Since our daughter was doing a rotation in Chicago for work, my husband and I took the opportunity to visit her as well as the city for the first time. My daughter knows me well and is a bit of a foodie herself. She did an excellent job planning a long weekend packed with “touristy” stuff and a sampling of the fantastic restaurants Chicago is famous for. As with all my blog posts, this will pertain to the culinary portion of our visit!
We arrived just before lunch so after a short walk along the river we found ourselves at our first restaurant….the Purple Pig. The subtitle on the menu is “Cheese, Swine and Wine”. I felt obligated try all three. One of my picks was the picture you see above. I was given instructions with this dish…slather the marrow on freshly baked bread, sprinkle with sea salt and top with herb salad. I followed the instructions to a tee and was rewarded with a taste like no other. A few of the other dishes we tried were Chorizo Stuffed Olives, Pigs Ear with Krispy Kale topped with a Fried Egg and Pork Secreto with Roasted Pepper, Leeks and Pickled Watermelon Rind. My first meal in Chicago was better than great!
Next up was a glass of Bubbly at Signature Lounge which was only ninety-six stories up…definitely a tourist trap but well worth the surprisingly short elevator ride to experience that view!
Dinner that night was at GT Fish and Oyster. Again, delicious food with my favorite being the Squash Blossom with Crab, Zucchini and Mozzarella. I also totally loved the Halibut Romesco with grilled peaches and scallions.
My daughter and I had girl-time the next morning with breakfast at Xoco (a Rick Bayless place). We shared a Chorizo-Egg Torta and a wonderful Churro with Pistachio Glaze. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but my daughter will attest to the Chocolate Cappuccino being excellent.
Lunch was at Eataly, a place which more sophisticated foodies than I will say is a bit touristy. Well call me a Country Bumpkin…I thought it was great! My lunch was Seared Chicken Thighs with Sundried Tomato Bread Salad of Kohlrabi, peppers, green onion and tomato vinaigrette. The Thighs were about as tender and juicy as I’ve ever had outside my own home. If you’ve never been, Eataly is like a Foodie Amusement Park. You can shop, get food to go, dine amidst the butcher, the baker and fish monger or go to one of the sit down restaurants. What’s really appealing is you can take your glass of wine or beer with you throughout the two-story establishment. I could’ve stayed for hours but eventually we had to leave to get ready for the ball game at Wrigley field….my chosen destination for a Chicago Hot Dog (oh, and the Cubs were playing the Nats). Chicago Hot Dogs Rock!
Brunch on Sunday was at Siena Tavern which resulted in another great meal. I ate light as I knew what was coming up for dinner that evening (spoiler alert-Beef), but couldn’t have been more satisfied with my Shrimp-topped Salad of Roasted Red, Yellow and Candied Striped Beets with Pickled Fennel, Toasted Hazelnuts, Creamy Nocetto (a sheep milk cheese)and pea shoots.
After a full day of seeing the sights we arrived at our dinner destination which was Bavettes Bar and Boeuf. A Classic Rib Eye-Chicago was shared with my daughter. We had them put maître d’butter on top…yum. The side dish I found most impressive was Elote style corn with chili, lime and parmesan.
I’ve just scratched the surface of the fantastic food we had while in Chi-town. I love being with my family and others who love to share food and sample a large variety. Chicago truly is a great city and while it’s not keeping with the title of my blog I just have to mention how beautifully the city is kept. The city and park gardens are in pristine condition. Some even have herbs and vegetables growing in them. I can’t wait to visit again.