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Late Nite Adobo

Typing out thoughts on a website… when the cravings hit you in the late nite…

Tag Archives: Chicago

116 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654

Talking about your favorite soup is like talking about politics; there are no winners. Heated debates on pho, bun bo hue, Taiwanese beef noodle soup, sinigang, Mom’s chicken noodle soup (i.e., Campbell’s), etc. can go on for days and days. Nevertheless, with chilly weather on the horizon, it’s time to lower your chopsticks from combat position, sit down with your favorite bowl of whatever soup you love, and get slurping!

I’m embarrassed to say that my experience with ramen is mostly of the instant variety. Maruchan, Ichiban, Top Ramen – along with Optimus Prime and He-Man – were allies in my childhood battle against brisk weather. The one real bowl of ramen I had was from Mr. Ramen in L.A., and the only thing I remember was the pressure of trying to get an ear-piercingly loud slurp going because that’s what I saw on TV. And most other ramen places that I’ve come across have had crazy long waits that made quick Pho stops a more attractive alternative.

Fast-forward to a rainy, cold day in Chicago, which led me to The Slurping Turtle – Chef Yagihashi Takashi’s take on Japanese comfort food, and purveyor of ramen. Could this be fate?

Tan Tan

Tan Tan Ramen (Fall in love all over again)

With my limited experience, I’m not sure what constitutes a good bowl of ramen. Generally, if food is tasty and pleasing to my senses (or any extraordinary spidey/umami senses I may have), it’s good to me. The ramen must have fit that criteria, since I finished the whole bowl in record time. I had the Tan Tan Men Ramen, and the Tonkotsu.

The Tan Tan was just a’ight. It wasn’t too spicy, and the flavors were really subtle compared to the salty, rich broth of the Tonkotsu. Each were good on their own merits, but I prefer the heartier, stick-to-your-ribs Tonkotsu. The only thing I “ragret” is not getting a poached egg…on account of my pro-eggy stance on life…

Tonkotsu

Tonkotsu (Uh-huh)

I’m gonna take the easy way out and say that I crave certain soups at different times. A gigantic bowl of BBH or pho hits the spot when I have an equally gigantic hangover. On the other hand, a warm, loving bowl of arroz caldo at my parent’s house has a soft spot in my heart feels. While my curiosity has come up a little late, my obsession for trying more and more authentic ramen is rising quickly. I won’t rest until I’m slurping at a bare minimum 12th grade level. Get your ear plugs ready!

So as I raise my soup spoon in battle-ready mode, I ask you the reader: What’s your favorite soup to combat the chilly weather?

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The Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave,
Chicago, IL 60611

Not since Purple Rain has a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue garnered so much of my lavishing attention. Enter Chicago’s The Purple Pig. After deciding to skip out on plans for a $300 fancy dinner at a restaurant that will remain anonymous, a trek out into the concrete wilderness lead me to this restaurant for late night eats.

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Wha-uh-oh. Uh-oh-oh. Uh-oh-oh.

Crispy Pig Ear Salad: Crispy pig ears, crispy kale, and a fried egg on top. This dish is beer drinking food at its finest, and qualifies as “healthy” due to the inclusion of a leafy super-food, even if it’s deep-fried. My only gripe was that I wanted more egg yolk to cut through the teensy bit of over-saltiness. Heavy beer consumption is highly recommended!

 

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JLT (Jowls, Lettuce, and Tomato…oh my…): The Purple Pig’s take on a classic BLT. Holy shit, call me late to the party, but pig jowls are the new pork belly! It has a caramelized bacony taste that’s salty, sweet, and highly addictive. The gigantic sunny-side-up duck egg on top made me want to frame the dish and hang it on a wall as a gorgeous piece of art. This was a tasty dish with balanced flavors and a nice contrast of crunchy, chewy, and creamy textures.

 

Milk-braised Pork Shoulder: Pot roast’s melt-in-your-mouth second cousin. The pork shoulder was fork-tender, flavorful, and paired well with the accompanying mashed potatoes. It was like Sunday supper at grandma’s house, sans the frilly doilies.

 

Not-so-naughty tentacles

Not-so-naughty tentacles

Grilled Octopus: Hey wait a minute, there are no pork products involved?! Truly truly truly outrageous! This dish was a simple, delicious plate of food. The octopus was flawlessly cooked, so the texture was just the right amount of chewy with a nice smoky char on the outside of each tentacle. Steve Zissou would be proud!

Until I can open up a restaurant specializing in putting fried eggs on top of everything, which I would call — wait for it — If You Like It Then You Should’ve Put an Egg on It, this place will have to do. With it’s moderate pricing, generous portions, and fun atmosphere, I’d go back to The Purple Pig in a heartbeat – be it an irregular or normal heartbeat.

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