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polish potato pancakes like my grandmother

polish potato pancakes like my grandmother
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  • polish potato pancakes like my grandmother

    Post #1 - February 28th, 2008, 11:37 am
    Post #1 - February 28th, 2008, 11:37 am Post #1 - February 28th, 2008, 11:37 am
    One half of my heritage stems from bucktown and Weber High School. My father married a fiery italian woman from the suburbs who came from an enormous family (largest in chicago at one point). Through mere numbers and proximity, I spent much more time with my italian family.

    One of the fond memories of my Polish grandmother Wanda's tiny Hoyne Avenue kitchen was potato pancakes, with thin crispy lacelike edges.
    A few years after gram's passing, my father started a chistmas time father and son breakfast outing with ten or twelve duos including a large canadian-polish former Blackhawk. We always went to the Busy Bee in Wicker Park. These were the clone of Wanda's. Maybe four inches in diamiter, thin, crispy with a hint of onion. Applesauce, sour cream, salt and a side of Polish sausage split and griddled was a perfect breakfast and a great memory. When the busy bee closed, the holiday outing kind of lost its steam. The cakes were never as good and the atmosphere altered to much.

    My father passed on 9/11 of this year, possibly causing me to seek out some old memories. I have been on a kick to find that holy grail of the perfect potato pancake (as my mind and memory sees it). The following places have been tried:

    Healthy foods-- great flavor and crispness, but seemingly made with mashed or riced potatos and way to thick;
    Juicyo-- nice size and look but to much flour and not enough potato flavor;
    Mabenka-- close but not a cuban cigar, again the iternal texture seemed off;
    Our Kitchen-- might be it. As good as I have had.

    I would love your other recomendations. I love the side potato served with my pastrami at Mannys but this is not what I am seeking.

    Thanks in advance

    Babaluch

    Healthy Foods
    3236 S. Halsted
    Chicago, IL 60608

    Our Kitchen
    363 W. Lake St
    Elmhurst, IL 60126

    Mabenka
    7844 South Cicero
    Burbank, Il 60459

    Juicyo
    2942 S Finley
    Downers Grove 60515
  • Post #2 - February 28th, 2008, 3:56 pm
    Post #2 - February 28th, 2008, 3:56 pm Post #2 - February 28th, 2008, 3:56 pm
    Without a doubt, I think the potato pancakes at Smak Takare the best I've had in Chicago (and believe me - I've had a lot of them!)

    I remember the potato pancakes at Busy Bee and saddly they're no more. However I think the cakes at Smak Tak are fabulous and you'd be hard pressed to beat them. They're slightly larger in diameter than the Busy Bee version, but they're crispy and light.

    Smak Tak
    5961 North Elston Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60646
  • Post #3 - February 28th, 2008, 4:36 pm
    Post #3 - February 28th, 2008, 4:36 pm Post #3 - February 28th, 2008, 4:36 pm
    Mellonhead is right on both counts.

    I really miss the Busy Bee. Their bigos with a side of potato pancakes was an excellent hangover remedy.
  • Post #4 - February 28th, 2008, 6:08 pm
    Post #4 - February 28th, 2008, 6:08 pm Post #4 - February 28th, 2008, 6:08 pm
    I'm sorry I can't compare them with Smak Tak, having never been to that doubtlessly fine institution, but it is your duty to visit GNR winner Podhalanka and try their divine potato pancakes. *


    Podhalanka
    1549 W Division
    Chicago
    773-486-6655


    *Why isn't there an emoticon for "licking chops"?
  • Post #5 - February 28th, 2008, 6:13 pm
    Post #5 - February 28th, 2008, 6:13 pm Post #5 - February 28th, 2008, 6:13 pm
    Smak Tak's are very good.

    I am also partial to the potato pancakes at Resi's Bierstube. The owners are from Karlsruhe, Germany.

    Potato pancake crawl, anyone?

    Resi's Bierstube
    2034 W. Irving Park Road
    Chicago
    773 472 1749
  • Post #6 - February 28th, 2008, 7:17 pm
    Post #6 - February 28th, 2008, 7:17 pm Post #6 - February 28th, 2008, 7:17 pm
    fleurdesel wrote:Potato pancake crawl, anyone?


    What a wonderful idea!! Except that it would literally be a crawl before too long. :lol: (But it sure is a great idea!)
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #7 - February 28th, 2008, 8:27 pm
    Post #7 - February 28th, 2008, 8:27 pm Post #7 - February 28th, 2008, 8:27 pm
    fleurdesel wrote:Smak Tak's are very good.

