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Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Purple Pig- Chicago

Picnik collage

Purple Pig1

Purple Pig2

Purple Pig3

I have been on the road for the last 6 weeks and am now feeling extremely zonked out both physically and mentally. I don't wish to get on another plane for as long as I possibly can! Travels take its toll but I have to admit it is sometimes not without its perks. I was in Chicago for the first time 2 weekends ago. I have possibly been to the US not fewer than 20 times over the last 10 years but have always only limited my visit to the immediate vicinities of New York City.

There only for a short weekend break, the snapshot I was exposed to was sufficient to have me yearning to be back for more. The limited culinary scene I was exposed to in Chicago was refreshingly exciting- it reminded me a little of Sydney. At the recommendation of Jared and Alice of EatADuckIMust, I sauntered off to The Purple Pig for lunch on my last day there. A stone's throw away from where I was staying in downtown Michigan Ave, I went into the restuarant without the slightest idea about its fame and their specialty.Touted as one of the Top 10 Restaurants In America by Bon Appetite (I found out later) , the resturant serves, as its gate (see photo) indicates, Cheese, Swine and Wine. The menu featured lots of pork, cured meats, smears and cheeses. The flavours and atmosphere were very clearly mediterranean / spanish. It soon became clear that most of the dishes came in the form of a substantial tapas serving. There were too many things on the menu which I was curious about but eating there by myself did not allow me to order too many variety. The 2 generous tapas portions of Calamari With Fregola, Radish, Cucumber and Milk Braised Pork Shoulders With Mashed Potatoes would have filled me up more than adequately. However, a table with just 2 tapas dishes was just too sad-looking... I had to fill it up with one more. The deep fried Pig's Ears with Fried Kale, Pickled Cherry Peppers and Fried Egg was their specialty which, as the very friendly waiting staff told me, people would come and queue for.

All 3 dishes did not disappoint. The Calamari Antipasta was light and refreshing. Eating fregola pasta for the first time, I thought they tasted a little like a cross between nuts and coucous. Mixed this up with the tender calamari and the crunchy radish and cucumber, the texture balance was quite brilliant.I could eat this everyday.

The Milk Braised Pork Shoulder With Mashed Potatoes would have you swoon at first bite. Briased to the perfect fall apart texture, the Pork Shoulder is comfort food at its best. Great luscious food like this is best shared with someone - the generous chunk of swine was too much for me to finish by myself.

The signature Deep Fried Pig's Ears lived up to its name. Crispy and savoury, it went brilliantly well with the runny egg yolk of the fried egg. I have always shunned away from the Braised Pig's Ears found in some Chinese restaurants but I am glad I went without reservations with this one.

This is definitely a restaurant I will want to return to... there are just too many interesting dishes on the menu which I am dying to try and this time round, I shall make sure I go with friends in tow!


pickyin @ LifeIsGreat said...

Ah finally! Okay, too many things I want to say so it's going to be in point form:
1. You went to eat alone?? In a place that serves cheese, pig and wine? :D Vijay would so love this restaurant!
2. I can't imagine being on the move for 6 weeks. Half of that time was long enough to make me feel jaded. No planes for me till next month (yay!).
3. Welcome back and have a good rest!

Edith said...

you must be feeling beaten. Rest well.

gertrude said...

Welcome back Shirley. Miss you posting. I never been to Chicago before. I heard about this restaurant too. Any chance you will be traveling to SF? We will be moving there soon :)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Hi Gert, you should really try to visit Chicago- it's is a lovely city. Yes, I believe I would have a chance to be in SF possibly during my next trip. Let's stay in touch.

Jo said...

What an interesting restaurant and can't believe you ordered this much! Welcome back by the way!

Anh said...

Hope you are well! I know travelling can be a killer! But there is time when you can taste good food, right? :)

Jan said...

This looks like the place to be when you are starving. By yourself? It really looks interesting.

Anonymous said...

Delicious looking food :)

Quay Po Cooks said...

My Quay Lo have stayed in Chicago before and he said he loves the city. I am sure you want to be grounded for a while to get a good rest before your next trip.


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