Unfortunately often times the memory of my business trips, even ones to great cities, can dwindle down to the airport, the long hours at the venue you were at, and the eventual consequent flat out crashing in your hotel room afterward.. :(
Just returned from a really short visit to Philly where I did manage to squeeze in checking out a few cheesesteak joints naturally but I tell you with my schedule it wasn't the easiest!
After I awoke past midnight from my crash, a friendly food blogger angel spoke to me in my tired groggy jet lagged head and said, "Pssst. Hey Dennis... This may be your first and last time visiting Philadelphia Ever. So maybe you should make the most of it???".
At this point that still wasn't exactly enough but I then also remembered the impromptu chat I had with the rental car exit gate attendant the drizzly and long plane delay after delay exhaustive evening. (This is the guy at the gate you hand in your papers before he lets you take off with the car..)
"Yeah Pat's.. They're ok. Me? I like Jim's off of South Street... You see, most these steak sandwich places... they're in neighborhoods. So we tend to like the ones we grew up with. That used to be my neighborhood where I lived as a kid. I tell people Jim's is a worthwhile option to try when they ask about Pat's and Geno's.."
I googled and found they were open till 1AM. I dragged my sleepy butt into the car with my trusty GPS at hand and drove out.
Jim's Steaks was a really neat Art Deco decor joint that dated back to 1939 in it's original location. This particular branch on South Street is from 1976.
These spots are pretty much like Burrito or Taco shops here in So. Cal. - Convenient, fast and tasty fills where many are open very late at night, some like Pat's even 24-hrs.
By now (my third cheesesteak in Philly) I deeply understood the virtues of a freshly baked Amoroso long roll. While there are other locally baked Italian long rolls that are equivalent to it, it seems the Amoroso brand is by far the most popular. And no doubt they are a perfectly natural match to the task.
I went for the Cheese Steak with Provolone ($7.60), wit Onions. Was actually the cheapest and larger sandwich I had this trip.
Like a good burger bun, the perfectly lighter springy bread never detracts from tasting the meat, onions and cheese while it also does an excellent job of holding the contents together without ever falling apart (not even the day after as I experienced a few of those, haha).
The beef (often thin sliced ribeye but I believe is top round here) was chopped very fine. Fairly unseasoned but moist and had a nice fresh beefy taste. The caramelized onions were killer if you can't tell by the photo. The provolone was good but these light or unseasoned beef varieties I've experienced I think goes better with the saltier ever popular Whiz topping option.
An autograph by Peter, Paul and Mary! How appropriate. Next day Leaving On a Jet Plane, but really hope to be back again.. Philadelphia is a f***ing awesome city. :)
Jim's Steaks, 400 South Street, Philadelphia PA 19147
Next up, Pat's vs. Geno's!