As a person with a deep passion for food, it is not surprising that I develop serious crushes on food and restaurants from time to time. The reason I call it a crush is because when I was a teenager and had a crush on someone, I constantly thought of that person and I always wanted to be close to him even if he didn’t know I was there. That’s exactly how I feel about A Pig in a Fur Coat. I talk about it all the time. Dream about their food and I go there more often than I go to any other restaurant. It’s just that Pig in a Fur Coat is such an inviting place; of course I go there for the food but I also love the ambiance. It is a welcoming and hip place that you can’t help but want to be a part of.
I am not writing this post to review Pig’s food plate by plate, I mean, they have been featured in dozens of local magazines & newspapers, as well as other national sources including Bon Appetite and The Cooking Channel. If you want to know what the real food critics say about Pig, I will include some links at the end of this post. I am not a food critic, I am a food lover and all I want to tell you is why I love A Pig in a Fur Coat.
It is a small and cozy restaurant located on Willy St. with a nice and sassy décor that goes from fancy chandeliers to wooden community tables with very fitting and personal wall pictures. Let’s just say that it’s a place where you can dine fancy style food in a very casual way. That’s right, you don’t need to wear your fancy clothes to fit in but if you do that’s OK too. Now the food is definitely dressed up in the best attire possible. Anything that you order will arrive with a beautiful presentation, I love that! I stare at my food for a while before I take the first bite (and most times snap a picture too), because as my grandma used to say, you eat with your eyes first. So let’s move on to the taste of that beautiful food. The flavors that make me return again and again. The first thing that comes to mind with the first bite is that the food is consciously prepared, using the freshest ingredients and bringing them together in the most simple yet exquisite way.
The menu is short and simple, you can either go with small plates, usually my choice because I love sharing my food; or have the big plates as a sharable or personal meal. The ingredients and some items in the menu change with the season. I have tried to taste everything on the menu and anytime there is a new dish, I try it too! 🙂 All the dishes have left a lasting impression with me, making it so hard to pick a favorite. I love the duck egg ravioli, such a seductive dish, with rich flavors and a silky texture. If you dine in the spring it may be served with morels but in the fall it could be served with butternut squash instead, I love it either way. Another favorite of mine is the lamb carpaccio topped with an egg yolk, a simple way to make a few ingredients on the plate taste like heaven. The latest version of octopus is a great combination of flavors, perfectly cooked served over a buttery potato and the cilantro sauce is simply amazing! The octopus is the one small dish I do not share!!! The duck fat fries are my husband’s favorite and the chorizo stuffed dates with a piquillo pepper sauce are a must-have appetizer for me. My favorite dessert is definitely the panna cotta, a perfect creamy Italian custard topped with crunchy nuts, it is a real treat!
What do I drink when I visit A Pig in a Fur Coat? I am a wine lover with a soft spot for Spanish wines. Pig has a very nice selection of wines and I always find a favorite on the list, whether it’s the Rias Baixes Albariño, the Rivera del Duero Tempranillo or the Montsant Rose, I always go for wine. They also have a great list of craft beers and recently added a new bar that looks great serving a mix of unique cocktails.
The most refreshing part of dining at one of my favorite restaurants in town is to see the owners running their business with passion and care, it’s palpable. Bonnie is there to welcome diners with a smile, making them feel at home. Who doesn’t want to return to a place that treats you as if you were a special guest every single time? Chef Bonanno is there smiling, in and out of the kitchen as he brings out the big plates to your table, making small conversation with the diners and again making you feel welcome and special. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and they are always happy. There is something to be said about the humble ways they run their business that makes the restaurant a success. They are even known to interact with their guests on Twitter, if you’re into that sort of thing like I am!
I’ve had Chef Bonanno’s food at other venues and settings, like the Yum Yum Fest, The MACN week and the Willy St. Fair and it always comes out on top for me. The way he treats the ingredients along with his simplicity translates into beautiful, flavorful and thoughtful dishes. I always come home dreaming about his food and so there it is: my confession to a long lasting crush on “A Pig in a Fur Coat”
To learn more about A Pig in a Fur Coat check out the links below:
Visit their website
Find some recipes by Chef Bonanno in the Cooking Channel
Article – The Journal Time
Article – Isthmus
Review – Wisconsin State Journal
Review – 77 Square
Video – NBC 15 – Madison Originals
Video – Chef Talk with Kyle Cherek