An authentic Philly Cheesesteak. I'd never had one in 24 years living in PA. Of course I was in Pittsburgh, about five hours away, so I'm going to give myself a free pass. Surely I would have had one at 3 a.m. after a night of drinking had I grown up in Philly!
When we were in Philly last weekend, we decided to get cheesesteaks Sunday to eat as we settled into Paul and Sara's family room to watch our beloved Steelers destroy and embarass the Cleveland Browns.
But where to go? Anyone from (or who has lived in) Philly has an feelings on the topic...usually extremely strong ones.
When Paul wants one, he usually heads to Jim's Steaks, but that's at least partially because it's right around the corner from their house. For my first, he said we absolutely had to head to Pat's King of Steaks and to Geno's Steaks, the famouse duo that are across the street from one another in South Philly.
Of the two, Paul had a favorite, but he tried his best to not influence Nena and I. Of course, Paul can be an opinionated guy...so his choice was clear--he loves Pat's.
My own thoughts:
First, I had part of a Geno's "wiz with"...and it was just okay. The meat could have been cut up a bit more (it was kind of tough actually) and it didn't seem all that cheesy for a cheesesteak. Plus, I guess it didn't have many onions...the flavor was kind of flat. Lifeless almost. I ate it, but frankly, I didn't see what the big deal was. I did put a little hotsauce on it and "forced it down."
Next, it was time for my Pat's sandwich...again "wiz with." It was far and away the better of the two sandwiches...hands down. The meat was tender and chopped up nicely, gooey with cheese and full of oniony flavor. I still added hot sauce, but that's just because I like the pain.
Now, it's time to return to my roots and give props where due. As good as the Pat's sandwich was, in my book, it doesn't even come close to a sandwich from Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh.
As you can see, a Primanti Brothers sandwich is on thick slices of Italian bread and features vinegar coleslaw and French fries (like any good Pittsburgh food should). Plus, if you're smart, you get it with egg. My favorite is the pastrami...no doubt. Oh, and definitely stay away from the "cheesesteak" at Primanti Brothers...it's a beef patty and probably their worst offering.