When I Am Old, I Will Eat at The Purple Pig

The book, When I am Old, I Shall Wear Purple, came to mind when planning a birthday lunch with a friend.  The poem that inspired this anthology encourages you to say “Who cares? Just do it”.  It’s always good to have a friend who will go to lunch at the drop of a hat. You just need one friend that says, “Sure! Sounds fun.”


Located just south of Nordstrom’s on Michigan Avenue, The Purple Pig seemed like the perfect place for a birthday lunch.  Not only have I heard fabulous things about the food, but when I read the menu it made me want to be brave and wear purple.

The greatest thing about walking from the train, into the wind both ways, is seeing things along the way.  The Wrigley Building is doing a remodel and this old old brick is exposed.  UmExcuse me, your brick is showing.  When I see old things like this I can’t help thinking about the people who touched it, built it, blistered from it, never dreaming that we would be preserving it in 2012.


Ignore the glare from the protective glass that is keeping a person like me, who just might, would definitely, go up and touch this old brick.  Just a few short steps north of this is The Purple Pig.  It is a cozy place that does not take reservations.  They don’t need to.  People love it enough to wait.  They have added an outside dining area to accommodate more diners, but that will go away for the winter on December 1st as the city ordinance states. (No restaurant is allowed to have outside dining in the winter.)


Even the seating is unique inside.  Of course you can sit at regular tables or the bar, but also at the Chef’s Counter, or at European style tables which are big farmhouse style tables seated elbow to elbow with others.  We chose the Chef’s counter.  I think it is fun to sit in the thick of business, watching professionals doing their thing.


The menu is really hip.  SO much so that we had to ask A LOT of questions.  “What is this?”  “What is that?”  But our server never wavered.   She was very patient and seemed used to answering these simple requests. (She had no idea we were trying to be purple.)  What I was most surprised by was that even though the restaurant is centered around pork, I could have EASILY eaten only vegetarian.  The appetizers and sides are amazing.  Like this one…


…Salt Roasted Beets with whipped Goat Cheese and Pistachios.  We died.  Or this…


…a seasonal Roasted Butternut Squash with Pumpkin Seeds and shaved Ricotta and crispy Sage.  Reincarnation is possible because we died again.

By the time we arrived at the Milk Braised Pork Shoulder and Mashed Potatoes, we were giddy.  Now, there are limits to how purple we were willing to get.  On the menu there is Pork Tripe, Pig Tails, Pig’s Ears, etc. and the server did say we would be very surprised at their deliciousness.   If you are not a fan of pork, there are many creative gourmet dishes of fish and chicken and turkey. None are basic.  All are beautifully bravely “purple”.


One more birthday down.

One more year under the belt.

One more delicious restaurant visited.

Be Brave.  Try something new.  Go. Do. Be.  Wear purple.

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit.

 You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.  
    ~ When I am Old, I Shall Wear Purple    By Jenny Joseph

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