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Uncle Sam In The Philippines

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Uncle Sam In The Philippines

Uncle Sam Restaurant 009 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The familiar silhouette of Uncle Sam on the sign above the streets of Tacloban City advertises a restaurant with a truly American cuisine.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Out of the corner of my eye, I had noticed the silhouette of Uncle Sam. The words: . . . wings, burgers, shakes and floats had flashed pass my eyes. By the time, I turned my head to look, the van had moved on and I could only remember the famous name: “Uncle Sam.”

On trips to Tacloban City, I kept looking out the passenger window looking for the familiar image and the words, “Uncle Sam.” I could not remember the street. But, I definitely knew that I wanted to stop in and look at the menu.

Saturday, March 3, 2012, I glance out the passenger window and see the famous silhouette. “Here ! Stop, here,” I shrieked !

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If you stroll along Santo Nino Street in Tacloban City, the bright red paint is the first indication that you have found the Uncle Sam Restaurant.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Christy, Ninoy, Marife, Ranyiel, Mac Mac and Chrismar entered the restaurant behind me.

Americana Decor

Beneath my feet, I stood on a blue and white checkerboard pattern. Around me, red and white stripes unfurl around the walls. Above me, I stare up into a star spangled sky. Uncle Sam Restaurant A001 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The feeling of being in an American Graffiti restaurant in the 1950s came over me.  For an instant, my “ride”. a 1957 Plymouth, I call “Christine” is parked outside.  Teeny boppers in ponytails and poodle skirts pop their bubble gum and fidgeted with their pony tails.  The smell of Brylcream fills the air as the combs of young men pass through their slicked down hair and they do their best Marlon Brando impression to flirt with the young girls. The sizzling of thick, juicy hamburgers gives way to  Wolfman Jack screaming through the radio about the latest 45 to top the charts.  Then, the jukebox whirls and the Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll” sings. I glimpse out the window to make sure Suzanne Somers is not driving past in a white 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

A portion of the Star Spangled Sky of the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City stretches out over the customers. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I stand smiling, for a moment. I look again at the walls I feel at home in the new surroundings. For an instant, I feel like I’m back in the “Good Ole USA.” The center wall montage immediately catches my eye. Uncle Sam stares out of the center flanked by the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the space shuttle, the Las Vegas sign and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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“Uncle Sam”,the classic American icon that Political Cartoonist Thomas Nast created to represent the American people is the centerpiece of this United States montage that honors national landmarks and challenges customers’ sense of history as to the significance of the national symbols.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Impromptu History Lesson

The waiter came to take our order, but I had dashed to the center wall to look at the familiar images. I called to the boys to come look at the wall. Poor kids. It is Saturday and their uncle suddenly bursts into an American history lesson.

I pontificated how Uncle Sam had been a Chicago, Illinois meat packing inspector named Sam, who put the letters U.S., on the crates. Then, how American political cartoonist, Thomas Nast came along and began drawing Uncle Sam as a character for newspapers. And, how that popularity carried on and in World War I, the United States Armed Forces began using the image of Uncle Sam on military recruiting posters.

While the boys looked around at the décor, like an excited history teacher, I explained how the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to celebrate America’s 100th birthday and then, I pointed out George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt on Mount Rushmore.

My wife, Christy, looked at the menu. She smiles and shakes her head – she knows how I enjoy talking about history. The boys looked at the large screen TV, which had been switched to the Cartoon Network.

 

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This wall in the Uncle Sam Restaurant hosts the photos of famous American celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and, of course, the famous historical photo of United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and the official party wading ashore in the Leyte Gulf, a few kilometers, outside Tacloban City. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Hollywood History

However, their “Uncle Sam” called to them to point out the Americana on the walls. I explained to them that the young Marlon Brando photo had the actor playing a rebel on a motorcycle and it made him an “American Bad Boy.” The photo of James Dean was of a young actor, who earned the title of being “The Rebel.” I point at the Frank Sinatra photo and explained that the actor and singer, was known as, “Old Blue Eyes.” Marilyn Monroe was the blonde screen goddess of the United States in the 1960s.

