It’s the middle of winter, and it sort of feels like it, no? This month’s list is not exactly balanced. These are the things I find myself craving after a month of “healthy detoxing” and trying to be my "best" self. This is basically a list of sweets, with a bit of a savory twist on a couple. February is the month of love or whatever, and many of these suggestions are perfect for date night, both platonic and romantic.

Stouts | Triptych

I understand that not everyone likes a stout — they can be too sweet and dessert-y. A well executed stout is a real treat, though, and makes the perfect drinkable dessert or partner for your fork/spoon-able dessert. Triptych has a few on tap right now (also available for growler fills) and I encourage you to check them out. If you’re stopping by the taproom you can sample the beers in a small pour; it’s nice to be able to do a side-by-side comparison. I think a growler of stout would make a lovely Valentine’s Day gift. Because, Stout #04: Cordially Yours is a chocolate-cherry stout that is super delicious and indulgent. It really is the perfect way to end a meal, and at 11.2% ABV it might also end your night. Tread carefully, and enjoy each sip, maybe share it with your lover.

Triptych Brewing
1703 Woodfield Dr
Savoy
M-W 3 to 10 p.m.
Th + F 3 to 11 p.m.
Sa noon to 11 p.m.
Su noon to 8 p.m.

Photo from Facebook

Chocolates | Art Mart, Cheese & Crackers, Flesor’s Candy Kitchen

Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate, right? I can’t say that I’ve ever been gifted chocolate by a romantic partner, but I have indeed treated myself. A small piece of nice chocolate can go a long way, and make you question why on earth you waste your time and energy on trash chocolate like Hershey’s kisses. Art Mart sells some lovely pieces, and you can find some at Cheese & Crackers as well. Of course, you could always take a ride out to Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola — a meal and dessert would make a nice little date-day. You can peruse our article about locally made chocolates for more ideas.

Photo by Megan Flowers

Churros | Maize

Usually paired with a rich, chocolate dipping sauce, Maize’s churros come with sweetened condensed milk or cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel sauce. Churros are absolutely delicious, and I’m very excited that Maize now has them available all the time. For $5, you get three churros. Sure, the order is enough to share, and if you’re feeling charitable and loving, you could do that. Or, you could just order your own and explain to your dining partner that you are putting in the work to save your relationship. I’ll add that I don’t feel like there is ever an inappropriate time to order the churros, so just go ahead and order at lunch, or dinner, or as an appetizer.

Maize at the Station
100 N Chestnut St
Champaign
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F + Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Photo by Jessica Hammie

BLT | Intermezzo Café

This year I’ve made progress in my attempt to attend KCPA events: I marked my calendar when tickets went on sale and purchased them for shows months in advance. There’s something special about attending a show at KCPA. The space is beautiful, and you can give yourself an excuse to dress up a little (even though it’s not totally necessary). The whole thing makes me feel like a well-adjusted, fully functional adult. Grabbing a nice meal before the show is great, too, but often I am stressed about the restaurant being too far away, or too slow, and I don’t enjoy the meal. The fix for this is easy: Eat at Intermezzo, which is in KCPA. Because it’s fast-casual, you’re not waiting on the food to arrive. More importantly, it’s good. There menu is straightforward: sandwiches, soups, and salads, and there is usually a special. Dessert is available.

I like the BLT because it is affordable ($7.35), tasty, and you won’t leave your meal feeling like you need to fall asleep, or unbutton your pants. The BLT gives you all the textures you need in a sandwich (soft and crunchy), a little bit of protein, and that sense of glut because you’re eating a bacon sandwich.

Intermezzo is also open for breakfast and lunch during the week.  

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts 
500 S Goodwin
Urbana
M-F 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Open for dinner 90 minutes before performances

Photo by Jessica Hammie

Waffle Sandwich | Everyday Kitchen

Did you catch my review of Everyday Kitchen? If so, this might be redundant, but I can’t stop thinking about that waffle sandwich on the brunch menu. For $9 you get literally all the breakfast things: a waffle, eggs, cheese, sausage, bacon, home fries. It’s delicious. You can deconstruct it if you want, but there is something intensely satisfying about eating all the things in sandwich formation with waffles as your bread. Waffles! I’m here for it. I do wish that this thing was available at all times, but I suppose the universe is looking out for my health — the sammie is only available during Sunday brunch. 

Everyday Kitchen  
1807 S Neil St
Champaign
M-Th 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F + Sa 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Photo by Jessica Hammie