Thursday, November 22, 2012

GIRL & THE GOAT


Stephanie Izard may be best known as the winner of Top Chef season four and the only female chef declared champion in the show's history but Chicago natives are lucky enough to know her a little more intimately as the executive chef at Girl & The Goat, her self-described "rustic and bad ass" restaurant in the city's West Loop. While we definitely agree that this craft beer slinging beast of a restaurant is surprisingly well characterized by the adage "bad ass", rustic perhaps not-so-much. We're not sure why we had anticipated the restaurant to be considerably smaller than it turned out to be, but the term large fails to convey the colossal stature of this thunderous dining room. A small army of cooks in an open kitchen that lines the entire back wall of the restaurant crank out small dishes that pack a big punch for what must be easily more than 200 eager diners; some like us, holding long-standing reservations, others last-minute drifters and spontaneous eaters happy to wait in a staggeringly long line for one of the tables the house sets aside for walk-ins every night.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

THE PURPLE PIG


The result of a collaboration between well known Chicago chefs and restauranteurs, Tony Mantuano, Scott Harris and Jimmy Banos Jr. & Sr, The Purple Pig opened its doors in 2010 to a hero's welcome, including being named amongst the year's top ten best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit Magazine. Located on Michigan Avenue in the heart of Chicago's "Magnificent Mile" The Purple Pig is a pseudo-Italian inspired restaurant and wine bar with an emphasis on cured meats, cheese and everything pig, hence the slogan that adorns the gate at the entrance and the header on the menus: "Cheese, Swine & Wine". The restaurant is on a little bit of an elevated catwalk overlooking Illinois street where the lineup can be lengthy since reservations aren't accepted. Not to worry though, a cocktail or a glass of wine isn't only allowed while you wait on the metal benches out front - it's encouraged!