This month is another month of staying home. I can't cook everyday, mostly because the dishes are just too much sometimes. On the days that I don't cook, I look for delicious options that taste as good for carryout as they did when I was dining in back in February (R.I.P. the Great Before). 

Here's a list of five things I think you should eat or drink this month. From a fusion dish that has me hungry for more to a super spicy dish to a drink that sounds like dessert. Is there something you think I should try? Leave a comment or email me at alyssabuckley@smilepolitely.com.


Bulgogi Cream Pasta | NAYA 

A creamy linguine dish is in a black plastic to go container. The pasta is topped with a dark meat of bulgogi beef. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

This bulgogi cream pasta ($15) from NAYA is to die for. It is a dish of pasta with a cream sauce topped with bulgogi beef and parmigiano reggiano. If you like chicken alfredo, you’ll love this dish. It has a similarly rich, Italian sauce over linguine noodles, but the bulgogi beef is something so wildly different than chicken that you’ll be digging your fork back into the dish for more before you finish that first bite of bulgogi beef. Bulgogi (불고기) is a Korean style meat meaning ‘fire meat' is a gui (구이), or Korean-style grilled dish, made of thin, marinated slices of beef. The fusion of Korean beef with traditional Italian cream sauce is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. It is available to-go, and it carries well home. It was still warm — and just as delicious as when I’ve dined in — when I opened it at home to eat it. Sometimes at night, I dream about this pasta.

NAYA
212 E Green St
Champaign
T-Sa 5 to 10 p.m.

Spicy Korean Chicken | KoFusion 

Three pieces of chicken are covered in an orange sauce next to a large portion of white rice in a black circular takeout container. Photo by Alyssa BuckleyPhoto by Alyssa Buckley.

This dish is only available at KoFusion's campus location. The spicy korean chicken ($10) is three pieces of fried chicken covered in a sweet and spicy sauce. It is pretty spicy, so be sure to have a big glass of water when you eat this. I love spicy food, so I can't get enough of this. Each bite is delicious: the crunch of the chicken, a sweet start of the sauce's flavor, and a firery finish. The spicy chicken is served with a large portion of white rice which you desperately need in between bites of the chicken. It burns so good. I always order two because I cannot share this dish. My husband and I are obsessed with this dish; we had it for our anniversary date night in. You can order over the phone, pick up your order curbside, and take it home without ever having to change out of pajama pants.

KoFusion on Campus
701 S Gregory
Urbana
M-F 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Chicken Pad Thai | Siam Terrace

A styrofoam container of pad thai is overflowing with noodles, chicken, bean sprouts, carrots, and a lime wedge. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Siam Terrace's chicken pad thai ($11.99) was packed with chicken. In the pad thai, there are thin, flat rice noodles with egg, crushed peanuts, green onions, bean sprouts, and raw, julienned carrots. You can choose a protein from a long list of options: chicken, beef, pork, tofu, vegetable, shrimp, seafood, or mock duck. I'm partial to chicken dishes, and this chicken did not disappoint. Sliced thin and full of flavor, the chicken was plentiful, in almost every bite. You can customize your spice from Level One to Level Four; I chose spice Level Two, and it wasn't that spicy. If you like spicy, you should definitely go for Three or Four. 

The dish was a huge portion, and there was about half leftover (which I gladly ate the next day for breakfast). The flavors are mild and savory. The sauce is very light, and the chicken and veggies really take center stage. The diversity of textures from the soft noodles, crunchy veggies, and tender chicken make this dish something I'll have to order again. 

Siam Terrace
212 W Main St
Urbana
M-F 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su noon to 9 p.m.

Parmesan Truffle Tots | Cracked

A small cardbox box is open revealing many fried tater tots covered in parmesan cheese. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

On Cracked's small bites part of the menu, you can find Parmesan Truffle Tots ($3.75 for a small order, $4.75 for large). They are fried tater tots tossed in truffle oil and dusted with lots of parmesan cheese. They are crispy, salty, and warm — even by the time I got home with them. The little, compact cylinders of potatoes are crispy on the outside from a deep fry and deliciously potato-y in the center. The parmesan dusting is excessive, and I am here for it. Every tot has some parmesan cheese on it, and that’s just how I like it. Cracked Food Truck is out at the Urbana Market in the Square on Saturday mornings in addition to their location on Green Street which is open daily.

This is something you can eat for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. They're not nutritious, but damn, they are delicious. If you haven't tried these before, May 2020 is the time; you need these parmesan truffle tots.

Cracked Food Truck
Urbana Market at the Square
Sa 7 a.m. to noon

Cracked on Green
619 E Green St, Champaign
8 a.m. to 2 p.m., daily

Caramelized S'more Latte | Lodgic's Clever Moose Cafe

An overheat shot of a mostly full coffee latte drink with a white foamy top with a drizzle of light brown caramel sauce. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

This carmelized s'more latte ($3.45 for 12 ounces) from Lodgic is made with coffee, marshmallows, caramel pecan, and chocolate. You can customize it to be made iced or hot, decaf or regular, and with milk, cream, soy milk, oat milk, or almond milk. It sounded like the perfect dessert drink, so I had to try it. I ordered online and picked it up curbside from a masked and gloved Lodgic employee. The small was plenty for me.

I was expecting a very decadant first sip, but it was not. It's a classic latte: a creamy coffee drink. This latte was very coffee-forward with a slight aftertaste of marshmallow. The light layer of foam is delicious and drizzled with a light caramel sauce. I would want to try the iced version of this as well. This carmelized s'more latte is a definitely drink that you should try if you want to level up your latte routine.

Lodgic Clever Moose Market Cafe
807 S Neil St
Champaign
M-Th 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sa + Su 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.