A fun getaway treat before the Thanksgiving holiday took us into downtown Chicago where we had a “squealer” meal at yes, The Purple Pig. With a name like that, how can you go wrong, right? After all this place has been voted 1 of the 10 best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit Magazine 2010.
Talk about a great splurge — yes, occasionally it is good to have one of those…..
We started with 3 fried items: an arancin (fritter) with sage pesto, olives stuffed with chorizo, and pig’s ears with crispy kale. Next, we had a salad as a palate cleanser: it was good, with a sunchoke viniagrette and hazelnuts. Then, we had a couple smears. We ordered a couple bone items: the roasted bone marrow and a pork neck bone rillette. The bone marrow came first, with a couple big bone “shot glasses” along with cilantro, capers, shallots in a lemon-thyme viniagrette. It was intensely flavorful. Then, they brought the rillette, which was a pate-like substance molded into a glass jar with a layer of pork fat on top. It was beautiful and came along with a fruit mostardo. (Of course at this point we realized that we had just eaten more fat than we probably had in the previous month although, like fighters resting on the ropes, we just drank more wine and tried to get geared up for a couple items a la plancha which would be grilled).
At a certain point, we gave up and had a selection of cheeses and some Italian wedding cookies. We chose a goat, sheep, and buffalo cheese which were all very good. Along with the wedding cookies we also had some kolaches, which are a Czech pastry filled with various fruit fillings. Overall, we were very impressed by the blend of portuguese, spanish and other pan-european influences. And so we finally succumbed to utter bliss as we patted our full but happy bellies.
The ambiance is very inviting with a light casual feel throughout. The communal seating makes this place ideal for a happy hour where friends may not be able to meet for dinner at say 6 o’clock, but instead is great for those simply dropping by to say hello for a quick drink, appetizer or stay for dinner. If you do visit Chicago soon, the Purple Pig would be a great choice to add to your places to go in the city.