|Scallop spiedini with chickpea aioli from The Purple Pig|
Yes, it would be nice to eat at the finest restaurant in the country. But I certainly wouldn't be left starving in the abundant Windy City.
First stop, Crisp, my all time favorite Korean fried chicken joint. Since my sister Nadine introduced it to the family a few years ago (and changed my life), it's developed a famous following. But the fare still satisfies. The sticky, sesame flecked BBQ chicken (kicked up with a side of sriracha mayo) manages to set your mouth on fire and leave you begging for more. The mild ginger-soy Seoul Sassy is another fine coating for the bird. Sauces are all homemade.
|World's greatest Korean fried chicken wings from Crisp|
My beautifully pan roasted striped bass made up for the out-of-place 'chicken and waffles' amuse bouche. Afterwards, checked out the Wit's Roof bar for a nightcap and spectacular skyline view.
Lunch at Miller's Pub, a Chicago institution since 1935, is a slice of tasty nostalgia. Under the gaze of hundreds of famous folks framed on the walls, I wolfed down a classic Reuben sandwich that had a civilized ratio of meat to bread, not some mile high gut buster I'm used to seeing back home.
|Sensational Armenian meze at Sayat Nova|
It would have been nice to sample the runaway hit Girl and the Goat, but even visiting at 10 pm yielded an hour and a half wait. The food did look as gorgeous as the crowd. And I got a sweet smile from chef Stephanie Izard as we walked away reservationless. Sniff sniff.
|Juicy pork blade steak with nduja and honey|
Fortunately, The Purple Pig was the final stop on the culinary field trip, and ended it with a bang.
A Bon Appetit top 10 winner in 2010, this bustling small plate eatery delivered its promise of cheese, wine and swine. The pork blade steak was juicy and succulent and served over a slice of nduja, a spreadable spicy pork salami from Calabria. The pork liver pate was robust. The seared scallops in chickpea aioli were equally delicious. Only the potato and speck croquettes were bland and forgettable.
|Fresh baked savory pies|
|Middle Eastern delicacies|
Thanks, Chi-town. You never disappoint.
Alinea, 1723 North Halsted
Cibo Matto, 201 North State St.
Crisp, 2940 North Broadway
Girl and the Goat, 809 West Randolph St.
Middle East Bakery and Grocery, 1512 West Foster Ave.
The Purple Pig, 500 North Michigan Ave.