This post is going to be really fat of me. But remember I mentioned that there were so many dishes I missed from my college days at UIUC? Well, I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to compile them in a list. I think it’s also where my interest in food heightened since there were so many options (I have my fat pictures to prove it…you’ll probably never see them though). I’m not sure if all of these are even standing still, but regardless:
15. Coffee filet steak from Radio Maria. One of those hidden gems in Champaign that created unusual combinations with common food. Hence, the coffee steak.
14. Eggplant parm sandwiches from The Great Impasta.
13. Making customized pizzas at Za’s — I love the thin crust, pesto sauce, and sun dried tomatoes, and topping them with juicy pineapples. I also miss filling in a fake name on my order. They could never say my name right, anyway.
12. I can’t remember what was there before, but I wasn’t super excited about the Union changing the corner cafe to Serendipity. Until I had their green tea ice cream.
11. Biaggi’s. It’s definitely a bit farther away, but I loved this Italian restaurant out in Savoy — the calamari, pastas, chicken dishes and their assortment of bread to start.
10. Aroma Cafe. A good place to study if you need a change of scene from the main campus.
9. Rainbow Garden‘s General Tso chicken. I believe it was halaal, so some of the rare times we found a place my halaal-eating friends could agree on.
8. Gyros from Niro’s Gyros. I actually didn’t realize how much I missed it until I visited my sister in school a few years ago. PS, everyone in freakin NYC still makes fun of me when I say “gyros.” They all say it like JY-rOs here, and we say GEE-Ros….I know technically we’re both wrong, but I still think saying it our way is closer to the proper way (which is pronouncing it “yee-ros”). Leave me alone and let me eat my food.
7. Tuesday nights at Espresso Royale Cafe that I think was on Gregory, where they had open mic night and this happy guy on the ukele would always perform. He was such a happy man.
6. Sushi from Miko. I know I’ve said I’ve never been a huge fish fan, but this place was the first place I ever had sushi. It’s more sentimental in that way, the first time in a long time I actually stepped out of my usual picks and tried something new. They also have hibachi-style cooking!
5. Shrimp fajita quesadillas from Dos Reales. Heaps of melted cheese on a shrimp/rice burrito. So bad for you, but so delish.
4. Papa Del’s Pizza. Man, I miss thick crust pizzas.
3. Cookie Monsters from Cheddar’s. Oh man. A giant, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie topped with vanilla ice cream and chopped nuts. Heaven every time.
2. Late Night’s at Busey-Evans. Chocolate covered strawberries and turtle white mochas at only the expense of a vulnerable freshman with extra swipes? Yes, please.
1. Pokey stix from Gumby’s. Still haven’t found bread sticks remotely close in deliciousness. It’s basically thick pizza dough, which they smother with a “secret” blend of garlic butter and Italian seasoning, layer with mozzarella, bake again, and brush with a little more sauce. Also accounted for 90% of my college obesity.
I probably miss paying $4 for a meal the most. Four dollars in NYC can get you a piece of lettuce at best. Live it up, U of I youngins.