I checked out a few great places to eat while in Chicago for an extra-long weekend – here a couple of my favorites new finds.

FF: The Purple Pig

My first stop while waiting for my traveling companions to arrive in town by train, was The Purple Pig. I had seen stories and reviews of this place and had it on top of my list to try – heck, you have to love a place that has a whole list of cheeses and cured meats to choose from – and I was not disappointed.

About The Purple Pig:

“Since opening in 2009, under the leadership of Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig has received numerous accolades, including being named one of 2010’s ‘10 Best New Restaurants in America’ by Bon Appétitmagazine; and a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand recipient since 2011. Dubbed the ‘Prince of Pork’ by Dana Cowin (former Food and Wine Editor-in-Chief); Jimmy Jr. brings his love for Mediterranean food to the Windy City in fun, inventive ways – at this rustic sharable plate restaurant, conveniently located on the Magnificent Mile. Located at 500 North Michigan Avenue, the restaurant offers cheese, swine and wine, among other standout dishes, showcasing the flavors of Italy, Greece and Spain.”

I have been to Chicago many times since this place opened and I was sad that I had not found it until now – but I will be back. I went for a casual lunch, which was nice, but I plan to do a more formal dinner on a future trip.

Try the hummus – served with a soft-boiled egg and house-made pita – the perfect companion to a cheese and meat platter.

The Purple Pig is located at 500 North Michigan Avenue – the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

FF: Il Porcellino

Once my traveling companions arrived and we enjoyed a cruise on the Chicago River, we settled in for a nice dinner at Il Porcellino. This was the perfect place to relax and enjoy each other’s company on the first night of our long Chicago weekend. The setting is fresh and lively with great décor and stunning lighting. And oh yeah, the food – Italian favorites with a modern twist – was great too.

About Il Porcellino:

“Il Porcellino, located in the heart of River North in downtown Chicago, is a neighborhood restaurant offering classic Italian-American comfort food in a casual setting. Our seasonal menu focuses on housemade pastas, vegetable antipasti and daily specials, all crafted with ingredients sourced from quality artisans, purveyors and local farmers. The fun and approachable wine program encourages sharing with selections from southern and central Italy.”

Il Porcellino is located at 59 W. Hubbard St. in the great city of Chicago, IL USA.