Friday, January 11, 2013

The Purple Pig

The Purple Pig is my favorite restaurant in Chicago.  Whenever I end final exams, I make it a point to have dinner here.  From the appetizers to the desserts, everything on the menu is utter perfection.  The service here is always friendly and the FOOD! Oh, the glorious food!  Everything here is just divine!  There is no other restaurant like The Purple Pig.  The dishes themselves are unique from each other and every flavor is different.  They've got your charcuterie, smears, salads, antipastos, and large plates covered.  Whether you are looking for something savory, sweet, heavy, or light, The Purple Pig will have a dish that will make you go WOW... with your mouth full.  Bring your friends because this tapas style restaurant is perfect for groups that love to share. Want to see Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. in action?  Check out the Check, Please! episode that featured The Purple Pig.
500 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 464-1744
4 stars on Yelp
Look for this sign during your stroll down Michigan Ave.
The Purple Pig provides communal dining tables.  When you get your menu, don't feel too overwhelmed.  Take a breath, look up, and you'll find handy dandy cheat sheets attached to the lamp shade.  This will guide you through the unique menu items.
You can even get seats at the Chef's Counter to see the cooks in actions.  It was amazing to see how fast and precise they were in assembling every dish.  Respect.  Fist pound.
Charcuterie at The Purple Pig is a MUST.  This place has a phenomenal cheese and cured meat selection that also comes with a side of jam for a sweet and savory appetizer.
Lengua.  The tongue.  Don't freak out, grow some balls, and order it.
Testa.  Melts in your mouth.
You cannot go wrong with their cheeses!  I always order the caprino tartufo, truffled cheese.  But recently they added this new goat cheese that is just to die for!  Ask your server about it because I can't remember the name!
Pig's Ear with Crispy Kale, Pickled Cherry Peppers & Fried Egg.
Be sure to break the egg and mix everything together.  A MUST ORDER! 
Crispy Beef Tendon Chips.  Not yet on the menu but it should be!   These light puffs of air were crispy, delicious, and a fabulous start to our meal.  They were like the beef version of pork rinds. 
Taramosalata "Greek Caviar Smear"
Whipped potatoes with caviar.  Light, slightly briny, and just DELISH!  A great smear for a vegetarian!
House Cured Lardo Iberico. 
Comes out with the house cured lardo melted on top of buttery toasted bread.
Roasted Bone Marrow with Herbs.  The Purple Pig now cuts their bone marrow lengthwise, which makes it easier to scoop out the bone marrow. 
Schmear on some marrow and sprinkle on some salt, capers, and parsley per your taste.  SO good!
Turkey Leg Confit, Crispy Lentils, Treviso, Endive & Agro Dolce.  HOLY. BALLS. MIND. BLOWN.  Order this sh*t!
Don't even grab the knife.  The meat falls right off the bone.  Turkey leg cooked in pork fat.  Genius! 
Pork Blade Steak with 'Nduja & Honey.  Don't be fooled, the steak is the size of the ENTIRE PLATE. 
Sweet and savory, this steak is mouthwateringly delish.  SO GOOD.
"JLT" Pork Jowl, Tomato, Frisee & Fried Duck Egg.
Just. Beautiful.
The JLT was recently introduced to The Purple Pig's menu.  I read in Kevin Pang's wonderfully written Tribune article that it takes FOUR DAYS to prepare the jowl.
Beautifully plated, layers of flavors, and decadently rich. 
Mussels with Pancetta, Crème Fraîche & Marjoram
DELISH.  That broth was just heavenly! 
Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes.
FRIGGIN' DELISH!!! A MUST ORDER!  Tender pork shoulder smothered in rich gravy sitting on top pillowy mashed potatoes.  Drool, drool, drool.
Literally falls apart with just a touch of a fork. 
I order this every time I go here.  Boyfriend is lucky that I even share it with him.
Chicken Thigh Kebabs, Fried Smashed Potatoes & Tzatziki.
Extremely tender and grilled perfectly.  Dip the kabob in the refreshingly creamy tzatziki sauce.
Pork Tripe Ala Parmigiana with Pork Skin "Bread Crumbs"
Expect chewy and crunchy textures from the tripe and pork skin "bread crumbs".  Just excellent.
Smother it on some toasted bread.
Panino con Nutella.  Sandwich filled with a Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Marshmallow Cream & Bananas.  I tried this during my first visit to The Purple Pig.   The couple next to my friend and I were nice enough to share their half of the sandwich with us.  Why did they share?  Because they saw me drooling over their dessert.  Literally.  It was quite embarrassing... but SO WORTH IT.  Gotta love communal tables!
Affogato with pumpkin soft serve.
Boyfriend requested pumpkin soft serve rather than the original vanilla.  The pumpkin soft serve was lovely but I would have preferred the affogato with vanilla instead.  Guess I gotta go back...
Bread Pudding with Marsala & Citrus with Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream.  Unbelievably delish.
Sicilian Iris.  Ricotta & Chocolate Chip filled Fried Brioche
It is the epitome of a perfect donut.  I LOVE THIS THING.
Sir Sander Evers, pictured on the left, visited Chicago this past summer and we immediately knew that he had to try The Purple Pig.  Although Sander lives in Rome, Italy, he was thoroughly impressed with the Mediterranean-influenced dishes of this place. And yes, he is a real, legit, 21st century knight.  We told him to leave his sword at home.  You can catch Sir Sander on BBC and The History Channel.

To Jimmy, Jon, and the entire team at The Purple Pig, thank you all for providing Chicago with unforgettable and delectable dinners. 

If one word could describe The Purple Pig, it would be AMAZEBALLS. 
Happy eating. 


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