My name is Alyssa Buckley, and I’m the new Food & Drink editor for Smile Politely. I like tables by the window, lots of wasabi on my sushi, all kinds of tacos, and my favorite drink is an Aperol spritz. I've lived in these delicious twin cities since 2013. I wanted to introduce myself by sharing my five favorite things to eat or drink in C-U.
Ham and Swiss Croissant︱Art Mart
Ham and Swiss croissant from Art Mart. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
This ham and Swiss croissant ($3) is deliciously flaky and made fresh daily. I love all their croissants, but the ham and Swiss is hands down the best croissant at Art Mart. Buttery layers of croissant wrap a quality slice of ham with melty, gooey Swiss. It is savory and decadent; don't even look up the calories.
Art Mart keeps them toasty all morning, so when you bite into it, it's warm and gooey. I like to ask for it to-go in a wrapper instead of a bag, so I can start eating it on my way out the door. It's the perfect breakfast or anytime snack.
1705 S Prospect Ave
M-Sa 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Su 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Brooklyn Roll and Crunch Fries︱Miga
Brooklyn roll, Crunch Fries, and Funaguchi sake at Miga. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Okay, okay, I know this is technically two things, but hear me out. There is nowhere else (that I’ve been) besides Miga where you can eat incredible sushi alongside incredible fries. The Brooklyn roll ($15) features raw yellowtail and spicy tuna with cilantro and jalapeño, topped with spicy crab. The crunch fries ($6) come hot, fresh from the fryer with salt and shaved parmesan on top. A bite of cold, fresh sushi followed by a bite of crunchy, hot fries is one of my favorite pairings.
Both the sushi and the fries are great dipped in soy sauce. Pair them with Funaguchi ($13), a delicate sake served in a golden can, poured into sake glasses tableside.
301 N Neil St
M-Th 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. + 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
F + Sa 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. + 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Taco Lunch Special ︱Huaraches Moroleon
Taco lunch special at Huaraches Moroleon. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
This little Mexican spot is my favorite place to get lunch. Before you can even open your menu, someone places a basket of hot corn chips with four different kinds of salsa on the table. The first is a mild salsa with chunks of tomato, onion, and cilantro. There is also a green tomatillo salsa, a smoky chipotle salsa, and a very spicy salsa.
The taco lunch special ($7.99) comes with two tacos, rice, and beans. You can choose from al pastor, barbacoa, carnitas, chicken, chorizo, ground beef, or steak for your meat. The tacos are your choice of flour, corn, or hard shell. Each taco is topped with chopped lettuce, diced tomato, and grated white cheese. The rice is delicious with a little bit of onion and tomato. The pinto beans are warm and served with shredded cheese on top. I love getting a soft flour tortilla and one hard shell taco — both al pastor.
If you’re thirsty for a margarita, I recommend the Margarita de Mango ($4.99).
805 Philo Rd
M 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
T-Th 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F-Sa 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Su 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sakanaya roll at Sakanaya. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
It should be illegal how good this roll is. The Sakanaya roll ($15) is sliced into eight pieces and served with wasabi and pickled ginger. This roll has a trio of raw salmon, crab salad, and avocado on the inside, and that's heavenly. But there's more! There is grilled scallop on top, drizzled with eel sauce and a dusting of bonito flakes. The flakes are known as katsuobushi in Japanese cuisine, and they are wisps of dried, smoked bonito fish.
The distinctive umami flavor of this roll makes it my favorite sushi roll. Inside, the salmon, crab, nori, and rice are all light, classic sushi flavors. The salmon is mild and smooth with a hint of fishiness. The crab salad is creamy and pairs well with the silky avocado inside the nori and sushi rice. For most sushi rolls, the deliciousness is inside the roll, but for this roll, the scallop on top is clearly the star. Bright and delicate, the scallop is so tender that it practically melts in your mouth. The sweet and salty eel sauce and the crunch from the flakes are welcome finishing touches.
The Sakanaya roll is a flavor and texure combination like no other. If you only order one roll at Sakanaya, this is the roll.
403 E Green St
M-Th 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
F + Sa 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Chicken Sandwich ︱Watson’s Shack and Rail
Chicken sandwich. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
A made-to-order fried chicken thigh on a brioche bun with a smear of herb mayo with greens and house-made pickles, this sandwich ($10) is amazing. The crunch on the chicken and the tang of the sauce combine between the buttery, toasted buns. The pickles are thinly sliced, salty, and sour. It's so good.
The sandwich is served with thick potato wedges. I love to ask for a side of the comeback sauce — it's a reddish, creamy dip that they serve with crab hushpuppies. This fried chicken sandwich pairs perfectly with one of Watson’s famous boozy slushies.
Watson’s Shack and Rail
211 N Neil St
T- Th 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
F + Sa 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.