Restaurant Review: The Purple Pig, Chicago, IL

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I promised food photos from our long weekend in Chicago, and today is the first restaurant feature.  We traveled to Chicago with a food-focused itinerary, including the 3 Michelin star rated Alinea (stay tuned for that review).  One of our first stops was lunch at the Purple Pig, a Mediterranean themed restaurant and wine bar located on Michigan Avenue on the Magnificent Mile.  The Purple Pig is a collaboration of four great Chicago chefs: Jimmy Bannos and Jimmy Bannos Jr. from Heaven on Seven, Scott Harris from Mia Francesca, and Tony Mantuano from Spiaggia.  Jimmy Bannos Jr. won the James Beard Rising Star Chef award in 2013, the first-ever tie with Washington State chef Blaine Wetzel of Willow's Lodge.  The Purple Pig stays true to its name with a pork-centric menu, but there are plenty of options to satisfy all diners.  We had such a great lunch on Thursday morning that we went back a second time on Sunday, and the below photos are from both meals combined.  The Purple Pig opens at 11:30am and does not take reservations, so plan accordingly.  We arrived just after 11:30am both times and had no trouble getting a table, but by the time we left there was a bit of a wait.  Please read on for photos and details of the dishes we enjoyed during our lunches at the Purple Pig.

Turkey leg rilette with cranberry mostarda and rustic bread - a seasonal special that nailed the Thanksgiving flavors.

Olive oil poached tuna "nicoise" with soft poached quail eggs, potatoes, haricot vert, onions, and cherry tomatoes.  This is a dish that I convinced the group to order, and it ended up being one of my favorites.

Salt & vinegar beef tendon chips.  These impressed us because you didn't have the dipping sauce that you normally would get with this type of dish, instead each bite was already perfectly seasoned!  We ordered this dish both times.

One of the Purple Pig's signature dishes: crispy pig's ear with kale, pickled cherry peppers, and a fried egg.  We also ordered this dish both times.

Fois gras and membrillo (a sweet, thick sweet, jelly made of quince fruit), another dish we repeated.

Fried Sardines with shaved fennel and lemon vinaigrette.

"JLT" with pork jowl, tomato, frisee & fried duck egg.  This dish was one of the favorites!

Pork Tripe "Ala Parmigiana" with pork skin breadcrumbs.  I don't normally like tripe, but this dish was well-seasoned and tasted better than I expected.

House made Veal Mortadella Sausage with black kale, fresh chickpeas & preserved cherry tomatoes.

Proscuitto stuffed squid with squid ink hummus: another one of the favorite, repeated dishes.  I liked that this dish was fairly unique - not something that I've had before or seen on menus.

Pork Secreto with roasted red pepper, leeks & pickled watermelon rind.  The pork was cooked medium rare and had such great flavor.

"Torta Mandoria:" soft almond cake with vanilla marscapone, lemon semolina crisp, and grape gele.

Chocolate torte with raspberry glace.

"Loukoumades:" greek style donuts drenched in honey.

Lemon Panna Cotta with Lemon Marmellata & Candied Pistachios.

Are you hungry yet?  I sure am.  I hope you enjoyed these photos from our meals at the Purple Pig, and that you consider stopping by the next time you are in Chicago.  This restaurant is definitely worth a visit - I know I will be back the next time I am in the Windy City.  Thank you for visiting my blog today, be sure to enter my giveaway for a chance to win one of two $50 gift certificates to Conversation Pieces Boutique!

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