Chicago is well known as one of the best food towns in the world, so I was quite excited when my friend Andy asked me if I wanted to join him for dinner.
He called my cell phone about 5:30 p.m. and told me to meet him at The Purple Pig at 6:30.
I didn't really think about what kind of food that was until we walked up to the entrance and there was a sign that said "Cheese, Wine & Swine."
Swine? I turned to Andy and reminded him that I was now eating vegan. He said not to worry, they had some fantastic vegetable dishes.
Turns out The Purple Pig is the "place to be seen” in Chicago and is also a top destination for celebrity chefs. As a matter of fact, Susan Feniger walked in while we were eating and since I have met her before I introduced myself.
While the other folks at our table tasted some magnificent cheeses and sliced meats, I enjoyed luscious grilled green onions, sauteed cauliflower, green beans and fresh raw corn. The vegetables were flavorful and colorful and I couldn't resist the grilled bread that was made without eggs.
At no time did I feel hungry or as if I was missing anything!
Because Andy lives in Chicago, he frequents The Purple Pig, and so near the end of our dinner he went to get the chef, Jimmy Bannes, Jr. I told Jimmy how much I enjoyed his restaurant even though I am vegan. It didn't seem to faze him that I didn’t enjoy his pork centered menu.
I found the most enjoyable part of going out to dinner is the people around the table. My friends all got to enjoy the amazing food, and I got to enjoy and still feel satisfied.
With that being said, one of the other people who joined us for dinner was Vern, who is a former chef and now an herb grower. Vern, Andy and I traveled to Berlin, Germany, a few years ago for a food show. I admit that I lamented a bit when we started to reminisce about our culinary journey during our trip.
Sometimes it is hard to be a vegan in a world filled with animal products at every turn. Nevertheless, I felt good as I left the restaurant.
I had a great evening with some longtime friends and a few glasses of wine at an awesome venue.
And now, on to New York City to move my youngest daughter to college!