Friday night. Palace Kitchen.
I have been thinking about cheeseburgers for a while now, debating over and over in my head whether I should make them, or go out to eat. Should I try the Hunt Club, tucked in the Sorrento Hotel, just down the street? Head over to Quinns, which I have not visited since last fall? Firmly fixed in the back of my mind was Palace Kitchen. I wish I ate there more often, but the neighborhood is hard to find parking, and I have never gone there alone. But it is Friday, and C. and I are out and about, and I persuade her to head over there. There is no street parking, with all the construction going on, not to mention the fact that it is Friday night, and there is a long line of people outside the Cinerama theater, waiting to see the new Star Trek movie. Finally we find the last spot in a pay lot and walk into the restaurant, where there is just one table for two in the main room.
I don't really need the menu - I have been thinking about cheeseburgers for weeks, and it would totally disrupt my plans should I order anything else now - so we order our food, and drinks, sangria for C. and a Red Pearl for me. Some bread arrives with our drinks, with a little dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The bread comes from Dahlia Bakery, a few blocks away; all but one of Tom Douglas' restaurants are within a three block radius of the flagship that contains the bakery, Serious pie., and the Dahlia Lounge. Across the street is the Palace Ballroom, where you can have a wedding or some other grand event. But right now I am only thinking about food, and my drink, which is a glass of Prosecco with a deep red pearl of Negroni syrup at its heart.
Our burgers arrive, medium-rare and juicy, with some Beecher's cheddar on top of the patty and a soft bun enclosing it. I ignore the lettuce, the slices of onion, the green tomatoes. The fries are skinny and crisp, and there are little pots of ketchup and some sort of garlicky mayonnaise. It, like my cocktail, is just what I needed after a long week at work. But then it is time for dessert, a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream for C., a banana cream pie for me. The pie is a small individual one, all buttery, flaky pastry, containing slices of banana, chocolate ganache, custard, and whipped cream. Mostly it seems to be whipped cream. I feel as though I have never been so full, or so happy.