One year ago, I began my delicious journey as Food + Drink Editor for Smile Politely, and I shared my five favorite foods in March 2020 as my first article. I had dreams of going to restaurants, getting a table by the window, and enjoying meals all over town. Instead, I've spent the last year getting carryout, pulling up curbside, and having food delivered to my front door — but still enjoying meals from all over town.

As a celebration of one year with Smile Politely, I'm sharing five things I personally can't get enough of: foods and drink you should try this month.


Two dessert eggrolls from A Taste of Both Worlds sit on a white plate. One is intact and the other is sliced in half, revealing the middle. Two little sauces are behind them. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Turon | A Taste of Both Worlds

This dessert is called turon ($3.25), and you can get it at the Filapino and Cambodian restaurant, A Taste of Both Worlds, the newest vendor at Broadway Food Hall. This dessert comes with two skinny eggrolls with a banana and jackfruit filling. The sweet eggrolls were dusted with powdered sugar and served with two dipping sauces: caramel and chocolate. Oh my goodness, readers, this dessert is mandatory. It was so good. There was an audible crunch on my first bite, followed by the sweet caramelized banana flavor from the filling. The jackfruit was mild and blended well with the banana. The crispy outside and the creamy middle made for a lovely pairing texturally. I enjoyed having two dipping sauces; it felt luxurious, and you bet I double-dipped that eggroll so each bite had a drippy, sugary start. Run, do not walk, to BFH for this savory and sweet dessert. 

A Taste of Both Worlds
401 N Broadway Ave
Urbana
W+Th 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
F 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 to 7 p.m.
Sa 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cheese fondu from The Bread Company in Urbana is in a blue bowl. A bread cube has been dipped by a metal fork in the cheese, and a big thick strand of melted cheese connects the bread to the fondu. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Cheese Fondue | The Bread Company

Made with two imported Swiss cheeses Ementaler and Gruyère, this Bread Company #9 small plate was a classic fondue. It was thick, cheesy, and so decadant. Masterfully seasoned, the fondue had a buttery flavor with a nice pepper spice and a bit of tanginess. The fondue was not thin, so lots of cheese adhered to the bread which was awesome. The provided bite-sized bread cubes were fresh, white bread or baguette, and they were the perfect vessel to shove this melty, gooey cheese into my mouth. This is only available on the dinner menu, but you can order dinner at The Bread Company starting at 3 p.m. The portion was large enough to split between two people, but if I won't blame you if you eat it all yourself.

The Bread Company
706 S Goodwin
Urbana
M 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tu-F 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sa 3 to 9 p.m.

A large ground beef burrito from Los Hidalguense is sliced open to reveal the middle. Inside, ground beef, rice, cheese, beans, lettuce, and onions are mixed together. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Ground Beef Burrito | Los Hidalguense

I always choose tacos over a burrito. Except when I've had so many pastor tacos that I want a break, then I get this burrito from Los Hidalguense. This ground beef burrito ($8) is everything. Made with your choice of protein (chicken, steak, pastor, ground beef, or chorizo) plus lettuce, onion, tomato, beans, cheese, sour cream, and rice wrapped up in a soft flour tortilla that was warmed on the grill. I got mine without sour cream (it's not my jam, don't at me), and you can customize yours to remove whichever ingredients you don't like in your burrito — or keep them all.

I'm not sure how Los Hidalguense's ground beef was so amazing, but it was. It was meaty, not greasy, made with grilled onions, and so flavorful. You have to try the ground beef. I'm telling you, it's not your basic, oily ground beef; it was so freaking good. The rice added a nice texture to the burrito, and the cheese melted into the refried beans. The burrito was mostly meat and rice, which was great. Because it's wrapped in tin foil, I actually think it's a great eat-in-your-car meal, and if I'm running errands on North Prospect, I like to fuel with this burrito. Call in your order to 217-714-0738, so it's ready when you get there, or order at the truck parked in the Hunter's Haven parking lot on Bloomington Road off Prospect.

Los Hidalguense
1040 W Bloomington Rd
Champaign
11 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily

In a clear half tumbler glass with a gold rim, a gray drink fills it 3/4 of the way. Near the top, white and brown spherical ice float. There is a brown whipped coffee fluff on top of the drink which sits on a black table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

El Duderino if You're Not into the Whole Brevity Thing | Punch! Bar

The Dude abides. I like a good cocktail, and Punch! recently started offering delivery by Punch! employee drivers. I tried cocktail delivery last week after calling to be sure they delivered all the way to my house (because I'm out of delivery range of most places), and they said, indeed, they deliver to Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy.

The El Duderino if You're Not into the Whole Brevity Thing cocktail ($9) was made with Wheatley vodka, Giffard Vanille de Madagascar, Mr. Black Cold Brew coffee liqueur, whipped coffee, honey, oat milk ice, and coffee ice. It came deconstructed with a container of small ice balls, a little cup of whipped coffee, and a mason jar with the cocktail. 

An overhead photo of a a gold rimmed half tumbler with many ice balls of white and brown color. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I added the little ice balls first, then poured the cocktail, and added the whipped coffee. The ice balls reminded me of bowling balls from The Big Lebowski, a fun nod to the name of the drink. The white ice balls were made with oat milk which tasted a lot like a regular ice cube, and the darker ice was made with black coffee. The drink had a bold coffee flavor with a sweet aftertaste. It tasted like a spiked vanilla iced latte, and I like the taste of coffee, so I loved it. The whipped coffee topping was fluffy and bitter, not sweet at all like I expected, and it really tied the drink together. It's part of Punch!'s winter cocktail specials and will rotate out on March 22nd, so be sure to snag one early this month before it's gone.

Punch! Bar
217 N Neil St
Champaign
M-Th 4 to 10 p.m.
F+Sa 4 p.m. to midnight

Six wings drenched in a reddish sauce sit in a tin-foil lined takeout container. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Wings | San Maru

These six wings ($8.99) from San Maru were fantastic. I love wings, and I like these wings in particular. You can order a small (6 wings), a medium (12 wings), or large (20 wings) and a choice between mild teriyaki sauce or spicy teriyaki sauce. I chose spicy, and they were tasty spicy. There were red pepper flakes throughout the sauce which gave a great zing. The wings had a thick batter that was drenched in the sauce. The meat was delicious and fell off the bones, so it was easy to pick the wings clean. The sauce was sticky and had a generous pool of teriyaki in the container, so I dragged my wings through it before each bite. The heat stayed on my tongue; it wasn't overpoweringly spicy — it was enjoyably spicy. Get yours to go, delivered to your house, or dine in at one of the four indoor tables at San Maru.

San Maru
2504 Village Green Pl
Champaign
T-Sa 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.