The Purple Pig: Adventurous Eats in Chicago, IL

Does eating roasted bone marrow, pig ears, pork belly, and squid sound exciting¬†to you?! Yes? No?? ūüė謆I wasn’t exactly too thrilled¬†to see all of those¬†items on a menu for a restaurant my coworker suggested. But, he had his heart set on trying it out and it had over 3,000 reviews on Yelp, so I figured why not… ¬†I can always just order a salad! ūüėČ

The Purple Pig Entrance

The location

Upon arriving¬†to the Purple Pig, the ambience completely sets the tone, and I started to get a little excited for what was ahead. ¬†The entrance to the restaurant is off an alleyway on an overhead street. ¬†If you are not familiar with Chicago, let me first explain. ¬†The downtown Chicago area is made up of a series of multilevel¬†streets. ¬†Very¬†similar in a sense to San Antonio. ¬†Now the history behind it I’m not very familiar with, but I do remember that they explained on a tour that during the boom of the city, when construction was on the rise, everything was very concentrated in one area, so what people started to do was to literally sell air space rights above the land. ¬†For example, lets say you owned a parcel of land, constitutional rights stated that not only did you own the land, but you also legally owned the airspace above your land as well. ¬†So what occurred was that people would purchase the air rights to your land and build buildings at a level above, basically establishing whole streets¬†built on top of another. ¬†This can be very confusing at times, especially when you are not familiar with a street and are looking for an address. ¬†Now circling back to the location of the Purple Pig, the entrance is located off of Magnificent Mile on an overhead pass of what would be considered an alleyway that looks down to¬†the street below. ¬†It is easy to miss if you are not looking for the restaurant. ¬†And even if you do notice the sign, because the building itself sits in the back of the alleyway, you wouldn’t be able to tell what it was. ¬†However, when you do find it, you will be pleasantly surprised. ¬†The restaurant is very small and makes great use of¬†communal seating. ¬†Inside, there is a wrap around bar which faces the open kitchen, so you can only imagine how loud everything can get. ¬†The night we went, the ambience was bustling. ¬†But from what I’ve heard, it’s supposed to be like that every night!

The Purple Pig Food Collage

THE FOOD

My coworker is a big time foodie, so I have to credit him for making the restaurant selection.  I have to say, I am very glad that we tried it.  The Purple Pig specializes in small shareable plates with an international influence.

“Located at 500 North Michigan Avenue, the restaurant offers cheese, swine and wine, among other standout dishes, showcasing the flavors of Italy, Greece and Spain.” – The Purple Pig

When ordering dishes, we opted to order one plate per person to share. ¬†Sharing in this style proved to be a little challenging as some dishes came in small portions than others and we were a rather large group. ¬†If you are considering doing the same, I would suggest that you order at least two plates of the smaller dishes to share; or try not to go hungry… but who wants to do that? ūüėú

Click on the photos below to get a more detailed description.  Enjoy!

Visit The Purple Pig in person at¬†500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611¬†or online¬†at¬†their website. ūüėė

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The Magic Parlour: An amazing evening at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, IL

What an amazing night. I’ve always had a fascination with magic growing up.¬† I loved doing cards tricks for the family and begged my mom for one of those magic boxes from the toy store.¬† Isn’t it every little kids dream to have magical powers?

While in Chicago, I found tickets for The Magic Parlour on HotTix (a site where you can purchase tickets for performance theaters in Chicago for half-off).¬† I wasn’t exactly looking for a magic show, but all of the reviews online looked good, so I decided to check it out.

Now, imagine being transported back in time – to an era of great opulence and art.¬† Entering the lobby of the Palmer House Hilton¬†gives you that feeling¬†with its¬†high ceilings and french art.¬† The¬†hotel was originally built in 1871 and is considered to¬† be the nation’s longest continually operating hotel.¬† One can only imagine the history and experiences that have occurred within those walls.

The Magic Parlour is located in a room on the third floor of the hotel.¬† When you first walk in, you check-in and collect your tickets with the host on the first floor.¬† The host then leads the entire group up to the room where the performance is held.¬† The show is very intimate.¬† I would say there were probably less than 30 people in our seating.¬† The magician, Dennis Watkins, is a third generation magician.¬† He explains his story, of how he got into magic, and why it’s his passion.¬† Most touching is a story he tells about his grandfather:

“He told me, ‘If you put someone inside of a box and cut them in half, people don’t believe it’s magic.¬† They think it’s a special box.¬† But if you can tear up their dollar bill and restore it right under their nose, or look into their mind and read their thoughts, or create any number of other miracles inches in front of their eyes, that is an experience they will never forget.’ ”¬† – Dennis Watkins (The Magic Parlour)

And that is exactly what Dennis Watkins does.¬† He takes you back to an era of classical magic, where there’s no lights and smoke, just magic.

I had a lovely experience that night.¬† The show is very interactive and he manages to get almost every audience member involved.¬† I left bewildered, but in a good way, contemplating how he performed many of those acts.¬† If you are ever in the Chicago area looking for something different¬†to do, stop by the Palmer House Hilton¬†and check out the show.¬† If you can’t get tickets or don’t want to see the show, at least you’ll be able to say that you visited one of the most historical buildings in the city.

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