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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Left Side of the Menu!

Monday, November 21, 2011 @ 07:11 AM

075Days just seem to be flying by since Kherington was born. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week…I mean where has this fall gone?  I tell ya, having a baby changes your life in so many ways, the biggest being how my life now revolves around this tiny human, which I love, but man I can’t tell you where all the hours go most days.  Sometimes I don’t even know what day it is! I’m open 24 hours baby!

And speaking of 24 hours, there is a diner our old city of Chicago that that is open to its adoring patrons all the time too! The White Palace Grill, a famous diner known to many Chicagoans located on the south side of city has been cooking up their extensive menu since 1939; and while many other restaurants and businesses surrounding it have come and gone, its popularity among locals, visitors, and celebrities alike have allowed it to stay in business for over 70 years.  I’m sure many of you have even passed by it a few times, seen its iconic sign, and not even realized how much of a big deal it is.  I know for a fact that Adam and I used to pass it almost daily on our way to and from his office, but never decided to stop on in.  Once again, this was one of those joints we had to come back to experience on one of our many weekend visits into the city; and it just so happened this was the perfect spot to catch a great breakfast on our way out of town Valentine’s Day weekend last year. 

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We found out about the White Palace through an old episode of The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” It seemed like the perfect place to get a good breakfast and was located perfectly on our way out of town.  When you watch the clip, you realize why that good ol’ greasy breakfast diner food was exactly what we wanted…

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbjx_4hvyiY

 

Sure, it looks pretty standard, but what trust me…this place is for sure doing it right; and we knew they must be legit when we pulled up and noticed the line of people practically out the door waiting for a table.  I mean, White Palace isn’t huge, but it isn’t tiny either, so it’s a good sign with the amount of diners scattered throughout the city that patrons will wait for a specific one.  So we jumped in line.

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This morning, a stack of pancakes was all that would do and maybe a side of sausage since I like to eat the two together. Plus, a little breakfast protein staying power is always good.  Adam perused the menu for awhile, not entirely sure what sounded good, until he settled on the corned beef hash, a waffle, and ham with scrambled eggs.  Might sound random, but it was what he wanted, and he is always on the lookout for the perfect hash. Can we say eyes bigger than tummy…

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Our food arrived quickly and we dug right in. The pancakes were spot on…, light, fluffy, buttery, with just a hint of sweetness, you almost didn’t need maple syrup. Coupled with bites of ham (I decided against the sausage when Adam ordered the left side of the menu and said I could share), I was in pure breakfast heaven.  Adam could not say enough great things about his hash. He has had some bad batches from some diners, so when he finds one he likes, he is always excited.  I tried a bite just to say I did…and to be honest…it tasted like dog food to me.  But then again, I always think hash tastes that way, so I’m not sure I would know a good one if I tried it.  He said the waffle was just ok…, pretty boring, but agreed my pancakes were perfect.  And the ham…, also very good, great flavor and not overcooked, exactly how you would want a nice slab of breakfast ham to be. 

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That morning, this was exactly the sort of meal I was craving. It was simple and delicious and hit the spot!  While we both love places that try new twists on old favorites or are maybe a bit more gourmet and fancy, sometimes you just want a great rendition of what you already know and love.  The White Palace Grill certainly lived up to its expectations and I would for sure visit again.

SIGNATURE DISH: Like most other diners, the signature aspect of White Palace Grill is that they do it all! They boast a VERY extensive menu with just about every classic dish you can think of.

TASTE: The dishes we ordered weren’t really anything out of the ordinary, but they were pretty good; and although not everything was the best ever, we really liked the pancakes, ham and hash. However, it’s breakfast, which is usually the most basic of tastes…so you’ll have to check it out for yourself. One thing I will say, though, it that is tasted very fresh and home-made.

AMBIANCE: The décor isn’t anything fancy, rather just your classic booths, tables, bar seating that any other diner might have.  The bar is pretty fun in that you can see all the cooking going on.  Back where we sat was a really cool mural featuring all sorts of famous Chicagoans from Michael Jordan to Oprah.  Overall, it is just a fun atmosphere in an up and coming neighborhood.

PRICE: Their prices are slightly steeper than many other diners I have been to, however, I wasn’t shocked by the prices being that we were in the city.  While I might typically pay $5 or less for a stack of pancakes around here, they were more like $6.50 there; and their omelets and other similar dishes are more like $7.50.  So while maybe a bit more expensive for breakfast, not outrageous and the portions were huge so we still took some home.

SERVICE: Our waitress was very spunky, took our order and got our food to us quickly…always a must for a diner.  And while I wouldn’t say unfriendly, she was definitely a no nonsense kind of girl.  That being said, she was also trying to deal with a rather large party in our section who seemed to have a lot going on and making her job not easy, so I attribute maybe a slight ‘tude to that, because she was perfectly nice to us when we asked if we could get her e-mail to send this post.

Overall, The White Palace Grill rounded out a very lovely Valentine’s Day weekend in the city and was worth the wait. 3 1/2 ‘Little Piggies’

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