carrot cake, chocolate turtle cake, strawberry cheesecake cake, and more — which aren't on the online ordering menu, so call 217-979-1338 to put in an order if you'd like any cake.

Follow the barbeque restaurant on Facebook for updates on their specials and more food photos.

Dis N' Dat BBQ
112 E Congress
T-Sa 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Top image by Dis N' Dat BBQ Facebook page.


You need to order the grilled scallop salad at Farren’s

I was fortunate to dine al fresco at Farren's last week on a day I wasn't in the mood for a burger. Why fortunate? I find it very difficult to order anything but the Motherlode when I have Farren's, so this time I felt free to explore more of the menu. 

I chose the grilled scallop salad, swapping the strawberry vinaigrette for the house dressing, and it was delicious. The salad was enormous, with a satisfying number of scallops, and was also topped with walnuts, strawberries, grapes, and shredded parmesan. There was a nice balance of flavor, with the parm and scallops offering a savory compliment to the sweetness of the fruit. It's one of the pricier items on the menu, at $20, but that isn't surprising for a dish with scallops. It was worth the splurge.

Of course, it was also necessary for me to order the fried truffle chips with a side of blue cheese sauce because I can't let go of all of my regular choices. 

A metal tray is lined with red and white checked wax paper. It is filled with fresh cut potato chips, and a small plastic cup filled with white sauce. Photo by Julie McClure.Photo by Julie McClure.

Farren's Pub and Eatery
117 N Walnut
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fr-Sa 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Top photo by Julie McClure

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Made in Urbana is feeling crabby

Has late pandemic life left you feelin' crabby? You're not alone. Consider feeling your feels with your very own 3D crab cutey courtesy of Made in Urbana. Let Jace Crab sit on your desk and hold your Apple Pencil for you. Wear your crabbiness of your sleeve with an emobroidered Jace Crab sweatshirt, or spread the crabiness around with a series of adorable stickers. Check out the full line, including the Jace Crab Plushy I'm obsessed with, at Made in Urbana's Etsy shop.   

Oh, and don't forgot to check the Made in Urbana Facebook page for a look at Matt Wiley's animated "Every Cowboy Needs a Hat" video because Jace Crab loves to accessorize.  

Top image from the Made in Urbana Etsy site. 


Make plans to get to Wood N’ Hog Downtown for their Soul Food Wednesdays

Every Wednesday, Wood N' Hog Barbecue offers soul food dishes you can only get at the Downtown Champaign location. The Wednesday Soul Food menu includes smothered pork chops and smothered chicken wings and legs, meat covered in Wood N' Hog's house gravy with onions and seasoning. In addition to the meat, there are lots of sides available like collard greens, sweet potato, rice, cabbage, mac and cheese, baked beans, and coleslaw.

Check out this soul food goodness.

Fried pork chops smothered in a light brown sauce is topped with a sprinkling of fresh herbs from Wood N Hog Barbecue. Photo by Wood N Hog Barbecue.Photo by Wood N' Hog Barbecue Facebook page.

You can get your soul food only on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Champaign location. The regular menu is also available.

Wood N' Hog
500 Walnut St
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.


The sakura are in full bloom at Japan House

This is not a drill! It's going to be a beautiful, sunny day, and the sakura are officially in full bloom. If you can, get yourself over to Japan House to take a peek today.

Also, please remember that we are still in a pandemic and wear your mask, keep your distance, etc.

Top photo from Japan House Facebook page.


Where do you get your favorite beer in C-U?

Today is National Beer Day, celebrating April 7th of 1933 when the Cullen-Harrison Act was enacted which legalized the sale of beer — an important step towards the end of Prohibition. If you're planning to enjoy the holiday, where are you getting your beer?

Not sure? Check out our list of five great local beer options, this list of C-U winter beers, our review of White Oak Brewing, this review of Emancipation Brewing Company, this review of Big Thorn Farm & Brewerythis interview with Triptych Brewing, or this interview with Collective Pour's owner.


Top image by Jordan Goebig.


Look upon this pretty charcuterie board by Graze

Graze makes specialty curated grazing boards for Champaign County. This new business can create beautiful custom boards or boxes for customers with fruit, salami, cheeses, and other snacking accoutrements.

Photo from Graze CU's Facebook page.

Photo by Graze CU's Facebook page.

This woman-owned business even has a vegan option for customers.

Photo from Graze CU's Facebook page.

From the business' Facebook page:

I help those who are wanting to make a statement with their entertaining, gifting, and grazing...I believe when it comes to cheese, the possibilities are endless!

Contact Graze by email to order your own customized grazing board.

Top image from Graze CU's Facebook page.


Takeout from Sticky Rice is delicious

Ordering takeout has been a great way to support local restaurants — and skip out of cooking dinner. This weekend, I put in our usual order at Sticky Rice: vegetable egg rolls, chicken pad Thai, yum nuau salad, yellow curry, and crab rangoon. 

