Winning against nostalgia is eating at your favorite Philly Cheese Steak spot in San Francisco on a Sunday night.
It is so weird how clear memories can come back with the smallest things. Everyone has their one restaurant that reminds them of their childhood, it might be a local Chinese place that your parents took you on special occasions or just the neighborhood deli down the street from your house. It probably is nothing to brag about and your friends might not understand why you love it so much.
Two restaurants come in mind to me, one being Spices on Clement St. and the other one being The Cheese Steak Shop.
Seriously, I do not think I have craved anything as much as I craved for a cheese steak from this place.
I have been coming here since I was six years old, thanks to my food-loving foodie (before it was cool) dad. After our Sunday ritual of watching whatever kid movie was out on Sunday, we would wait in line for our no frills, gooey, mouth-watering cheese steaks.
They give you the option to order 7”, 10” and 15” subs. I started with the 7”, moved my way up to the 10” somewhere in my pre-teens and became a little overambitious and finished 15”s by high school. Now I am back at 10” because I have nothing to prove anymore. My dad always had the 15” with extra meat…that is so big if you think about it.
Imagine my surprise when I came here recently only to find that it is the SAME guy that worked there! It made my trip back here so much worth it! It is like nothing ever changed and I was a child again begging for a cream soda. I walked up to the counter and said, “Hi, you don’t know me but I have been coming here since I was six and I remember you so well”. We traded a few jokes (me young, him old) before he took my order and then I noticed that they use the same exact cash register- just like I remember it. They had specific buttons for each individual item and he let me punch in my order one of the times when I was younger.
I know I sound like a huge dork right now but cheese steaks just makes me that happy, okay?
While cheese steaks are a childhood memory for me, Taylor never had one in her whole life and I had to be the one to take her Philly virginity.
PS: I have been trying so hard to get her to make this face for me and she finally gave in, it is one of my favorites. You are welcome.
And here is the beaut that is a mushroom cheese steak with onions, hot peppers and a side of twister fries. Same way, every single time. Three packets of Crystals and a cream soda to wash all the grease down.
Only thing different is that they were out of cream soda (tear) and we had to get root beer. I survived so do not worry too much.
Philly natives, I do not even want to hear how it is not an original cheese steak compared to your Geno’s or Pat’s. Obviously there is a little Californian flair, but note that we do use Amoroso rolls. We can just consider that a nice compromise, okay?
Also to round out our perfect day was a creme brûlée cheers. I could not remember the last time I had one, good thing I have this blog thing to remind me of these times. 🙂
What’s your childhood restaurant? One that you have to go every time you go back to your home town.
PS: Robin Williams loves this place and I saw him here a long long time ago.