RPM Italian – Chicago, IL

Not going to lie, I’ve been a huge fan of Giuliana and Bill Rancic for a while now, so ever since they opened RPM Italian in Chicago I’ve been dying to go.  What a beautiful cool and modern space!  The place was packed and rightly so, the food is incredible!  The fact that I’m still thinking about what I ate says a lot.

The stand outs for me were the toast with homemade ricotta and marinara, the artichokes, the spicy king crab pasta (this is the dish I’ll be dreaming of until I go back again) and the budino.  Everything was stunning and packed with flavor.  You can tell a lot of love goes into this food.  Let’s also not forget to mention the staff who were so fun and full of personality.  Our server truly enchanted our evening.

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Fresh Homemade Ricotta – Ciabatta Toast

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Roman-Style Artichokes – Lemon Aioli

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Burrata Stuffed Squash Blossoms – Homemade Marinara

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RPM Caesar Wedge – White Anchovy

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Spicy King Crab – Squid Ink Spaghetti, Fresno Chili

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Pappardelle Bolognese – Hand-Cut Pasta, Short Rib Ragu

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Braised Duck Agnolotti – Black Mission Figs

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Whole Grilled Branzino – Mediterranean Sea Bass, Oregano, Capers

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Bill’s Chocolate Budino – Salted Caramel, Cocoa Nibs

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Bomboloni – Cooked-to-order Italian Brioche Donuts with Nutella and Vanilla Sugar

Sushi Kashiba – Seattle, WA

I had the pleasure of eating here on my birthday this year…what a treat! This is Chef Shiro Kashiba’s new sushi venture located next to Pike Place Market where the old Campagne used to be.

If you don’t know anything about Chef Shiro, let me give you a quick little breakdown.  Before starting his own restaurants in Seattle, Shiro spent many years working alongside his sushi mentor Jiro Ono (of Jiro Dreams of Sushi), who many consider to be the world’s greatest sushi chef.  He eventually made his way to America, convinced that in the Pacific Northwest he could keep the integrity of the way sushi is made in Tokyo.  He was right!  Fast forward to today – he has opened four restaurants, Sushi Kashiba being the only one he owns today, and has been nominated for the James Beard Award twice.

My husband and I decided to go with the “omakase” menu – chef’s choice sushi dinner.  Overall it was enough food, not too much, not too little.  Everything was outstanding!

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Saint Helens – Seattle, WA

Saint Helens is exactly what the North Seattle neighborhoods have needed for a long time. Located right off the Burke Gilman Trail on NE 45th, it’s the perfect location for all the surrounding neighborhood folk to meet.  Whether by bike or car, stop on by anytime of the day.  Summer days and nights will be perfectly spent on the outdoor patio area fit with a fire pit to keep you toasty at night.

Open morning to night, you can stop in for the most perfect coffee and pastry (the scones are to die for), tartine sandwiches, or linger at dinner with some wine and cocktails.  The patio/deck is the perfect summer hangout!

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Workshop Kitchen + Bar – Palm Springs, CA

One of my favorites in Palm Springs!  This time I was with a group of girlfriends and we sat outside which was so lovely (hence the dark photos sorry).  Because there was a good group of us, we were able to order a lot of plates to share.

Not pictured was the Valrhona Flourless Chocolate Terrine with salted peanut butter ice cream and housemade marshmallow – do I even need to say how good it was?

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Crispy Local Goat Cheese, braised lentils, glazed beet, scallion

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Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Temecula farms avocado honey, avocado oil, black garlic, county line farm baby mustard greens

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Wood-Fired Pizza – daily special

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts, red currants, rising c ranch pomelo pipits, cabernet vinegar, pumpkin seed oil, pecorino romano

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Marinated Baby Market Beets, local arugula, weiser farms carrot, harry’s strawberries, dill créme fraiche, grilled rye

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Market Veggie Enchiladas, poblano roasted peppers, spaghetti squash, kale, grilled tomatillo sauce, cotija cheese, topped with a fried egg

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Grilled Organic Jidori Chicken Diabolo, spicy mustard rub, sage red quinoa, rapini with garlic

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Local Goat Cheesecake, ha’s pear compote

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The Wandering Goose – Seattle, WA

Why don’t I go here more often?!  This place is ridiculously good.  I was in the mood for a biscuit sandwich this time which didn’t disappoint.  I added homemade sausage to it and ate every crumb on my plate.  I’ve had their Little Gem Salad with fried chicken in the past and that was equally as scrumptious just not as breakfast savory.  Don’t hold back here – let yourself be tempted by the gorgeous cakes and treats – just don’t count your calories.  You’ll want to try them all!

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The Easy – egg & cheese biscuit sandwich with sausage added

Cheeky’s – Palm Springs, CA

I’ve heard people rave about this place for a long time now but haven’t been to the desert in quite some time.  I recently stayed in old Palm Springs and made a point to go here on my way out of town.  I think no matter what time of day there’s always going to be a wait so don’t expect to walk right in.  Especially since they don’t take reservations.  They have a lovely deck area where you can sit and enjoy a nice coffee or drink while you’re waiting though.

I had the hardest time deciding what to order.  I honestly I think I could have closed my eyes and pointed to anything and I would have been pleased.  Our waitress pointed out that the top portion of the menu were the weekly specials whereas the bottom half were the items that never rotate.  That definitely helped me narrow it down.  I finally decided on the Thai chili roasted pork over steamed rice topped with fried eggs and sesame.  When do you ever see that on a menu?  My girlfriend ordered the french toast with blackberry, honey mascarpone and black pepper so I felt better knowing I could have a bite of hers.  Both were excellent and couldn’t have been more different.  Mine savory, spicy and hearty, hers sweet with the most perfect balance thanks to the black pepper on top.  Let me also not forget to mention the tots with homemade ranch.  Who could say no to those?!  DE-licious!!!  I can’t wait to go back.

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Thai chili roasted pork over steamed rice, fried eggs and sesame

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French toast with blackberry, honey mascarpone, black pepper

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Tots with homemade ranch

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The Bazaar – Miami Beach, FL

The Bazaar in Beverly Hills is one of my favorite restaurants so when I found out there was one in the SLS South Beach, I immediately picked up the phone and made a reservation.  And the fact that the only time slot I could get was 10pm didn’t phase me…well worth it!

The setting is very different from the CA location.  Whereas the one in Beverly Hills is dark and museum-like, this one consists of one large airy room, draped in white.  Very beachy, dramatic and elegant.

The menu is quite different as well – it showcases the local seafood as well as Cuban, Latin and even Singaporean influences.  They haven’t forgotten to include favorites from the CA.  We stuffed ourselves silly and didn’t regret one bite.  This place is a must!

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Caviar Cone – ossetra caviar, capers, eggs, onion, créme fraiche

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Not Your Everyday Caprese – cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella

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Kueh Pai Ti – Singapore’s favorite street food – shrimp, peanuts, chili sauce

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Yellowtail Hamachi – olive oil yogurt, grapes, radish, crispy rice

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Empanadillas de Bacalao – salt cod, honey

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Sautéed Shrimp – garlic, parsley, spicy tomato sauce, lemon, guindilla pepper

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“Cubano” in Honor of Café Versailles

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Black Rossejat – paella-style pasta, squid ink, shrimp, aioli

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Cuban Coffee Roasted Churrasco – passion fruit

 

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