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I might be in love with this caramel apple fritter from Ye Olde

It's really, really good.

Just look at it! It's craggy, and the perfect caramel drizzle is nestled right on into them. Check the Ye Olde Facebook page for the daily menu, and then get there early to ensure you can snag one for yourself.

Read our review of the shop(pe) here.

Ye Olde Donut Shoppe
1401 S Neil St
Champaign
6 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily

Top image by Jessica Hammie.

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Have you seen Homemade, With Love yet?

A "multimedia installation that brings together interior design, audio and visual art made with Black girls" Homemade, With Love: More Living Room, creates an intricate and impactful space within Krannert Art Museum. By asking "What would it mean to co-create and be in a homemade space of interior worldmaking imagined for and with Black girls, women, and femmes as part of their everyday creative livelihoods?" Homemade, With Love "seeks to merge local, national and global critical arts engagement with Black girls to curate a homemade space that centers Black girls’ creativity, design, and lived experience."

With KAM by appointment visits now extended to Thursday evenings, you'll definitely want to explore this important exhibit before it closes on July 3rd. What are waiting you? 

Top image from the Krannert Art Museum website.

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Common Ground blogged how to make vegan Ghormeh Sabzi

Looking for a new recipe to make at home? Common Ground Food Coop featured C-U resident Darya Shahgheibi's family recipe for this Iranian dish on the CGFC blog. In this family recipe, Shahgheibi shares the ingredients you need, recipe, and photos of the process for one of their favorite dishes.

On a table with a circular, fringed placemat, there is a white plate with an Iranian dish called Ghorem Sabzi with Persian rice. Photo by Darya Shahgheibi.Photo by Darya Shahgheibi.

They also give so many great tips throughout the recipe like "You can save the ends of your chives and scallions in a jar with an inch of water! They’ll regrow!" and "You're going to make a mess — it's ok!" Check out the recipe and all of Shahgheibi's cooking tips here.

Also, in this fifteen minute video posted in the same blog post, you can learn more about the four-hour stew recipe that their Dad made while they was growing up plus a fun story about how Shahgheibi first found the Coop when they were new to town. Shahgheibi also gives some information about the UP Center of Champaign County, upcoming pride hikes, support groups, and more.

Video from Common Ground Food Coop's blog.

"It takes four hours to make and four minutes to eat," Shahgheibi said in the video.

If you make the dish, be sure to tag Common Ground on Instagram.

Top image by Darya Shahgheibi.

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Mahomet-based author lends local flavor to Chicken Soup for the Soul

Mahomet-based author Stephanie Davenport has published her sixth story within the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. But Read, Laugh, Repeat doesn't do good by offering uplifting words. Its publishers are also donating a portion of the proceeds to national charities that the writers have voted on. Read, Laugh, Repeat is available in local bookstores and on Amazon.

Cover art for Chicken Soup for the Soul, Read, Laugh, Repeat with title info across a photo of ferret. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Davenport.,
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Davenport.

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I took myself on a date to Watson’s Shack and Rail

Sometimes you need to treat yourself. With the warmer weather we’re having, it is a great time to get out of the house. I took myself out (leaving my family at home with peanut butter sandwiches) to go to Watson’s. I ordered a drink and two sides (don't judge me), macaroni and mashed potatoes, and I had at it.

Two small white cups of sides sit in a basket with a red and white checkered parchment paper on an outdoor black table. There is an orange cocktail on the table as well. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

This cocktail is called Watson’s Wabbit ($9), and it made it into my cocktails al fresco article. Made with Chicago Distilling Finn's gin, carrot juice, honey ginger syrup, and lemon juice, garnished with a lemon, this cocktail was heavenly. Ginger was the strongest flavor, and the lemon was prominent as well. If the carrot juice in the drink worries you, stop worrying. I'm not crazy about carrot juice, but I like it in this drink. It's like a whisper of carrot juice instead of like wham-bam, here I am, carrot juice. It tasted a lot like a ginger lemonade, and it was easy to drink.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The green chili and white cheddar mac and cheese ($4) was fantastic. A great peppery flavor, the macaroni sauce was spicy, creamy, and damn good. I always get a side of mac when I go to Watson's because it's so yummy, and if you haven't tried their macaroni, you need to the next time you're there.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The mashed potatoes and gravy ($4) were solid, with bits of red skin from the potatoes adding a nice texture to the smooth side. The gravy on top smothered the potatoes, and I loved it. 

You don't need to order just sides like I did for a good time. Get whatever your tummy wants. Take yourself on a date. You deserve it.

Watson’s Shack & Rail
211 N Neil St
Champaign
T-Th 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Su 4 to 9 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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This chocolate chip banana swirl cake from Aroma tastes as good as it looks

This cake from Aroma Cafe has a big chocolate swirl, chocolate chip-banana cake, cream cheese frosting, and crunchy, crispies on the outside — and I ate it for lunch yesterday. As I was ordering a latte, this cake in the case spoke to me. It said, "You deserve cake," and I listened. The cake was perfection: soft crumb, creamy frosting, and delightfully sweet.  

Aroma Cafe offers a variety of coffee beverages, smoothies, sodas, and tea in addition to breakfast and lunch items. This cake is one of three rotating cakes available by the slice for $4.15.

You can put in an order online for pickup, but I didn't see this cake as an option, so you might just want to treat yourself to a morning at Aroma. The wifi signal was strong, and the barista was friendly. There are lots of tables available outside and inside, whatever your preference is. Get your usual coffee and see what pastry in the case speaks to you.

Aroma Cafe
6 E Taylor St
Champaign
M-F 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sa+Su 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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Hamilton Walker’s has some new spring cocktails

Hamilton Walker's does cocktails well, and I'm looking forward to trying one of these new spring concoctions. These seasonal drinks are available for in-person consumption, and reservations are recommend. If you're sticking with to-go, be sure to get one of their classic cocktails with your order. Two of my favorites: the Aviation and Bee Knees are available to go. 

Champagne Cocktail

A champagne flute has a light pink bubbly liquid with a brown sugar cube at the bottom. Photo provided by Hamilton Walker's. Photo provided by Hamilton Walker's.

Mamie Taylor (like a mule but with scotch instead of vodka)

A tall cylindrical glass is filled with light yellow liquid with ice at the top and a lime garnish. Photo provided by Hamilton Walker's.Photo provided by Hamilton Walker's.

Pisco Sour

A wedge shaped martini glass is filled with yellow liquid and a white froth. Photo provided by Hamilton Walker's. Photo provided by Hamilton Walker's.

Gold Rush (bourbon, lemon, honey)

A wedge shaped martini class is filled with a golden yellow liquid with a lemon peel garnish. Photo provided by Hamilton Walker's. Photo provided by Hamilton Walker's.

Hamilton Walker's
201 N Neil St
Champaign
W-Su 4 to 8 p.m.

Top photo of a Paloma provided by Hamilton Walker's.

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It’s the 21st anniversary of GirlZone Day

Twenty-one years ago today, the City of Champaign declared April 22nd to be GirlZone Day, in honor of the groundbreaking grassroots initiative that "hosted hands-on workshops for girls and young women led by proudly feminist, proudly queer, proudly anti-racist, proudly social justice-minded, proudly culturally-challenging, proudly supportive, joyful, and badass local women."

In thanks for all of the music and zines GirlZone volunteers made, the gender-stereotype-busting skills and life lessons they taught, let's keep this legacy alive by continuing to lift up girls and women in our communities. 

Image from GirlZone Zine courtesy of founder Aimee Rickman. 

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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.

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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.

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

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.