I’m so busy traveling around that I often don’t get to go to some of my favorite places in my hometown. When my friend Sonja Kassenbaum of North Shore Distillery told me she was coming to town to visit some of the bars and restaurants that house her products, I decided it was a perfect time to catch up with both Sonja and downtown Champaign.
Radio Maria, which I’m sorry to say I haven’t been to in a while. Sonja was pouring cocktails made with some North Shore Sol Vodka (which has a citrus infusion) for the guests while I enjoyed one of my all-time favorite drinks – North Shore No. 11 Gin and Tonic. I was surprised at how many people had never had her spirits before, but not surprised that they kept ordering them the rest of the night.
Radio Maria is in the heart of downtown Champaign and is known for not only a large selection of spirits, but their beer list. They had 27 beers on tap during my visit. The other thing Radio Maria is popular for is their tapas. Sonja and I sampled some wonderful ones which I had remembered from my last visit: Arancini, risotto balls with mozzarella, topped with tomato sauce; Queso de Cabra, fried goat cheese topped with honey; and Lamb Meatballs, stuffed with cheese and pine nuts, cooked in a tomato broth.
Destihl, a brewery I love that she had not yet visited.
While I’m on the subject of Destihl, I’d like to pass along some information on their beer dinner this week (11/9) in their Normal location. It’s not only a great opportunity to check out some of their beers, but you can also sample some of Chef Martinez’s fabulous food. For more information on the dinner, contact the brewery, 309-862-2337. Unfortunately, I will be out of town (what else is new), but I’m sure I will find another excuse to go back for asparagus and poblanos!