This is the last of my Chicago trip recap posts! I can’t believe it took me half a year to get through everything, haha. Today’s post is on our second meal in the Windy City, at the famous Purple Pig, located on the Magnificent Mile.
We had a group of six so we could share a variety of items. The food is American, with Spanish influence. Since the restaurant’s name was Purple Pig, we decided to focus on their pork items.
The blood sausage was from their selection of cured meats. Although the pieces are small, it was packed with flavor.
Another item from their “cured meats” section – I got really excited because lardo is, well, basically cured lard. I’ve had this once before at Beretta in San Francisco, and it was an absolute melt-in-your-mouth delight. Unfortunately, the lardo here was not as impressive – the pieces were cut too thick and didn’t have the melty, smooth mouthfeel that I had expected.
The bone marrow here was one of the “must-try” items according to reviewers, although some of my friends who have visited here previously weren’t a fan. I absolutely loved it – the bone marrow was rich and silky, and the portion was quite generous. It was served with sea salt, and a mix of herbs, pickled onions, and capers, all of which balanced out the richness of the marrow.
I’ve never had fried pig’s ear before – only the Chinese-style marinated kind, so this was quite new to me. One of my friends didn’t like this as much because the pig ears lost their characteristic “chewiness”. My favorite part of this dish, though, was probably the crispy kale, haha. There’s something about deep fried kale that I really enjoy.
Being in the Midwest in the summertime means that, at least for me, I’m eating corn at every meal. This was so, so good – the corn and tomatoes were really sweet and fresh, and I loved the flavor of the pesto. Thinking of this dish makes me wish that summer were here, already.
The pork jowl was really nicely cooked, and I loved the pairing of the sweet summer tomato and duck egg (and I normally don’t like runny egg yolks). I was sad that we had to divide this mini sandwich into six portions!
“Secreto” – Spanish for secret – is a cut of pork underneath the fat of the pork belly. I’ve never had it anywhere else, and it was delicious. It wasn’t as outright fatty as pork belly, but was so tender and flavorful. Definitely my favorite item of the night.
I thought I would like the braised pork shoulder the most, but this was a bit drier than the secreto (unsurprisingly). It was still quite good, though, and the sauce and mashed potatoes were quite hearty.
Overall, I really enjoyed my meal at Purple Pig. Most of the dishes that we had were really impressive, and while it was crowded, the atmosphere was lively, and the servers were quite attentive. I can definitely see why this restaurant is so popular, and I would definitely recommend it for those visiting Chicago!
The Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611