Cheese, Swine + Wine

by Jenn (eating bender) on January 31, 2011

As promised, a review of Dralion is at the end of this post (hint: it was incredible). But first, I want to tell you about the most exciting events of the weekend.

On Saturday night, I saw Guster with my friend Lauren. They were amazing!

What, you can’t make out their faces? I blame the cell phone. :)

Then on Sunday evening, Bobby and I had an epic adventure in dining.


A few of Bobby’s co-workers have been raving about The Purple Pig. After receiving a gift certificate to dine there as one of our wedding presents, we knew they were serious. On Sunday, we bundled up and ventured down to Michigan Avenue for a late afternoon linner.

Upon entering the restaurant, we immediately understood the “cheese, swine and wine” sub-header. So, like any good customers would do, we immediately ordered a bottle of wine. It was the polite thing to do.

Chateau Lescalle. Smooth and slightly upcharged in the name of good taste.

When you look at the menu, it’s a bit overwhelming. There are so many small platters that we almost didn’t know where to start. But we came to eat (meat), so the Purple Pig Platter it was.

Imagine, if you will, a wooden pig that takes up almost half the length of a table. This is what they brought out for us! On the platter were assorted cured meats: Catalonian Fuet, Coppa, Testa, Sopressata, Lingua Agrodulce, Jamon Serrano and Prosciutto di Parma.

Alongside our meats, we also ordered three cheeses: Cabot Chedder, Podda and Gouda.

I proceeded to combine the meats and cheeses on slices of bread.

Each had its own unique salty flavor. The smaller, circular varieties tasted a lot like an upgraded salami, while the thinly sliced meats had more of a ham, prosciutto-esque taste that I definitely favored. As far as the cheeses go, I think you all can guess at the one I thought tasted best. (Hint: It’s one of my favorite puns because it’s just so good…a.) The chedder (interesting spelling, but that’s how it is on their site) was also tasty and the podda had a uniquely strong flavor that was best in smaller doses.

We also ordered a small bowl of marinated olives, which were delicious as always. I love olives. And salt.

But the highlight of the savory portion of our meal was one of the “Smears,” which was called Pork Neck Bone Gravy with Calabro Ricotta. Oh. My. Goodness. This was to-die for.

It was a very tomato base with a creamy ricotta accompaniment that, when “smeared” over toasted bread, made both of us exclaim, “Mmm.” Best recommendation we could have asked for and the highlight of our entire experience!

But we just couldn’t stop there. Though we successfully accomplished the “cheese, swine and wine” mission, dessert must also be served. It’s only fair.

Meet the Sicilian Iris. A ricotta and chocolate chip-filled fried brioche. In other words, pure sugar bliss.

This tasted like a mix of powdered sugar doughnut (a really, really good doughnut) and chocolate-vanilla glazed icing. Note to self: buy ricotta the next time you are at the grocery store. I had no idea it was so versatile on both the savory and sweet side of the menu!

We left The Purple Pig with full, happy bellies. Now we see why they have 2+ hour waits on weekends!


If the beginning of this post gave you any indication, Dralion was an absolute outstanding show and experience. I’ve been to three Cirque shows before this one and always leave with my mouth hanging open. This occasion was no different.

As with most other Cirque shows I’ve seen, they combine comic relief, outrageous circus stunts and talented singers and dancers for one knock-your-socks-off performance. It is absolutely worth the money (they have a variety of price ranges based on where you want to sit) and I definitely encourage you to check out their performance schedule to see if they are coming to a city near you.


Question: Do you use ricotta cheese in recipes? If so, share a link!

Clearly, I have a new found obsession. :)


1 annie January 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm

wow a meal with just bread, cheese, pig and wine?! totally jealous!

