I’ve mentioned previously that we don’t go out to eat all that often anymore. It’s difficult to find restaurants with gluten free, paleo options that we trust. This weekend, though, we had an amazing dining experience at RPM Steak right here in Chicago. Winner, winner, grass fed meat dinner!
RPM Steak has been quite the hot spot since it opened last year. Co owners Bill and Guiliana Rancic have created a beautiful dining venue in the heart of River North that is attracting foodies, celebrities and even President Obama who dined there last October. If you want to get a table on a weekend, you can expect to wait months for a reservation. On a whim, I searched on open table Saturday afternoon. An 8:30pm table for 2 popped up – WHAT?! Before I knew it, we were dressed in our finest impromptu date night attire and an uber taxi was whisking us up Dearborn.
The restaurant itself is beautiful. It’s has an open concept, but the darker colors and wood tones keep it comfortable, yet swanky. If you’ve been to RPM Italian, it’s almost the inverse of their bright white, but just as sleek. They were running slightly behind, so we headed to the four-sided open bar. There are booths that flank three sides and people sitting and standing about 2 rows deep all around the bar. It was crowded, but does that matter when you’re there to be IN the scene? I didn’t think so. We ordered a glass each of the Sonoma County, CA Complicated Chardonnay to start. The bar area started to thin out a tiny bit when our table was ready around 9pm.
Find the Hidden Red Shoe – It’s Good Luck!
We sat down and were presented with the gluten free menus (which I requested in the reservation). There is really not that much difference with the regular menu as their gluten free menu is huge and impressive. We were then greeted by our AMAZING server, Chrissy (or Krissy? sorry!) who told us she is Celiac and we can rest assured that they take gluten free seriously. Chrissy then sent over one of their five sommeliers to help us navigate the extremely extensive wine list. Once that order of business was complete, we turned our attention back to the dinner menu. We decided on:
- Oysters: Sourced from the west coast – you get 6 for $18. These were some of the best oysters I’ve had. They come topped with a very light sort of ceviche relish that included jalapeno, cucumber, lemon and lime juice. I would go back and just order these with a glass of champs!
- Thick cut bacon: Chrissy told us this dish is life changing and she was right. It had a nice sweet maple glaze and in a way, it reminded me of french toast – it was that thick!
Apps from Heaven
- 20 oz. Grass Fed Bone in Ribeye (sourced from Slagel Farms): Even though there is a bone in it, this steak is HUGE! I thought Chuck would definitely be bringing some home, but he powered through and ate the whole thing. I had a bite and it was seasoned perfectly and very juicy. He also ordered the butter and bone marrow sauce to complement it.
- 8 oz. Grass Fed Bison Filet (sourced from High Plains): I expect bison to be leaner than other meats and it was, but was still full of flavor and tender. This was a generous, thick cut portion and as much as I wanted to finish it, I did have to give Chuck my last few bites (which he ate on top of his 20 oz. without a problem 🙂 )
- Hen of the Woods Mushrooms: You don’t often see these on a menu and they are Chuck’s favorite mushroom, so we had to get them. They had a delicious woody flavor, as you’d expect, and were just divine. The serving dish didn’t move far from Chuck’s setting and I had to strategically grab some while he was busy chewing.
- Roasted Cauliflower: Sounds boring, but it’s one of our staple, cruciferous vegetables. This was like no cauli I’ve had before. The roasted florets were very soft and came in a very light tomato type of sauce with lime. Sounds odd, but it worked really well.
RPM Steak hit it out of the park for us on all counts: food (with bonafide paleo options), service and ambience. It is also a bonus that it is part of the Lettuce Entertain You group of restaurants. We had some gift cards that we were able to use which softens the blow when the check comes. It is spendy, but it is worth checking out. Don’t forget to request Chrissy as your server – she is the best! Thank you RPM Steak for an awesome date night!