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This wall of the Uncle Sam Restaurant contains framed movie posters of some classics of American cinema from “Pretty Woman” to “Titanic.”  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

I pointed out Madonna and Ranyiel recognized, “Michael Jackson !” Riding the history wave, I directed the boys to the photos of American films on the walls from “Meet Joe Black” to “Titanic.” Of course, I added my movie critic comments for each of the framed movie photos. Uncle Sam Restaurant 012 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

This red sidewalk with gold stars is the “Walk Of Fame” that leads you to the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Finally, I freed the boys from my impromptu history class to allow them to take their seats, watch cartoons and wait for their meals.

I am no food critic. But, I was smiling when I looked at the American dishes on the menu.

Christy and the rest of the family ordered the Buffalo Wings. And, I ordered the Very Berry Strawberry shakes for everyone.

Righteous Ribs, Superb Sauce

I enjoyed the ribs. I’m one of those people who considers ribs “a finger food,” so my silverware sat untouched as I used my fingers to pull apart the tender, succulent meat. My polite nephews and their parents diligently used their knives and forks, despite my suggestion that “ribs is one of those foods best enjoyed by using your fingers.”

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Ribs, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.  Back in The Ozarks, my folks, would call this dish a good “home cooked” meal.  This dish at the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City was delicious.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I love the taste of the sauce. I loved the taste of the sauce so much, that I did something completely out of character for me . . . “I licked my fingers.” I describe the meat as righteous ribs and superb sauce as the waiter trades my white napkin for a fresh red one.

The corn of the cob tasted as fresh as if it had been picked off the stalk and cooked.

Mashed Potatoes

Country boy, that I am, I was ecstatic to see “mashed potatoes” on the menu.

Potatoes in the Ozarks is like rice in the Philippines because a meal is not a meal without that dish. While rice is used in many dishes in the Philippines, the same is true of potatoes in the United States. I went through the door with my mouth watering for a “home cooked” big, juicy hamburger. But, my eyes focused on the ribs and “mashed potatoes.”

I’m sure Emeril and the great French chefs would not consider “mashed potatoes” a dessert, but, they haven’t gone for a couple of months without being able to plunge a spoon into steaming mashed potatoes and have the mashed potatoes melt in your mouth.

I could not help but smile when the waiter told us that the restaurant opened for business on “The Fourth Of July” 2011.

My appetite for “home cooked American cuisine” had me smiling as I put the napkin to my lips. I raised my hand to call the waiter for the menu.

My intent was to feast my eyes on their menu once again. Christy spoke up and reminded me that we still had some errands to run. I nodded and promised myself to return with a hearty appetite in the near future. 

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My wife, Christy Warren, ordered the Uncle Sam Restaurant’s Buffalo Wings, rice pilaf and the grilled tomatoes. If you have a Texas size appetite for a thick juicy steak or some ribs, then, you should definitely visit Uncle Sam in Tacloban City. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I did return

I did return – Tuesday afternoon. My wife, Christy ordered the mango shake. Fe ordered a banana split. Ninoy and I ordered the Angus Beef Burger. For a country boy, who grew up in rural southwest Missouri in the Ozarks, surrounded by Black Angus, Red Angus and Brangus cattle, the juicy hamburger brought back memories in every bite.

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The succulent Angus Beef Burger satisfied my appetite for a thick, juicy hamburger.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City is on Santo Nino Street. The Uncle Sam Restaurant is my five star choice when I want American cuisine.

Uncle Sam Restaurant 008 Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resizedFor the latest information about the Uncle Sam Restaurant in Tacloban City, Republic of the Philippines type in your computer search engine: facebook Uncle Sam Restaurant or click this link: Uncle Sam Restaurant, Tacloban City, Philippines  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If after you read this article and you stop by the Uncle Sam Restaurant for a meal tell them, “Uncle Sam” sent you.

Uncle Sam”uel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
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