In the Name of Good Food


 The heart wants what it wants.

Same goes for the stomach.

There are some meals and drinks that are just absolutely and inexplicably swoon-worthy. And I’m not talking about that $50 steak or a top-shelf bottle of bourbon. Sometimes, it’s the cheap $1 burger at a dive bar in a college town. Or it’s a stack of pancakes at IHOP at 3:00 a.m. Whatever it is, you know you won’t be able to get it out of your head until you take a bite.

So, how far would you go for that bite?

It’s a question that’s been on my mind a lot lately. 

  • Take, for example, the time my friend and I were trying to figure out where to go for appetizers and drinks. She began talking about a cocktail she loved getting at a restaurant in the area. She listed several other great options of places to go, but kept circling back to that one drink at that one restaurant. 

    The only issue: An ex worked there. Obviously, she wasn’t too interested in running into him. 

    But that drink…

    “Maybe you can run in first,” she suggested. “Just ask if he’s working that night.” 

    Stomach: 1, Heart: 0

  • Or how about the time I began craving sushi from my favorite spot across the street from my apartment. I was in my pajamas, curled up and watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, and suddenly, all I wanted was a shrimp tempura roll. 

    It would have been significantly less expensive to just throw on a real outfit and walk over to pick up a carryout order. And yes, I did have some delicious home-cooked leftover pasta in my fridge.

    But that tempura roll…

    Well, I did what any rational, financially-savvy person would do: I ordered delivery from a place literally right outside my building. 

    I felt slightly ashamed when the delivery guy arrived. I swear he was trying not to laugh as I paid for dinner.

    But then I took my first bite of sushi and that feeling went away.

    Stomach: 1, Head: 0.

  • Oh, and let’s not forget the craving that just about anyone from the Chicago-area can relate to: a slice of Portillo’s chocolate fudge cake. 

    Every year when I returned home from college or from my job in Louisville, Portillo’s was one of the first places I would go. It wasn’t exactly close. It was at least a 30-minute drive, and I’m sure I probably passed a dozen fantastic bakeries every time.

    But that cake…

    Ironically, while I was living in Milwaukee, Portillo’s opened three new locations of significance: one that’s 10 minutes away from my parents’ home, and two in the Milwaukee suburbs. So wherever I went, I was blissfully surrounded by my favorite cake in the entire world.

    But I worried that would change if I ever moved. So, I decided I’d need my own version of the cake to bring with me wherever I go… and then I moved to Champaign, which also has a Portillo’s location that stays open pretty late every night. So I’m set.

    But just in case… I have a knockoff cupcake version of its chocolate fudge cake at the ready.

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Boxed cake hack inspired by Portillo's

Course Dessert
Keyword Cake, Chocolate, Dessert
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes



  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup mayonnaise


  • 1 tub Betty Crocker chocolate fudge frosting


  1. Preheat oven.

  2. Mix all cupcake ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk until well-blended.

  3. Pour batter into muffin tins (with cupcake liners) and place in oven.

  4. Bake for roughly 15 minutes. Check to see if cupcakes are ready by inserting toothpick.

  5. Let cool.

  6. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

What meal would you drive hours for? Comment below!

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