Sunday, April 20, 2008

Philly Cheese Steak

If you've ever spent any time in the Philadelphia area, you probably have picked up on a local food tradition that is unique to that region: The Cheese Steak Sandwich. Now, before you object, let me just set the record straight on this issue. You will walk into national chain restaurants such as Subway, or Applebee's, and you will see a menu item that they call a Philly Cheese Steak or something like that. But be warned. It is not a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.

The formula is not complex, nor are the ingredients scarce, yet for some reason, folks outside of a, say, 60 mile radius of South Street have no idea what they're doing. What you need is a roll. Just the right kind of roll too, not hard, not too soft. Locals claim the secret to making the rolls just right is found in the Philly water. (or "wuter") as it often comes out.

Next you need thinly sliced beef, onions, tomato sauce, mushrooms* (these are optional, of course) and let's please not forget the CHEESE. This is where so many others falter. You cannot forget the cheese. And it must be melted. Not little squares or triangles neatly lined up on the side of the bread.

Why am I investing a post on this glorious food item? First, because every time I go visit my parents in West Chester, I make certain to get one. Second, I the last time I was there, I was so excited about indulging I took a picture of it. For you.

Now I don't know what is worse, really, the fact that I took a picture of a sloppy (but very delicious!) Cheese Steak Sandwich before I ate it or that I ate the whole thing on the day after Thanksgiving. As if I hadn't had enough food to eat already that weekend. Thanks dad for being easy to convince that I need proper nourishment!

*This is the pizza steak variety found with mushrooms and tomato sauce. Mmmmm....