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Alex’s Brown Bag is the only stop on the Tour that has an age restriction. It’s in the back of Latitude 32 Pub on Cass Street and the bartender stops everyone to check ID’s before granting access to the inner sanctum. Youngsters who want a sandwich better come up with a fake or order delivery, which is only available Monday-Friday from 11-4. Still, the menu claims Alex’s is “San Diego’s King of the Philly Cheesesteak,” so I took advantage of my greatly advanced age and paid the place a visit.

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Lat 32 is definitely a young person’s bar. It’s telling when I feel like an old guy at twenty-eight. The patrons’ average age couldn’t have been too far north of 21. I made my way back through the bar and found the sub shop quasi-isolated. There’s a table in the line of fire for a dart board back there. Very hazardous. I had to wonder what the business license looks like for a business inside a business that doesn’t have it’s own door. Is the sign just a sign and Alex’s is separate from the bar in name only?

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My 12” cheesesteak came loaded with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and Cheez Whiz for $8.95 on a grilled Amoroso roll. I must hand it to Alex’s for grilling the roll to a crispy, crunchiness. I’ve always loved toasted bread and the texture of the otherwise chewy Amoroso had been altered in the grilling. It ended up being more like the little baguettes that Vietnamese sandwiches come on, with a crust that breaks into dust and shards instead of yielding to the teeth with great reluctance.

While it may have been the same meat in spirit, the steak within the sandwich lacked the succulence of the shaved rib-eye that characterizes great cheesesteaks. It had a slightly stringy texture that made me think of Steak-Umms and school lunch. On the plus side, there was plenty of it. The sandwich overfilled it’s bounds and made me wish for a fork, of which there were none to be seen. The accompanying pickle, much like at Pop’s, served as a refreshing palate cleanser.

I also got to try a “pizza steak” ($5.50 for a 6”), which is a common feature at many sub shops. Slathered in pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, it was...just one of those things. Some bored cook at some point had a stupid idea that turned out to be tasty, and also really messy.

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Instead of the steak, it might be worthwhile to try Alex’s “bacon cheeny chico,” which covers sliced chicken and bacon with pepperoncini and Whiz. Best name I’ve seen on a sandwich in a long time? I think so.

5019 Cass Street
858-273-0502
Call for hours and delivery

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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