Philly Cheesesteak at Jerry’s East Coast Flavor in St. Croix Falls, WI
I’ve had a lot of reputable versions of American standards on their home turf — lobster bakes and oysters from Maine to D.C., crawfish etouffee and gumbo in New Orleans, deep dish pizza in Chicago, Brooklyn bagels and pizza, sourdough in San Francisco, vat-fresh squeaky cheese curds in Wisconsin, (Eastern) Carolina vinegar-sauced barbecue, etc. and so forth. What I’ve never had is a cheesesteak sandwich in Philly, so everything you read from here down must be taken with a Pennsylvania-sized grain of salt and this author’s humble apologies.
There’s an unlikely roadside joint called Jerry’s East Coast Flavor in St. Croix Falls, WI, that claims to serve an authentic cheesesteak ($8.50 for a 12″, $7 for a 9″) — you’ve got your choice of sweet and / or hot peppers, fried onions are in effect, the roll’s imported from a Philly bakery, and Cheez Whiz is both available and recommended as the cheese of choice. (I went Whiz wit’, of course, in keeping with the legend of this particular sandwich, and with the guidance of the shop’s profoundly warm and pleasant proprietress.)
Is it authentic? No clue. Couldn’t tell you. If you happen to know, leave a comment.
Is it delicious? Without question. The imported roll has a gentle chew and slightly zingy flavor to it that is assertive without interfering with the flavor of the savory, finely chopped meat-and-cheese paste that it cradles. The overall package is surprisingly gentle — while the onions, tomatoes, and hot peppers lend some flavor and a bit of crunch, the overall package is a warm, comforting, delicately textured bear hug on a bun. The beauty of the Cheez Whiz is that it becomes one with the steak, a rich but surprisingly understated dressing for the sandwich.
The sandwich is an unexpected note for the north country byway known as Highway 8, but a pleasant one, and this pleasingly pungent meatbomb will make the trek east a little lighter — emotionally, at least.
Jerry’s East Coast Flavor
Pizza and Subs in St. Croix Falls, WI
1942 Hwy. 8
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Pizza / No
ENTREE RANGE: $7-$8.50