A few days ago I told you about my trip to Philadelphia to see a ball game
. Whenever I'm in Philly I make a point to stop off and get myself a cheesesteak, and this trip was no exception. For me, there's only one place I go when I want a cheesesteak: Pat's King of Steaks. And there's only one way I order a cheesesteak: with fried onions and cheese whiz. Some say the whiz isn't real cheese; it is, as a moment's glance at the label will tell you. Some people I know prefer to go elsewhere for their cheesesteaks...Tiny, for one, swears by Tony Luke's, and that's fine. I've had Tony Luke's before and they're good. But in my personal opinion, Pat's is the best.
And it goes without saying that to get a real cheesesteak you have to go to Philly. They're just not the same anywhere else. There are hundreds of places where you can get a good steak and cheese sub, and I've had them all over, in over two dozen restaurants, bars, and other eateries spread out over 12 states. But for a real Philly cheesesteak, you can only get one in Philadelphia. And don't even get me started on some of the abominations I've seen sold as "Philly Cheesesteaks." I've seen them with lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers. Mayonnaise, for crying out loud!! Don't get me wrong; you're perfectly free to eat whatever you want on your sandwich, and I respect that. But don't call it a Philly Cheesesteak. A cheesesteak has three ingredients: shaved steak, grilled or fried onions, and cheese, either American, Provolone, or whiz. That's it. And you've got to have an Amoroso or other locally baked roll. Here's a secret: the roll is the key. There's a firmness to the roll that's not soft and squishy, but not hard like a kaiser either. It's a very delicate balance, and I haven't found rolls anywhere else that capture that balance, and believe me, I've looked. I've hunted high and low. You can get them in the Delaware Valley, and that's pretty much it.
So now that I've had my cheesesteak fix, I returned home to the tri-state satiated. For now. At some point in the future, probably two or three months, I'll get that hankering again, and when I do I'll make that three hour drive once again, and it will be more than worth it. And there's no question where I'll go...