A little over a year ago I visited the Home Plate Diner for breakfast. At the time I ordered up one of their signature items: the Bases Loaded hash browns with onions, mushrooms, green peppers and crumbled breakfast sausage. Topped with two eggs of your choice, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses then covered with white gravy, it's quite a mashup.
The hash browns were brown and crisp, and the gravy had a pleasant kick of black pepper. Appealing crunchy bits of green pepper and onions, with the odd piece of mushroom a bonus. With eggs over easy each forkful was an adventure in taste, from the firm whites to the slow-running yolk that mingled with the gravy.
With such a pleasant memory I revisited the diner a couple of times this July for breakfast. On my first visit back I tried the Double Play with chili atop sausage patties and two eggs of your choice, with a side of hash browns and biscuit. The chili is beany enough but with little meat to be noticed. The hash browns were generous enough, but could have stood a little more browning. The biscuit was a little tough and springy as well.
On my return the next morning I opted for a Western omelet. An airy egg with a fairly decent amount of diced onion, green pepper and ham, with some mushrooms here and there. A little more cheese would have helped to bind the fillings together. Hash browns on the side were much browner and crisper on this visit. The biscuit too was also improved. I also ordered a side of sausage gravy for a biscuit topper. Some black pepper present; more meat would have been welcome.
It's interesting to note how in the course of a year impressions can change. Prior to each of these visits I had also eaten at the PerKup Cafe in Urbandale. My first impression of the Home Plate Diner was much more positive than what I had at the PerKup a year ago. This summer, my opinions have reversed.
The Home Plate Diner does fills a void, being the lone restaurant of its kind in the sprawling Fairgrounds neighborhood. But given a choice and the luxury of transportation, I much prefer the crispy hash browns and made-from-scratch sausage gravy offered at the PerKup Cafe [see blog post].