Vacation in Chicago: The Food (Part 2)

Tuesday, August 28 -

I've been dying to share the food details of our trip to Chicago (read vacation part 1 here) and Adam gets all the credit for finding the amazing restaurants. He has a couple graduate school foodies friends who gave great recommendations and researching good eats is a strength of his. Since he usually does all the research it's fun to not know much about the restaurant, trust his judgement, and show up for a great meal.

Consulting his list of places to try:

The main attractions restaurants were The Purple Pig, Frontera Grill (had one of the best vegetarian meals ever), Girl and The Goat, and Lou Malnatis.

Restaurant: The Purple Pig

I admit I was skeptical of The Purple Pig at first and thought, because of the name, it would be a meat fest with boring vegetarian options. 

It turned out to be quite the opposite! I was impressed with the amount and diversity of vegetarian options on the menu. My dishes were unique and the flavors were incredible. My only critic is that the desserts were just OK.

Adam Ordered: Chorizo Stuffed Olives, Milk Braised Pork Shoulder, Bread Pudding
Debbie Ordered: Eggplant Parmeson Balls, Roasted Corn Antipasti, Sicilian Iris Fried Brioche
Shared: Tomato Bread (w/ garlic, olive oil, sea salt), wine (waiter recommended and I have no clue what it was!)

My Favorite Dish: The Roasted Corn Antipasti with mushrooms, walnuts, cheese, and fired rosemary.

Eggplant Parmeson Balls.
Sicilian Iris Fried Brioche

Restaurant: Frontera Grill

It's really hard to get a reservation at Frontera Grill and they recommend making diner reservations 6-8 weeks in advance. We definitely did not plan that far ahead and showed up couple minutes before they opened for lunch to wait in line (!!) to grab a table.

The guacamole is incredibly fresh and I had one of the best vegetarian dishes of my life here. The Fresh Corn Torta is out of this world and blew me away. It's tangy, a little bit spicy, and I ate every last bite.

Adam Ordered: Mole Trio
Debbie Ordered: Fresh Corn Torta
Shared: Frontera Guacamole, Mexican beers

My Favorite Dish: The Fresh Corn Torta with "silky roasted tomatillo-corn sauce, corn esquites, spicy chiles toreados, "shoots" salad, anejo cheese.

Fresh Corn Torta.

Restaurant: Girl and the Goat

The service, atmosphere, and food were all great at the Girl and the Goat. This is Adam's favorite restaurant from the trip and his pork was amazing. My food was creative and delicious.

Adam Ordered: Crisp Braised Pork Shank
Debbie Ordered: Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea Fritters
Shared: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread

My Favorite Dish: Chickpea Fritters with "caponata, green chickpeas, crave brother's mozzarella. 

Roasted Cauliflower.
Pork Shank.

Restaurant: Lou Malnatis

We almost skipped Lou Malnatis all together because the wait was extremely long. What started out as a disappointment turned into a delicious pizza experience. The appetizer mozzarella sticks were cold and bland and I accidentally pre-ordered the individual size pizzas (6 inch pizzas!) which looked sad and small when they arrived at our table.

As much as I wanted to not like Lou Malnatis, the deep dish pizza was delicious and worth the wait. It's filling and the individual sized pizzas turned out to be the perfect size to avoid being completely stuffed.

Adam Ordered: Malnati Chicago Classic
Debbie Ordered: Cheese Deep Dish Pizza
Shared: Mozzarella sticks (gross!)

My Favorite Dish: Deep dish cheese pizza.
Mozzarella Sticks.
Cheese Deep Dish Pizza.

We also squeezed in coffee at Intellgenista and LavAazza, some Garrett's popcorn, delicious sandwiches at Grahamwich, and breakfast at Bodega N5.

Then - something not on his list of research and a place we found completely by accident. The Tortas Frontera (by Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill) in the Chicago O'Hare airport! Although we literally ate all trip long we had to try it before catching our flight back to DC. It's by far the best airport food I've ever had.


Liz said... [Reply to comment]

Omg my foodie friend Aleks recommended the purple pig and the girl and the goat when I went to Chicago! I ended up going to the Hubbard inn with Matt tanner instead. It's good to know the purple pig has awesome non-pork items, I will have to keep that in mind next time I go.

DebaRooRoo said... [Reply to comment]

You have to go next time!! You will love them! :)

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