Friday, February 8, 2013

Fun Playing With Food in Chicago Part 1, The Purple Pig

We spent most of last week in Chicago, on business that didn't turn out so well. All I can say is that the trial was reasonably fair, and the jury did what it did. At least we got to partake of some lovely eats for our trouble. And we managed to keep the budget in line (appropriate in light of our empty pockets after the trial), at about or under $30 per person per meal, excluding alcohol.

Our friend Cynthia returned the favor from her recent trip to Cleveland by picking us up at Midway and driving us to our hotel. I can highly recommend the Silversmith if you need to be downtown in Chicago, especially in winter when discounted rates abound. In addition to clean, spacious accommodations, the room included a laptop-friendly sized safe deposit box.

We flew in to Chicago on Sunday evening, and made tracks to The Purple Pig, so highly regarded by friends and commentators alike. The food, served in small tasting portions designed for sharing, was fabulous; I consider it a compliment to the Chicago food scene that it didn't rank as our favorite meal through no fault of its own!

Pork Fried Almonds with Rosemary & Garlic
Pork Fried Almonds. 'Nuff said?

Purple Pig Cured Meats Platter

My Charcuterie Plate
We all enjoyed this platter - but agreed that we might have spent our stomach space more wisely. A little more variety on the platter (nuts, dried fruits, cheese) may have altered that opinion, but truthfully, in hindsight, we concluded that Purple Pig has much more innovative and interesting offerings than this.

Burrata Pugliese, Grilled Kohlrabi, Apples, Mustard Greens, Crispy Speck & Beer Agrodolce
Cynthia had never before tried burrata, and this was a magnificent way to be introduced to this exquisite type of mozzarella-on-steroids cheese. The combination of apple, bacon and burrata was simply amazing and we wished the portion had three more bites!

Pork Secreto with Roasted Red Pepper, Leeks & Pickled Watermelon Rind
I need for the butcher to locate this succulent cut of pork when our next Berkshire hog is processed! A melt in your mouth delicious cut of a beautiful beast, perfectly prepared, and accompanied with vegetation that really complimented the meat.

House made Veal Mortadella Sausage with Black Kale, Fresh Chickpeas & Preserved Cherry Tomatoes
The mortadella was another "melt in your mouth delicious" meat offering. We also appreciated the fresh, fresh (never dried or frozen) chickpeas, and the crunchy kale.

Our initial order ended here. Though we were no longer super hungry, we decided we had enough room for a trio of dishes from the "fried" section of the menu; this cost us any chance at ordering dessert. Works for me.

Pig's Ear with Crispy Kale, Pickled Cherry Peppers & Fried Egg
Oops - I didn't realize that the dish was shaped like a pig, and my best shots didn't feature its face. The contents were lovely, though I confess to loving the version at Lolita here in Cleveland just a bit more.

Petit Basque Cheese with Membrillo
Our favorite fried dish. I mean, what is not to love about fried cheese with a gently sweet sauce? On several levels, this was dessert.

Eggplant Parmesan Balls
These morsels actually succeeded in reducing classic eggplant parm into a bite sized portion. Two bites gave the entire experience normally requiring an entree. Bravo.

The trial would begin the next morning. Wired with anticipation, we returned to the Silversmith to engage the next steps, completely sated and happy.

The Purple Pig on Urbanspoon

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