The Purple Pig Yet Again


Ok, I did. I went to the Purple Pig…again.

I just can’t help it.

I arrived late into Chicago for another business trip this evening. It’s oddly wintery cold outside despite the calendar saying mid-May.The Purple Pig is so close to the hotel and it’s so, so good.

Plus it’s a new season – even if the weather isn’t agreeing with the calendar – so it’s sort of like a different restaurant because the menu is featuring new dishes highlighting spring ingredients like peas, mint, ramps, and asparagus.

And did I mention it was cold again tonight? Oddly cold for mid-May. To the point that I wished I’d had a winter coat when I left the hotel, though it’s supposed to be 80 tomorrow…

Cold aside,once I’d maneuvered my way past the usual early-week crowd and found a bar seat,  I focused on the Spring menu. I had my usual waiter – the one with short cropped brown hair and colorful tats whose name I will get one of these days. I started with his recommendation of the Portugese sparkling rose.

For my first course, I ordered chopped favas with bacon and mint (pictured above). God bless the sous chef who shells the plethora of beans needed to make these on a nightly basis. He must be so thankful that favas are a relatively shortly seasoned item because shelling them is a tedious, exhausting job. I love fava beans but every time I purchase them, I curse them for the amount of prep work involved. One giant bag and an hour’s shelling yields barely enough for one serving. Some people consider lobster a luxury. I consider fava beans shelled by someone else a luxury.


For my main, I simply went with two of the cured meats – Coppa and chorizo. I followed the recommendation of the bartender, but I wasn’t in love with the Coppa. The fat to flesh ratio was high, and the fat was too soft and butter-like. Which I suppose actually sounds pretty good as I write it, but the texture was unappealing – too smooth and smushy. (Not to be confused with smushi.) The chorizo was great – firm and spicy, if a bit waxy. And the grilled fresh bread had a slightly smoky char to the crust providing a sharp balance to the rich meats.

I may have deviated from the waiter’s suggestion of the Portugese sparkling rose that I had with my first course and tried the sparkling rose from Veneto with the second course. It tasted like mild grape soda. So I sheepishly asked him if I could swap it for the Portugese one, asserting that I’d pay for it. He smirked and commented that the Venetian one “tasted like soda pop*, didn’t it?”, to which I wholeheartedly agreed. Within moments he replaced it with the drier Portugese one at no charge to me.

I think the sparkling wine went better with the charcuterie than a red would, particularly given the fattiness of the two I’d selected.  Very simply , the bubbles cut through fat.

I’m not going to be ashamed of my repeat visits to the Pig. I’m going own it proudly. The Pig is awesome.

*loving the Midwestern soda terminology

About Tiff719

Speak Your Mind