It’s been a long time since I last met up with Ho Bag for some grubbin’. After all these years, she’s still one of the funnest people to hang out with. Now that she’s become quite the foodie, we can really bond. As sad as it is to say, you simply cannot be my friend if you do not like to eat. It’s just that plain and simple. Fortunately, there isn’t a line of people trying to be friends with me, so I ain’t breakin’ any hearts here with my “foodie only” friend policy.
Anyways, after many meals with Dumpling Man, I decided to break apart for the evening. Not because I got sick of his ugly mug but because he chose to eat at some chain sushi/roll place with his buddies that I knew would totally NOT be good. The exact words that came to mind were “generic and average.” So it was just me on a hot date with Ho Bag. How could the night get any better??
Purple Pig, like Publican, had a huge menu including cured meats, cheeses, smears, antipasti, larger entrees. I wished dearly that there were more people in our party to try more food because EVERYTHING looked amazing. The upside of being a small party was that it was probably easier to get seated. This damn place does NOT take reservations, a true tragedy because the wait can easily be an hour. Lucky for us it was maybe 40 minutes? It went by quite fast because we were just sipping some wine and catching up on the good ole days.
If there is just ONE thing I could change about Dumpling Man, it’s that he loved charcuterie as much as I did. I never get to eat this stuff because it’s just too much to enjoy alone. Anyways, lucky for me Ho Bag loves this stuff. We almost went so far as to order the charcuterie platter/sampler but our better judgement kicked in and we had just 2 selections from the cured meats section.
Lingua Agrodolce (right)
For the life of me, I cannot remember what the other cured meat was. The bartender recommended the lingua, or tongue, but I preferred our other selection, whatever that may be. The tongue was very tender, but had a slight organ meat aftertaste. I believe it was also cured with vinegar or sugar? because it had a subtle tart sweetness. Overall, both were delicious.
Charred Cauliflower toasted breadcrumbs, cornichons, parsley
Our choice from the “antipasti” part of the menu was wonderful. Who said meat is the only thing that tastes better with a bit of char? A bit of char on the cauliflower really deepened the flavor. It was tossed the cornichons and brightened with parsley. Really tasty combination of ingredients.
Pork Liver Pate
This had to be my favorite dish of the night. I fell in love with the deep umami potted porkiness. Ho Bag and I were seriously slopping up ever last schmear of this stuff. Although my memories of the night are fogged up by the bottle of wine I shared that night, I do remember expounding upon the deliciousness of this choice back and forth, over and over with Ho Bag.
Scallop Spiedini chickpea aioli
Scallops seem like a must have when I go out nowadays. It rarely seems to disappoint so maybe that’s why I order it again and again. The chickpea aioli was creamy and a bit thicker than most aiolis. Droooooool is all I gots to say.
Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes
It was time for round 2 so we went big with the pork shoulder. It was so tender and juicy and just slathered in a soulful tomato sauce atop a bed of mashed potatoes. Yum!
Shaved Brussels Sprouts pecorino noce, parmigano reggiano
This was probably the only disappointment of the night. The brussels sprouts were a bit too raw and the cheese was pretty sharp and strong. All together it just missed the mark.
Panino con Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread, marshmallow cream, bananas
It was strange biting into a panini and having nutty chocolate, sweet cream, and fruity bananas ooze out from every end. It was definitely original and tasty. I thought the bread could have been buttered up a bit more to make it luscious.
Sicilian Iris ricotta and chocolate filled brioche
This was donut like and filled with chocolate, but I suppose a bit more bready and airy. I can’t really remember which dessert I liked better. By this time, the wine had REALLY kicked in.
Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the company, but in the end, I really fell in love with The Purple Pig. Like The Publican, the food was real, hearty, and simple. Both places offer so many choices for a wide variety of palates. If you don’t like the food here, then your palate frankly sucks. I need to go back and try this place again, with Ho Bag, with Dumpling Man, with anyone. I don’t care who eats with me, cuz I just need to a chance to be in heaven again.
500 N. Michigan Ave, #130
Chicago, IL 60611