Thursday, February 25, 2010

recent discoveries...

... that i of course cannot take credit for. now that i've put my resolution into motion (not to be confused with a new year's resolution. i don't make those. but since i've resolved to try as many new restaurants as possible in the coming months, i have no choice but to refer to that decision as a resolution.), i've been relying on my friends a lot to give me ideas and suggest new places to try in the city (interspersed of course with shamelessly inviting myself to come along on dates, reunion dinners, and so on). because i started my blog a couple months into my quest, i want to take this post to brag about two places i went to a few weeks ago and LOVED.

i tried out the purple pig on a friday night after work (and happy hour) after roommate invited me to come along with her and her other employed friends. as it turned out, their high school friend (and some others of these amazing chicago restaurants) is the enterprising culinary genius behind this place - not like it helped us get seated.
don't let this photograph fool you - i snapped it at midnight when we were closing the place down with post-dinner shots (thank you, roommate, for sneaking up on us with those). when i arrived at around 7 pm, the place was HOPPIN. every table and bar stool was taken; thankfully the bar was fully stocked. my friends and i took advantage of our happy hour buzzes and happily imbibed while we waited. let me tell you, it was worth it.
i didn't want to pull out my iphone every time a dish arrived, so this was the only photo i snapped of the damage we did. i really wish i had just sucked it up and gotten over my fear that "my dinner companions will be annoyed and/or think i'm creepy and weird if i take pictures of the food." fail. we tried 15 things off the menu. i counted. 15!! in our defense (and so you don't think we're complete gluttons), the purple pig serves only small [and affordable!!!] plates. the proprietors' greek and italian heritage obviously influenced the menu, which features cured meats, cheeses, smears of mortadella and pistachios, creamy bone marrow, octopus, fried smashed potatoes with tzatziki... i'm drooling. gotta stop. all in all, i was very happy with this place - great food, great wine, great environment, unique place: at the end of the meal, guests are provided with a sharpie and get to sign their wine bottle, which is then placed above the bar.

the following weekend (given that i couldn't eat the rest of my purple pig weekend, i was so full), two law school friends invited me to ja grill, a jamaican restaurant in lincoln park. i knew i would have a good time when i walked in and saw this:
since this post is getting a little long, i'll keep my newfound love for ja grill short and sweet:
food = amazing (altho i must warn you, the jerk chicken's spiciness factor is not for the faint of heart)
music = amazing (dj spinnin reggae and hip hop all night long)
drinks = amazing and delicious (minus the patron kiki sprung on us toward the end of the night. this is becoming something of a trend. ouch)
owner = amazing (considering we sat there drinking so long after finishing our meal that he sent over jerk chicken wings, which we proceeded to HOUSE even though we'd all eaten dinner)

two very successful experiences. i highly recommend both. and i'm inviting myself now.

anybody have any favorite restaurants they want to share? i'm always looking for new options!

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