Food & Wine

The Purple Pig: Dining in Chicago

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Among the many Chicago restaurants recommended, the Purple Pig was suggested by the most people so we were excited to try it. Its tagline of Cheese, Swine, & Wine couldn’t have been more perfect for us.

The Purple Pig Restaurant, Chicago, IL

Situated on N. Michigan and Illinois St right next to the Conrad, I was impressed at it’s great outdoor seating area. But we’d arrived at 5:30 and it was packed, so we decided to try for first-come-first serve seating at the squished bar area. We eventually snag a seat and leaf through the 10+ pages of wine options.

We decide on an affordable NV Gran Sarao Cava “Brut Rose” sparkling and turned next to the food options. It was tough narrowing it down, but we eventually settled on:

Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette (my favorite). The pistachios were the standout in this dish (which we were so excited to get we forgot to photograph until it was too late). I like beets, but never dreamed I’d be fighting with Jeanne over who got the last bites of beet! The Purple Pig Chicago Salt-Roasted Beets

Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes

The Purple Pig, Chicago, Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes

Incredibly tender and flavorful. It was almost like the mash potatoes had been infused into the exterior of the pork rather than being a side.

Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese (when the Eggplant Parmesean Bread Balls weren’t available)

The Purple Pig, Chicago, Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese

We picked this one after watching them make various dishes behind the bar and it tasted just as good as it looked!

The highlight to the evening, other than the food, was experience with a fellow diner. Jeanne had spotted him waiting for a chair behind us and identified him as a well-known author/screenwriter for a famous relationship-based TV series. And as was to be expected, she also caught him eavesdropping on our conversation about our personal lives and relationships with a rather smug “I’m the expert on sizing them up” expression. To which we appropriately responded by completely misleading him down random paths with subsequent remarks and were rewarded with a truly confused look on his face. Hah!

In the hour and a half we were there (on a Saturday night in summer) it looked like the best time to go was sometime 6-7. It was busy at 5:30, cleared out a bit around 6 and then picked back up at 7PM. I also recommend doing research on European wine regions before you go, or asking for help from the sommelier. They have a great selection of bottles from Serbia, Greece, and other lesser known wine-producing regions, but the prices are such that you don’t want to be disappointed by what you get.  Either way, you won’t be disappointed by the food at the Purple Pig.


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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