Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to. —John Ed Pearce
In April, I wrote about the closing of longtime Lemon Grove eatery Por Favor. Last week this e-mail showed up in my inbox:
“Corky, even though my wife and I are now living in SE Pennsylvania (having moved from Lemon Grove in 1998), I am sad to hear that Por Favor is gone. However, there is another Mexican restaurant not too far from that location. The name escapes me (it’s been too long) but it is on Broadway, across the street from St. John's Catholic Church. It is a ‘hole in the wall’ but what great food. I hope it is still there. Regards. Terry Morrison, West Chester, PA”
I knew Morrison must be referring to Casa Del Sol on Broadway, so, when writing back to thank him for the note, I included this link:
A day later, I received his reply:
“Ah...Corky...you're ‘killin’ me with those pictures of that carne asada...talk about memories. I know you ‘can’t go back’ ... but memories are great. I remember several times after eating at Casa Del Sol of going to Dairy Queen to finish the meal off. I just finished a ‘tour’ of Broadway via Google and notice that DQ is gone….
Even though I have been gone for 14 years, I still consider myself a ‘native’ San Diegan ... came into this world at the Navy Hospital; grew up in Lemon Grove; attended San Miguel and Mt. Vernon Elementary Schools; Palm Jr. High; graduated from Mt. Miguel (class of '73) and finished at Grossmont College.
Corky, I am not sure when my wife and I will be able to make a trip back to San Diego but I want to thank you for bringing just a little bit of Lemon Grove ... just a little bit of home ... back here to Pennsylvania. If we ever do make it back ... and I can look you up ... we'll take you out to lunch at Casa Del Sol. Thanks again. Terry Morrison”
This guy is not only missing the Grove’s stellar Mexican fare, he is waxing nostalgic for the fast food, too. I know the feeling. During my misadventure living in the Midwest a few years back, I had the same desires. Whenever I would visit San Diego, it was gorge time for Mexican food, and I have to admit to at least one drive through at Jack in the Box (darn secret sauce). Apparently food memories run deep.
My problem when living in the Midwest was finding a “real” Mexican restaurant. Most catered to less sophisticated palates than the places I had experienced growing up in San Diego. Unless you can find where the Mexicans are dining, the results were mostly “muy malo.” I decided to check out the choices in West Chester, PA, where Morrison now lives.
West Chester is a charming colonial city of 18,000 people, nestled near historic Valley Forge and the birthplace of Buffalo Bill Cody. So far, it is not sounding much like a Mexican food mecca. After careful internet research my choice would be , which to me sounded the most authentic. Has our reader tried this place? Was it as good as the Grove? Or should we take up a collection to overnight a care package of a carne asada combo plate from Casa Del Sol to a homesick native son?
Mr. Morrison, you and your wife are welcome to come back home anytime. Thanks for remembering Lemon Grove so fondly, and thanks for the reminder to those of us in the Grove to appreciate what we have.