Begging for Bread at Purple Pig

Begging for Bread at Purple Pig

What a scene! Who knew so many people went out for weekday lunch in this city (and what am I doing wrong in my life that I don’t eat lunch out more often)? When I arrived at Purple Pig, which does not take reservations, I was told the wait would be 30 minutes for a table of two, or that I could be immediately sat at a table outside. Even though it was a chilly day, I would not have minded eating outside – the covered porch was abundantly full of warming heater lamps – but since I had arrived early before my friend (note: arriving early was a major feat for me…my sense of time is not one of my better qualities), I opted to put my name on the list and wait for inside seating. 8 minutes later I was seated. Inside. And at a great, non-communal table. Score! Perhaps I should be early more often.

Let’s not be ridiculous.

While I saw many an interesting colossally sized turkey leg (think Medieval Times) and hanger steaks being carried by waiters to other tables, I was worried I would be unable to work after such a heavy dish and opted for a lighter lunch. To start, my friend and I split the whipped feta and cucumber smear. The convo with the waitress went something like this.

Me: What is the smear served with?
Waitress: Bread.
Me: What kind of bread?
Waitress: A French bread we source from a local bakery.
Me: Okay.

French bread = white bread, which is not ideal – a fibrous whole wheat or at least multi-grain is a better choice – but I figured I’d just have a nibble. Besides, the feta would probably taste better with a white bread. When the dish arrived, however, I noticed the bread looked greasy. I waited several minutes for our waitress to check in on us, and when she didn’t stop by, I waved down the waiter serving the table next to us.

Me: Is it possible to just get plain bread?
Waiter: What?
Me: Is it possible to just have bread without anything on it?
Waiter (with annoyance in voice): There’s no butter on that. Just olive oil.
Me: Oh, okay (so clearly you’re not going to get bread for me).

Feta and Cucumber Smear
Feta and Cucumber Smear

I tried the bread. It may have been olive oil, but it was drowning in it. Not good. It took away from the airiness of the feta and crunch of the diced cucumbers. This was supposed to be a light, springtime dish. And, to me, it certainly wasn’t splurge worthy. This bread was simply not going to fly. After several more minutes, I finally found our waitress.

Me: Is it possible to just get plain bread?
Waitress: What?
Me: Is it possible to just have bread without anything on it?
Waitress (clearly annoyed): Sure.

Nearly five minutes later, our waitress arrived with our bread. (Chime in angel voices singing hallelujah here). I was annoyed it took so long for me to get something as simple as plain white bread, but the waitress had had it toasted, which definitely made it better with the smear, so I give her props for that.

For lunch, I had the salt-roasted beets with whipped goat cheese and pistachio vinaigrette. While it was good, I’m not as head-over-heels for it as some other reviewers who have posted about the dish. Yes, I love me some beets. And yes, I think goat cheese and pistachios go spectacularly with beets. That’s why I ordered the dish. But it wasn’t anything out of this world creative or remarkable. Probably my fault for ordering such a safe dish.

Try Purple Pig at 500 N. Michigan Ave.

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