    I am also partial to the potato pancakes at Resi's Bierstube. The owners are from Karlsruhe, Germany.

    Potato pancake crawl, anyone?

    Resi's Bierstube
    2034 W. Irving Park Road
    Chicago
    773 472 1749


    Stimmt uffallend!

    (Though it's been a while for me, I thought Resi's were very good; in other words: I agree!)

    Antonius

    P.S. Interesting post, Babaluch.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #8 - February 29th, 2008, 9:38 am
    Post #8 - February 29th, 2008, 9:38 am Post #8 - February 29th, 2008, 9:38 am
    While I have not had the opportunity to try any of these other fine establishments, (although I do plan to soon!) I think that The Bavarian Lodge in Lisle has an excellent rendition of potato pancakes. Theirs are also very thin, crispy on the edges with the required onion and a bit of garlic as well to enhance the wonderful potato flavor. They are served with the must haves of sour cream and apple sauce.

    The Bavarian Lodge
    1800 Ogden Avenue
    Lisle, Illinois 60532
    Redhdbest
    ____________
    Life is a cabaret my friend!
  • Post #9 - February 29th, 2008, 8:12 pm
    Post #9 - February 29th, 2008, 8:12 pm Post #9 - February 29th, 2008, 8:12 pm
    Thanks for the info. -thon sounds good.

    I will try to get to one of the suggestions this weekend.
  • Post #10 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:26 pm
    Post #10 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:26 pm Post #10 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:26 pm
    I dont know if these are like your grandma used to make. But I really liked the potato pancakes I had a while back from Sawa's Old Warsaw on Cermak in Broadview. I'm not sure about the ones served in the smorgasbord buffet but if you order them to go they cook them fresh and came out great. Sold by the piece along with pierogis, blintzes, fried chicken etc...its a great place to place a pick up an order for a day of football.

    Image
    Sawa's Old Warsaw Potato Pancakes

    Sawa's Old Warsaw Restaurant
    9200 W Cermak Rd
    Broadview, IL 60155
    (708) 343-9040
  • Post #11 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:59 pm
    Post #11 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:59 pm Post #11 - December 2nd, 2009, 9:59 pm
    Thought I'd post pictures of potato pancakes from three of the places mentioned upthread.

    Smak Tak

    Image

    Resi's Bierstube

    Image

    Podhalanka

    Image
    Image
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - December 3rd, 2009, 9:25 am
    Post #12 - December 3rd, 2009, 9:25 am Post #12 - December 3rd, 2009, 9:25 am
    Only the Smak Tak ones look good, the others are too thick. My mom made great ones too, very thin, crisp with a hint of green onion. Of course I never learned her secret before she passed on. The closest I have found was at Alexander's, a Greek family restaurant on Rte. 31 and I-90 in Elgin. I've had too many that use flour and make them too thick.
  • Post #13 - December 3rd, 2009, 11:58 am
    Post #13 - December 3rd, 2009, 11:58 am Post #13 - December 3rd, 2009, 11:58 am
    Not the atmosphere you're looking for, most likely, but as I read your post Walker Bros. kept floating into my mind. Not a Polish restaurant in the least, but the description of the potato pancakes seem dead on--lacy edges, significantly thinner than the (admittedly alluring) pics above, hint of onion. Here's a picture from Holly Eats

    Image
    "People sometimes attribute quotes to the wrong person"--Mark Twain
  • Post #14 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:49 pm
    Post #14 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:49 pm Post #14 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:49 pm
    Yup, Walker Bros. makes crispy lacy potato pancakes everybit as good as the ones we grew up with. They get my vote for the best potato pancakes in the area, though I agree it sounds very unethnic.
  • Post #15 - December 3rd, 2009, 1:23 pm
    Post #15 - December 3rd, 2009, 1:23 pm Post #15 - December 3rd, 2009, 1:23 pm
    LikestoEatout wrote:Only the Smak Tak ones look good, the others are too thick. My mom made great ones too, very thin, crisp with a hint of green onion. Of course I never learned her secret before she passed on. The closest I have found was at Alexander's, a Greek family restaurant on Rte. 31 and I-90 in Elgin. I've had too many that use flour and make them too thick.


    Take everyone's word for it, they all taste good. Very good.
  • Post #16 - December 4th, 2009, 11:01 am
    Post #16 - December 4th, 2009, 11:01 am Post #16 - December 4th, 2009, 11:01 am
    You may want to check out the Potato Pancake thread here: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=10986
    Ms. Ingie
    Life is too short, why skip dessert?

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