Tuesday, May 31

Pump Room

The Pump Room, located inside the PUBLIC Chicago hotel is one spot I have always wanted to try, but somehow it managed to escape me. The space formerly housed the original Pump Room in the former Ambassador East hotel (where my parents were married!), which was quite the celebrity hot spot back in the day. The restaurant, along with the hotel, was revamped and re-opened in 2011. The new food concept was created by world-renowned chef and 2011 James Beard award winner Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and is executed by Executive Chef Ross Mendoza. Original Pump Room menu classics were reinvented and recreated by Jean-Georges. The Pump Room now serves breakfast, dinner, weekend brunch, and a post-work/happy hour menu.

I stopped by with the BF for a weeknight dinner to try some items off the new Spring menu. If you haven't been to the Pump Room, you've probably seen images of its iconic dining room and light fixtures. It's a modern and beautiful setting that changes as the sun goes down.

Pump Room Chicago
Pump Room Dining Room Before Sunset
Pump Room Chicago
Pump Room Dining Room After Sunset
We enjoyed six wonderful courses that were as delicious as they were beautiful. The first was by far a favorite, ramp crostini with Montchevre Farms goat cheese, and black pepper. There were luscious layers of bright green ramp butter slathered on top of the bread, combined with pickled ramps and chunks of goat cheese. Each bite was deliciously creamy and flavorful.

Pump Room Chicago
Ramp Crostini with Montchevre Farms Goat Cheese and Black Pepper
The second course was another table favorite: sweet pea soup with Parmesan foam, and sourdough croutons. The brightness of the peas was beautiful, but the real star of the dish was the Parmesan foam which was more of a fondue than a light foam. That Parmesan would have even the pickiest eaters devouring their veggies. The soup was rich, yet bright, and fresh.

Pump Room Chicago
Sweet Pea Soup with Parmesan Foam and Sourdough Croutons
Our third course was homemade tagliatelle pasta with spring peas, and basil-pistachio pesto. The dish was plated with the pesto on the bottom, so we gave it a quick toss to ensure each pasta ribbon was adequately coated. The result was a perfect al dente bite with crisp spring veggies, and the nuttiness of the pistachios and shaved Parmesan on top. I could have eaten every last bite, but I had to save room for the rest of the dinner.

Pump Room Chicago
Fresh Tagliatelle Pasta, Spring Peas, and Basil-Pistachio Pesto
Next up was the roasted cod with sweet chili-garlic sauce, crunchy potatoes, and more spring vegetables. The meaty cod filet had a crisp exterior, and a nice flaky interior. The fish was very mild but didn't have a ton of seasoning in my opinion. The sauce had a nice orange hue, but also could have benefited from more flavor. The crispy potatoes were tasty though, and complemented the dish.

Pump Room Chicago
Roasted Cod, Sweet-Chili Garlic Sauce, Crunchy Potatoes, and Spring Vegetables
Our last course before dessert was the caramelized filet mignon with more spring vegetables (I'm pretty sure we ate an acre of spring vegetables that night and I'm not complaining!), salsa verde, and lime. The steak was a perfect medium with a delicate outer sear and juicy middle. I loved the salsa verde and lime which added a nice acidic contrast to the rich meat.

Pump Room Chicago
Caramelized Filet Mignon, Early Spring Vegetables, Salsa Verde, and Lime 
Last, but not least, we enjoyed creme brûlée with lemon sorbet and lemon zest. It was perfection and had a great balance between sweet and tart. A sweet ending to a lovely meal for sure.

Pump Room Chicago
Creme Brûlée
I was very impressed with our experience at Pump Room. From the moment you enter the dining room, you feel like you're somewhere special. The place exudes elegance, without being overly stuffy or pretentious. I loved nearly everything we had, and the way our food was plated. Our service was excellent as well. I highly recommend a meal at Pump Room if you're looking for a special occasion spot without the special occasion stuffiness.

Note: my meal at Pump Room was complimentary; however, all opinions expressed are my own.

Pump Room
1301 North State Parkway
Chicago, IL 60610
Pump Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Thursday, May 19

The Ghost Guest Turns 6!

Happy 6th Birthday, The Ghost Guest!
Today, May 19th is a VERY special day. Today marks 6 years (SIX!) since I wrote my very first blog post on The Ghost Guest. That's right, The Ghost Guest is celebrating its 6th anniversary today! I feel like I just wrote my first blog post a year or so ago. That first post was not even a restaurant review. It was actually a recipe post about a dinner the BF made me. Yes, that BF.

I'd like to think that my food photography and writing skills have come a LONG way since that first post. I've learned a lot in the past 6 years. From optimal lighting and food staging skills, to SEO, and learning how to master Instagram and Snapchat (both of which did not even exist in 2010!).

It's been an amazing journey throughout these six years and I wouldn't trade this delicious hobby for anything else. I love the Chicago food scene and the sense of community it provides. I've been fortunate enough to share my passion for food and restaurants with so many others and it has been incredibly rewarding.

I'm so thankful for the support I've received from family, friends, restaurants, brands, public relations and media companies, and even complete strangers. A special thank you goes out to those who have supported this little blog of mine from the very beginning, and fellow diners who patiently waited while I photographed my food :) You are my true foodie heroes.

And lastly, a HUGE thank you to pastry chef extraordinaire, Sherrie Tan of Sweet Mandy B's, for creating the most adorable Ghost Guest cake and cupcakes in celebration of this amazing day.

Chicago Food Blog
Happy 6th Birthday, The Ghost Guest!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for reading and for your continued support! I can't wait to keep those reviews coming!

Amanda (aka The Ghost Guest)
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