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My Chicago Favorites: Dinner at Purple Pig - 5 jujus

One of the perks of working downtown is that one is always close to Purple Pig. D. and I wanted to grab dinner and decided to go to Purple Pig. Usually, going to PP requires some planning, except if you arrive at 11.30am right when it opens or if it’s the day of the Superbowl. Surprisingly, the wait was only 45 minutes - it was 7pm. 

Purple Pig is one of the most iconic restaurants in Chicago. They have cheese and charcuterie and wine, but I go for the small plates (you know, I always feel like there is no point in going to a restaurant to eat something you could eat at home). The cuisine is American/Mediterranean, with an emphasis on butter and/or olive oil. It’s not particularly light. But it is delicious. And affordable. 

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I started with an Italian named cocktail, Il Saggio. Cocktails are a relatively recent addition to their menu and it was my first time trying one there. I wasn’t disappointed. It was lemony and sweet with a hint of sage, and amaro and gin. 

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Our first dish was the burrata, with kale pesto, and some fruit on top. While I had their burrata before, it was with different accompaniments. The burrata was excellent as usual, but I thought the fruit and the burrata combination was off. I have had their burrata with cherries in the past, and it was great. But not this one. 3.5 jujus for this dish, though usually the burrata is a 5 jujus. 

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D. wanted to get the Greek cornbread with honey. Despite loving all the ingredients and the flavors, I thought it was too heavy. 3.5/4 jujus

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Then came the fried brussels sprouts. You know that terrible veggie that you always hated as a kid. So let me tell you something, if one takes the leaves individually, fries them and add lemon juice, the result is pretty much divine. And you can feel good because you are eating veggies! They are light, flavorful and crispy. 5 jujus. 

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D. wanted some meat and we hesitated between the two Wagyu options, which are both relatively new. Our waiter helped us decide for the short ribs, as long as we didn’t care the fattiness. It was indeed fatty, but like foie gras is fatty. That’s the point. The meat was tender and would melt in one’s mouth. It was Wagyu heaven. 5 jujus. 

imageSame as with cocktails, PP recently decided to stock up on their dessert menu. Yes, the lemon panna cotta was always great, but it was pretty much the only option that I liked. They recently had a tiramisu and have had this new Olive oil cake, served with olive oil ice cream, grapefruit and candied kalamata olives. The ratio ice cream to cake was perfect, the cake was moist and the olives/grapefruit duo was great in terms of complementary flavors. 5 jujus.

All in all, despite the burrata and cornbread disappointment, it was a 5 juju experience for the food  and the (many, unpictured) drinks. And a very fun and cool dinner with D. 

More info: http://thepurplepigchicago.com/

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