Just like always, Chicago was a fast, fun, whirlwind of a weekend. We crammed as much as possible into the past four days, and my body sure is feeling it now. I may be exhausted, my legs may be sore, and my feet feel achy, but it is virtually impossible to focus on the negative. We shopped, explored, ate, and walked to our hearts’ content. I loved spending the whole time with my husband and it was such a nice getaway from reality, being the first ‘vacation’ since our wedding back in October. We of course did some family things, but we also spent a lot of time on our own checking out the city by foot, tram, and car.
Thursday we checked into our hotel and then headed straight downtown after getting ready. We had reservations at a very special restaurant that I had been dying to try.
For those of you who are fans of Giuliana and Bill Rancic, you may recognize RPM as their new restaurant in downtown Chicago. I absolutely love Giuliana and have been addicted to E! News for years. After her reality show started, I found that I loved her even more. She is smart, successful, has a great sense of humor, and her relationship with Bill reminds me a lot of mine and Tim’s. They are playful with each other, support one another, and are obviously very much in love. The struggles she has faced, and seeing how her husband has been by her side, makes me pray that Tim and I will have a marriage that strong as well. As far as I can see, they are definitely role models for love.
If you want to visit this restaurant, I suggest making reservations at least a couple weeks ahead of time. We made our reservation a week ago, and the only time the whole weekend we could get in was at 4 pm on Thursday. The only other option was 11:50 pm, but sleeping with my face in a plate did not sound fun to me, so an early dinner it was.
RPM has a sleek, almost night club like decor, filled with furniture and accessories in blacks and whites. The straight lines throughout the restaurant added to the modern/futuristic theme, but the menu also contained timeless Italian offerings like homemade pasta, Pomodoro sauce, meatballs, and Caesar salad. From the second you walk-in, the restaurant screams date night, or girls night, whatever’s on the agenda for the evening.
Going into the dinner, there were already a few things on the menu I had my eye on, but the rest were a toss up and we went with whatever sounded good at the time.
I started with one of RPM’s Cocktails, the Classic Bellini, made with White Peach and Prosecco. It was bubbly, fresh, and served in a champagne glass, which made the dinner feel extra special.
The menu is separated into different categories, which includes small plates, shared plates, and individual entree style dinners. We decided to split a few things and each get our own dinner as well.
From the Cicchetti, or small bites, section we ordered the Fried Olives, stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Sausage. They were amazing and began as an afterthought, but finished as one of the standouts during the course of the night. The olives had great flavor, but were not overpowering when combined with the mild mozzarella and light breading. The sausage was there, but also did not stand out on its own. All of the textures and tastes paired perfectly with one another, and when combined made for one awesome snack-like course. I would love to recreate these in my own home as an appetizer or garnish.
We also split a Warm Bread, which was Semolina Toast served with Fresh Homemade Ricotta and also a small dish of the Pomodoro sauce on the side. I have had Ricotta cheese before, but never any like the kind served at RPM. A piece of toast, smeared with a generous portion of ricotta and a dollop of sauce made for the perfect bite.
Giuliana’s Italian Salad was a menu item I knew I would be ordering before we even stepped foot into the restaurant, strictly because its her namesake. The salad was easy to split between two, or even three people. It was lightly dressed in a vinaigrette and included things like romaine, tomatoes, thinly sliced Italian meat, Italian peppers, and fresh grated cheese.
If you have watched Giuliana and Bill’s reality show, you’ve had to heard of Mama DePandi and her famous sauce. This was the other dish I knew I wanted to try, Mama DePandi’s Bucatini Pomodoro with fresh Basil.
This may be the first time I have ever had fresh pasta, and now I don’t know how I will go back to the dried, boxed kind. One thing I noticed was how filling the fresh pasta is. The portions weren’t large, and even as delicious as the meal was, I could barely finish half before throwing in the towel. As you can imagine, I began feeling pretty full at this point. So full, that I was ready and willing to pass on dessert.
However, when your husband is gently hinting that he wants something sweet, who am I to tell him no?
And who am I not to help by eating a couple bites? Tim picked the Tartufo, which was Hazelnut Gelato and Chocolate Shell, with tiny bits of hazelnut throughout.
I am not a big chocolate ice cream fan, (I actually prefer vanilla!), but this was pretty good and I enjoyed my share and then let Tim finish off the rest. It was a nice ending to a great meal.
The one downfall? Not getting to see Giuliana! I know the chance she would be there was about 1%, but hey, a girl can dream right?! Even without celebrity spotting, I would definitely recommend RPM for a great meal, super nice and attentive staff, and the opportunity to try an up-and-coming restaurant in the heart of Chicago.
After dinner, there was nothing I wanted to do more than go walking, and that we did.
Considering we were finished with dinner at 5:30, we took advantage of the stores still being open, and then the sun setting in the city.
At this point, we had been up since 6 am, drove a quarter of the day, walked for hours, and took a 40 minute tram ride to downtown. We were ready to head back and get some much needed, vacation-style sleep.
Are you a fan of Giuliana Rancic? Who else is obsessed with E! News?
Have you ever ate at RPM? What celebrity restaurant are you dying to visit?
Have you ever ate fresh pasta? What did you think?