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Lunch at Purple Pig - 9/22/2011

zin1953 | Sep 25, 201109:30 PM

The Purple Pig is a definite winner! Walking through the "Magnificent Mile" toward what (apparently) is now called the "Gold Coast," and my childhood home -- I always thought I used to live on the Near North side -- we spied the Purple Pig, complete with its cool and, yes, campy wrought iron gateway ("Cheese, Swine, Wine") and, with a mental apology to my grandfather, a Kosher butcher in old Chicago, Lynn and I had a late lunch.

We asked to sit outside, as we are here during those two weeks in the Fall when Chicago weather is glorious, and were immediately shown a table for two . . . yes, there are some communal tables, but not all are, and this little table was perfect. So was our waitress -- blonde, flowers-in-her-hair, and "with child," as they say. Asking if we had ever been there before, she explained most of the dishes were "small plates, similar to tapas," and suggested that five dishes between the two of us would be about right.

This place does indeed have an impressive wine list, and a very nice approach as well. Some selections -- although only available in full 750ml bottles -- are indeed available in half bottle amounts, as they will open the bottle at your table, decant half of it, and take the rest off to be poured by-the-glass. So we enjoyed a Syrah from the Northern Rhône as we proceeded to "pork out."

At our waitress' suggestion, we had the fresh corn salad with a light pesto that was exceptionally fresh, sweet and delicious. This was followed by a crispy pig's ear and crispy kale salad, topped with a fried egg . . . thin slivers of pig's ear and flash-fried kale, couple with pickled peppers, that was then coated in egg yolk -- YUM!

Then, we chose the "Purple Pig Platter," a selection of seven different kinds of pork, including lingua agrodulce, jambon, and several different salumi -- all served atop a l-o-n-g wooden pig . . . amazingly good, BUT (just to be technical) this is not a small plate. Not with some three dozen individual pieces of meat! Good thing we have a small refrigerator in our hotel room . . .

But wait, there's more -- we then had the roasted bone marrow (OMG!), followed by the "JLT": Jamon Serrano, an assortment of Lettuce, perfectly ripe Tomato & topped with a fried duck egg, all served over grilled bread . . . .

Four. Four plates would have been fine, but every dish we had is something I would definitely want to eat again, and I'd be hard-pressed to choose one to drop off this list.

Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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