2 Lauren February 1, 2011 at 5:42 am

We saw Ka (a cirque show) in Vegas last year. Truly a memorable experience. Glad you enjoyed the show! :)

3 Erica February 1, 2011 at 6:08 am

LOVE guster! They are just awesome. And the restaurant looks so good! I want those cheeses and the “Smears”. Have you tried Sabrina’s ricotta fritters? They are AWESOME

4 carolinebee February 1, 2011 at 8:06 am

What a fabbbbb weekend!! Way to get it done 😀 Rememberrrr our amazing brunch date at this time last year!? We must repeat asap- maybe i can come on a weekend where there will NOT be a horrendous blizzard :/ GROSS….stay warm my love and we willllll make a date!!

5 Heather February 1, 2011 at 8:40 am

“Oh my God” literally just came out of my mouth at the thought of that dessert. Must make a trip up to visit the Purple Pig!!!!

ps…stay warm girl! this storm is going to be a doozy!!!

6 leashieloo February 1, 2011 at 9:31 am

I’m so envious of that dessert, it looks epic! And from the sounds of it, so does that Dralion show. I saw a Cirque show in Vegas and it was one of the most amazing things ever, it blows my mind how talented the performers are.

7 Tracey February 1, 2011 at 9:34 am

The husband and I went to The Purple Pig when they first opened. Although we did enjoy ourselves we weren’t blown away by the experience. Since our visit I’ve heard amazing reviews so I might just have to try it out again :)

8 Mara @ What's For Dinner? February 1, 2011 at 9:52 am

Ok, so a few things:
1) Dralion is really that good? Because, you know, I can pretty much walk to the theater it’s at :)
2) Now that you’ve been to Purple Pig, we HAVE to go to Old Town Social. Heck, once the snowpocalypse is over, i’ll take the train down and we can go.
Love you!

9 Megan February 1, 2011 at 10:16 am

Someone was JUST talking about the Purple Pig the other day! Now I’ll have to try it out. :) Glad you had fun at the show!

10 Jess February 1, 2011 at 10:21 am

Ah I love cirque, I’m jealous!

11 cbrady3 February 1, 2011 at 11:50 am

I have seen Guster a few times and love them!

Also, I’ve never been a huge cheese person but have heard ricotta is good in both sweet and savory dishes. That restaurant looks so neat!

12 Salah February 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm

mmmmm wine and cheese :-)

13 Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life February 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I would use riccota cheese in recipes, but haven’t in a while. All that bread, wine and cheese looks so delish!

14 Janey February 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm

MMMmmm. I love different hams, serrano is my favorite I think! And OMG that donut. Drooling.

15 Sarah (Sarah Learns) February 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm

ahh, i saw guster for my first concert ever!!! i love them. :)

and that restaurant looks AMAZING! i honestly can’t imagine a more enjoyable meal!

16 Sara (Miles and Manhattan) February 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm

My three favorite things. Literally :)

17 BroccoliHut February 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Mmm. Ricotta and chocolate is heavenly!
This isn’t really a recipe, but I like to sweeten up some pumpkin and plop it on top of ricotta with a few chocolate chips.

18 inmytummy February 1, 2011 at 9:27 pm

I’m going to see Guster on Friday. Did they play a lot of older stuff? I’m a big fan of their first three albums. There newer stuff is not as good, in my opinion.

19 inmytummy February 1, 2011 at 9:27 pm

* their *

20 Shannon February 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm

oh. my. god. that Sicilian Iris need to get. in. mah. belly. :) i can’t really think about anything else right now… lol

21 Jess February 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

i need that chocolate chip ricotta brioche asap!

22 CaSaundra February 3, 2011 at 7:35 am

Wow–sounds like an amazing dining experience to me!! Love the sounds of that dessert..maybe I can make something similar?! :-)

23 natalie (the sweets life) February 3, 2011 at 9:18 pm

we went to purple pig last summer and LOVED it…eating outside there is so fun! i can’t wait to go to back sometime!

ps. ricotta? i pulled these from my way old archives! :)

24 Emily February 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm

mm that brioche looks HEAVENLY! I tried to make chocolate brioche this weekend- so good!

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