An overhead photo of six dishes from Sticky Rice in Champaign. From the top left, there is a square styrofoam container with three egg rolls and a plum dipping sauce. Then, a circular takeout container of chicken pad Thai with a lime wedge, beside a styrofoam container of steamed white rice. On the bottom left, there is a yum nuau salad, a circular container of curry, and on the right bottom six crab rangoons in a white paper bag. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The egg rolls and the crab rangoon were freshly fried and still hot when we dug in. I love pad Thai, and this version from Sticky Rice satisfies, especially when ordered medium spice. I really don't like salad, but I love this yum nuau which has lettuce with lots of sweet beef mixed with cucumbers, red onion, jalapeños, carrots, tomatoes, cilantro, and the most delicious salad dressing I've ever tasted. Spicy and sweet, it is ridiculous how good this salad is, especially coming from someone like me who doesn't usually enjoy salads.

The yellow curry is my favorite dish from Sticky Rice — and it heats up so well as leftovers. It's not spicy at all, so if you're nervous about spicy foods or curry in general, this is a sweeter option. Made with a coconut broth, the potatoes and onions were tender and so tasty over white rice. 

If you're looking to order takeout, Sticky Rice is a solid option. You can order online or call 217-954-1929 to place your order. Indoor dining is also available.

Sticky Rice
415 N Neil St
M 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
W-Sa 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Su noon to 8 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.


Li’l Porgy’s suffered terrible fire damage

Editor's Note: This is a developing story and details might change after our initial publishing time.

This is such a sad sight to see. Li'l Porgy's, located at 1917 W. Springfield in Champaign, appears to have suffered a terrible fire last night. Here are some photos posted, shared to Spotted in Chambana this morning. It looks like it is pretty terrible, though thankfully the building did not burn down. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Here is a release about the fire from the City of Champaign, emphasis mine:

Commercial Fire – 1917 W Springfield Avenue

The Champaign Fire Department responded to a fire at Li’l Porgy’s, 1917 W Springfield Avenue, Saturday, April 3, at 5:52 a.m.  Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire that began in a commercial cooking pit. 

Firefighters responded to multiple reports of a fire inside the restaurant.  Once on the scene, fire crews reported a fire in the commercial cooking pit that was extending to the roof from the exhaust flue.  Firefighters deployed multiple hose lines and quickly extinguished the fire mostly contained to that cooking appliance.     

The cause of this fire is accidental.  There were no firefighter or occupant injuries reported.

Li'l Porgy's downsized a couple of summers ago from two locations to one, this being the lone remaining one they have in C-U. Wood N Hog's first brick and mortar location opened in the former Porgy's space in Urbana.

Image by Tony Bruno.

Image by Tony Bruno.

Image by Tony Bruno.

Image by Tony Bruno.

Champaign Fire Department tweeted this just about an hour ago:

Top image by Tony Bruno.


You need to visit El Progreso’s brand new location in Urbana

Last Friday, El Progreso opened up a brand new location on Cunningham Avenue, moving half a mile from their old Urbana location in the Commerce Centre plaza at Five Points.

The sign on the new space says "Coming Soon," but it's actually open now. The Urbana specialty store moved Thursday night and has been open since Friday, March 26th.

A sunny exterior of El Progreso's new Urbana location. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

There are many parking spaces available in front of the store which is more convenient than the former Urbana lot.

At the entrance of El Progreso, there is an open set of automatic doors and then another set that is closed. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The new location has two sets of automatic doors in addition to carts and rolling baskets for customers. I grabbed a cart and explored the store.

Shelves in El Progreso are full of brightly colored fruity drinks. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I saw many options of fruit juices, soda, chia drinks, and also Diet Coke on the shelves.

In the baking aisle, boxes of pancake mix and churro sit on a shelf beside Crisco. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

In the baking aisle, I found this awesome churro mix beside a pancake mix and some Crisco.

Inside El Progreso, there are end caps full of ramen noodles and a wall of packaged spices. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

You can find loads of selection for ramen noodles, spices, and seeds plus shelves full of beans, salsa, sauces, and rice at very affordable prices.

A cold cooler holds meats in a glass case with brown cardboard boxes of tortillas and plantains in front. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

There is a meat case full of protein options like chicken, pork, steak, and prepared meats.

A bright blue pinata sits in a large container with other brightly colored pinatas for sale at El Progreso. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

And piñatas!

At the checkout area of El Progreso, there is an empty checkout lane, a meat counter with lots of flags from around the world, and many bright fluorescent lights above in the white ceiling. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The space is brightly lit, super clean, and full of delicious things to buy.

The checkout area of the new El Progreso Urbana location is empty, and the bright open windows show the automatic doors by the entrance. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The checkout area has two registers, and the masked cashier was really friendly. If you're looking for inspiration in the kitchen, this store is a must visit.

El Progreso
1302 N Cunningham Ave
8 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.