Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chicago (Part 2) - Pork Love

Dear Chicago,
I want to thank you sincerely for helping me rediscover a long lost love - pork. Here I've been just eating boring chops and shoulders and ribs when I could've been seeing the magic in pork belly.

Love,
This little piggy

This little piggy loves herself some little piggies. And for whatever reason whenever I saw it on a menu in Chicago, it was a must-order-situation. Here's the scoop on my favorite pig-out places:

Urbanbelly

I didn't even mean to want a pork dish here. All I wanted was a massive bowl of ramen and maybe some dumplings to go with our BYO. (Yes, Chicago has a ton of BYO spots and get one million cool points for this.) But then, like a beacon in the night (or on the specials board) was the slow roasted pork with kimchi and cilantro. Spicy broth, crispy kimchi, and tender, delicious pork. Perfect meal for the windy city.

The Publican

I can't stop smiling when I think about this place. I get it. Or is it that they get me? Either way, it's magic, baby, and I want more. Owned by the genius team behind Avec, Blackbird and The Violet Hour, this pig palace really knew how to reignite my pork lovin' flame.

I started with the spicy pork rinds. Note: do not expect that mouth-injuring substance you see in plastic bags near the checkout at the beer store. This was the real deal. Freshly fried, crispy, more crackly than Pop Rocks, all sprinkled with a spicy powder that you can't help licking off your finger tips later.


For my hangover cure brunch, I went with the pork roll sandwich. I obviously had to have something from their infamous charcuterie and their rendition of pork roll accompanied by a fried egg (what's not made better when topped with a runny egg?!), caramelized onions, provolone and sweet pickles, did not disappoint.

Chicago, this little piggy will be back in June. And now she knows what she's looking for ;)

Urbanbelly
3053 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
773-583-0500

The Publican
837 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
312-733-9555