Today, my P is for Philly Cheesesteaks. I can't say that before my trip to Philadelphia I ever really liked this sandwich. My favorite sandwiches were pastrami on rye or a Russo's sub. These were the best and there was no need to venture. Yet, here I was in the City of Brotherly Love for a convention and believe me I was on culinary overload. Everywhere I looked there was some kind of place we wanted to try out for one meal or another. The Pop Shop, in Cherry Hill, was one of our first stops. It was close and it was cute. It truly was a blast from the past and they were playing Trivia the night we visited. We ate everything from pecan crusted chicken to a good old Americana Burger. The food was great. While in Philly we ate Italian, we ate Armenian, we ate just about every ethnic group you can find....but the one thing we had not had was a philly cheese steak and we had two days left to get that in. The mayor of Philadelphia spoke at our meeting that morning and told us to be sure and try the cheesesteaks. It seems that there is a major competition between Pat's and Geno's for who makes the best cheesesteak sandwich. We discovered that Geno's was close....so after the conference we headed off to find it. It was hard to miss. The neon on the restaurant would light up the whole city. We discovered two places....across the street from each other. The lines were about the same length...so we parked in front of Geno's...and walked up to order.
We ordered our sandwiches just like mayor told us to...."wit onions and whiz" I did not know what to expect....but it was not the humongous sandwich with enough meat on it to feed an army, gorgeous caramelized onions, and CHEESE WHIZ! It was a heart attack looking for a place to happen.
I asked for some ketchup.....and it was as if E.F. Hutton had spoken. The place grew silent. The man waiting on me asked in surprise..."KETCHUP?" I smiled, pointed, and said...."for my fries?"...and the world grew noisy again. He showed me where the condiments were....asked me if I was sure I did not want whiz on my fries....gave me my order and I hid on the side at an outdoor table where no one could see me eating a small bead of ketchup on my SANDWICH! I ate about a third of it. Ate another third later that night....and finished it off for lunch the next day. I was hooked.....before we left Philly I had eaten yet another one. I loved these things! Where had they been all my life? I came home prepared to replicate them for Frank....but....never could. I had the ingredients right....they just did not taste the same. So if you are ever in Philly and want a philly cheesesteak sandwich to die for....find Geno's and throw cholesterol caution to the wind, order one wit onions and whiz and enjoy. I promise you won't regret it. My only regret is that I didn't get to try one from Pat's place. Next time....and I promise you there will be a next time.