"I see someone from Santa Fe almost every time I come here," said Henry Jones between mouthfuls of a Niman Ranch steak burrito.
Jones has been coming to Green Chile Kitchen in San Francisco since he moved to the Bay Area from New Mexico. While he takes his burrito with green chile, Jones nods approvingly at the restaurant's "Christmas" style option with both red and green chile -- a New Mexican favorite.
For people like Jones, the Bay Area has been home for years, but the taste buds still long for the home from childhood. Fortunately, authentic restaurants like Green Chile Kitchen serve a nostalgic slice of the Southwest. This got us thinking. What are some of the Bay Area's other nostalgic eats?
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"All the cheesesteak places in Philly use this one kind of bread," recalled Maggie Ronan. "Phat Philly in the Mission imports it, which is big." The famed bread is the roll from Amaroso's Baking in Philadelphia. The restaurant also serves Masami Ranch American Kobe beef for quality and Cheez Whiz for authenticity. And Philly kids can find classic hometown snacks like Utz chips and peanut chews on the side.
Some expats (whether perfectionists or just incredulous) insist that there is no such thing as the real thing. “Bagels -- and being Jewish, I take my bagels very seriously -- are hard to find in the Bay Area," complained ex-New Yorker John Weinstein. “Many places offer a round, soft piece of dough and call it a bagel: Noah’s I’m looking at you."
But even Weinstein has found a (temporarily) suitable substitute. "The closest thing I’ve found to the crunchy outside and soft, juicy inside that defines a New York bagel is at Berkeley Bagels on Gilman Street."
For others, a certain SF restaurant hits the craving spot on. "For my Chicago deep dish fix, I go to Patxi's," said Nina Kim, from Illinois. “Their buttery crust, cheese to sauce ratio and tomato sauce on top most resembles the pizza at Giordano’s, a Chicago deep dish pizzeria staple.”
And Colt Fulk of Concho, Arizona can't get enough of Taqueria Los Coyotes in the Mission. "I go for the chicken vegetable soup," he said. "It's good to the bone, meaning they serve the soup with the bone just like mom used to make."
It's good enough to make a San Franciscan want to move back home. Almost.
Check out some of our hometown favorites in the slideshow below. Don't see your favorite? Add it in the comments section: