Summer days were coming to a close in 2003; my old brother and I were headed into Philadelphia after staying with some family friends for the night in Delaware before I moved into my freshman dorm at Temple University. You’ll soon find out in future posts that there are two things Otto (my brother) truly enjoys when visiting a new place: learning and devouring local eats & dishes. So of course before we left The Hidell’s house that morning in August he asked “Where do we find the best cheese steaks”… in their house the answer is the same every time “Jim’s on South.” A few hours later Otto had worked up an appetite carrying all my stuff up the stairs into my room because he refused to wait for the elevator. We headed to South Street to find what all the hype was about and let me tell you the hype was real! Since that day I have been a loyal Jim’s steak lover! Can you remember your first cheesesteak experience? There is always a story behind your favorite foods; just think about it and I know you can’t help but smile thinking on that moment.
This glorious sandwich has several nick names: Philadelphia cheesesteak, Philly cheesesteak, cheese steak, steak and cheese, steak etc … the list goes on and on. I did a little history research for all of you just in case you were wondering. The exact story behind its creation is debated, but in some accounts, Pat and Harry Olivieri from Philadelphia originally owned a hot dog stand and on one occasion, decided to make a new sandwich using chopped beef and grilled onions thus inventing the greatest sandwich of all time. After much success they were able to save enough money and move into a rental space located at the intersection of South 9th Street, Wharton Street and East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly where Pat’s King of Steaks still serves 24-hours a day.
Above is one of the many signs at Pat’s which is probably the most important one so that you order correctly. After many trips to steak places I have learned from locals there is no weird way to eat a steak, you like what you like and no one can give you crap about it. Call me a traditionalist but “extra whiz, wit” is my fav!
Cooking is one of my favorite passions as the result typically ends in a gathering of friends, family and loved ones. A great meal (or recently a few of my friends were subjected to bombed out dish and they still encouraged future daring adventures in the kitchen) can make any situation better and is my favorite form of entertainment.
One of the best things about the fall is college football. As Kirk Herbstreit often notes “CFB, there is nothing like it” and I couldn’t agree anymore! It is simply the best. Tailgates are synonymous with college football, can’t have one without the other. They are a place where community happens before and after the game. You get to meet up with friends, family and fellow fans. It is a time where excitement for the upcoming game is shared and you nosh on your favorite foods. As you can tell the tailgate pretty much collides two great things: football & food! A dream come true.
Last weekend I made it my mission to bring a little Philadelphia to South Florida. I was a little tired of the same old burger & hot dog menu. So I hit the interwebs in search of the best recipe for a Philly Steak sandwich and according to my Dad I crushed it. After reading just about every variation as I was considering crock pot vs grill vs skillet; on Wednesday afternoon when I should have been working at my desk I impulse purchased a griddle attachment for the tailgating grill which thanks to Amazon Prime promptly arrived 2 days later. (What did we ever do before Amazon Prime? I mean really?)
I encourage all of you to think of a meal that you don’t normally make and invite some friends over. Share with them a story based on the recipe you chose and have them talk about a memorable recipe, who knows maybe you’ll find yourselves trying out loads of new favorites.
Here is the recipe that I put together for last weekend, give it a try.
Whiz Wit on the Tailgate Grill
- Rib eye steak sliced in strips
- Yellow onions
- Peppers (which ever ones look rip, I used yellow & orange, in Philly I typically only see green)
- Cheese Whiz
- Fresh hoagie rolls (Amoroso rolls are the best in Philly)
- Worchester Sauce
- Olive oil
- Marinate steak with Worchester sauce
- Slice onions & peppers paper thin and toss with a small amount of olive oil
- Throw on steak, onions and peppers on griddle grill – add a small amount of salt on meat
- Slop warm cheese whiz on hoagie roll
- Fill hoagie roll with steak & veggies
- Serve immediately
Also if you are in the Philadelphia area my top three cheese steak spots are as follows (full disclosure every person who has lived in the Philadelphia area has their own favorites for different reasons);
- Jim’s Steaks (400 S. Street)
- Pat’s King of Steaks (address above)
- Chubby’s Steaks (5826 Henry Ave)
My favorite order: Extra Whiz, wit