I am a huge advocate and follower of Dr. Terry Wahls. Her story of beating progressive MS using paleo principles and functional medicine is nothing short of amazing. I follow the Wahls Protocol and credit that for my MS recovery and maintenance. Of course I follow (actually, stalk) her every move on social media. A couple weeks ago on Facebook, Dr. Wahls posted about Chad Vaccarino from the band A Great Big World.* Chad had just told his story about how great he is doing following the Wahls Protocol since having been diagnosed with MS in 2007. Everyones story is unique and yet there are parallels among those of us on this healing journey. I thought Chad told his story so well, and I immediately felt connected with him. I looked up his band’s website and couldn’t believe they were playing a show, right here in Chicago that Friday night!* I bought tickets and let Chuck know that we were going. Then, I spent the next two days listening to their album, Is There Anybody Out There, during my work commute. I had heard their hit song “Say Something” before and always liked it.* It turns out the rest of their album is totally amazeballs, too. The music is really happy and upbeat. And the lyrics have a great message that I really connect with. By the time Friday night came around, I was so excited to see these guys perform! I was in touch with their band manager* who said Chad would be happy to meet up with me! So, we watched their awesome performance at House of Blues and then got to meet them backstage after the show! I must first mention that they are incredibly talented musicians and it was one of the most fun and energetic concerts I’ve been to. Chad and Ian both have amazing voices. Chad also plays a pink trumpet, Ian completely wails on the keyboard and the whole band wears really cool pants :-).
Nobody Rocks a Pink Trumpet Like Chad
When we got backstage, I introduced myself to Chad and we hugged like we had been friends forever. We traded stories, talked about how awesome Dr. Wahls is and how amazing it is that a lifestyle change is simply life-saving. We met Ian, who is an equally super-cool person. It’s easy to see why these guys are successful and are having so much fun. They are completely down to earth, sincere and inspiring people. I can’t thank Chad enough for inviting us backstage, taking the time to talk with me and sharing his story with the world. (shout out here to Gary their manager for coordinating all that!)
Chad and Rene
We can’t wait to see you guys again! Thanks for making us feel like rock stars and reminding us that we’re all connected in this Great Big World.
*You’ll notice I have asterisks throughout this blog. I have been reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and his theory is that when you are on your right path, living life simply but fully, without ego and with mindfulness, then coincidences happen. I couldn’t help but think about this through last week’s events. Oh yeah, be sure to check out Chad’s video below. It is inspirational and well worth a watch.
Those of you that know me know I’m a sucker for celebrity gossip. To Chuck’s dismay, I love shows like The Real Housewives and The Bachelor. I like to catch up on my Hollywood friends by perusing entertainment sites online during my daily train commutes. Today, I came across an article from Harley Pasternak: Is It Good to Go Gluten Free? http://greatideas.people.com/2014/05/28/gluten-free-diet-harley-pasternak/
I’ve got to say that this article totally pissed me off. Now, I get it…it’s a short blurb of an article and it’s probably not meant to elicit thought-provoking, intellectual scientific discussion. I’m sure they’ve got to keep things fairly superficial for our small, entertainment focused minds. There’s my problem. You don’t introduce a topic that is both controversial and important like this one, fill it with mis-information and then end it with a flimsy sentence saying: “But before we throw money after potentially unnecessary gluten-free alternatives, let’s let the scientific community investigate further!”
I want my fellow celebrity stalkers to know this is not good advice!! Don’t wait for that – there is a ton of information out there already. There are so many things I disagree with in this short, shallow article. But, I’ll just cut to the chase. One sentence in the article said: “Researchers found that the subjects reported worsening of their symptoms with all of the diets, including the gluten-free diets.” You can’t eat gluten one day and then not eat it the next day expecting symptoms to go away. You also have to address other items that can be working against you (toxins, sleep patterns and a host of others that are topics for another blog). The best way to test for gluten (or any other food sensitivity) is through an elimination diet. You have to eliminate the food from your diet COMPLETELY for at least 30 days (many people do longer) and then re-introduce it again to see if it causes any symptoms. I would highly recommend cutting out gluten and never re-introducing it, though, as I believe it is the worst. Why? Keep reading for my references…..I just have a few more quick thoughts to get off my chest first!
I’m not a doctor or the world’s most prominent gluten expert, but Harley isn’t either. I don’t have a famous television show to carry my message, but I do have this blog and I do have first-hand experience. I think it would be awesome if everyone gave up gluten (and a host of other terrible foods) and went Paleo. The results for me have been nothing short of exceptional. Yes, I had a compelling reason to try it out. But, many others (some of whom we’ve featured on this blog) have done it and haven’t looked back because the change in the way you feel is so great! Do I expect that everyone will live this way – no. Do I hate my friends that eat gluten – of course not. Do I want you to stop reading People magazine? Don’t be silly. Do I hope you try it out and get educated on the topic from some place other than entertainment mags? Totes Magotes!!
Here are some of my celebrities that I follow specifically addressing the topic of Gluten:
http://www.thepaleomom.com/2011/11/why-grains-are-bad.html (by the way, she IS a scientist!)
Of course, check out anything having to do with my personal hero, Dr. Terry Wahls: