Bon Voyage

In Search of the World’s Greatest Cheesesteak | Fireman Mike | Old Town Post

In search of the Worlds’s greatest cheesesteak has to take one to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The trip began from Old Town up I-95 N with the typical slow downs and back ups.  I thought I was on I-95 S which is always a catastrophe no matter what time of day.  We were headed to Philly, one of the most beloved towns for sports in the country, to catch a Nat’s game. If you are an away team wearing your colors in their stadium be prepared for a hoard of expletives. I was prepared and didn’t care.  Wearing my Nat’s Strasburg Jersey with pride and my girl, Laura, was wearing my Harper jersey.

We left early Saturday morning to catch a 7:00 game.   We checked into our hotel around 1:30 p.m  – the Four Points by Sheraton near the airport and close to the stadium and south Philly.  The Hotel was in a great location.  We wanted to check out the city and go places that a local Philly dude/chick would go.

We decided to go in search of the World’s greatest cheesesteak.  We did our research online and with the local hotel staff.  We narrowed our list down to five : Jim’s, Geno’s, Pat’s, Tony Luke’s, or Cosmi’s Deli.  There are literally hundreds of cheesesteak eateries in Philly.  For whatever reasons (probably close proximity played a big part) we narrowed our list to two: Jim’s and Cosmi’s.  On the way out of the room we ran into a hotel staffer who I would say had a few cheesesteaks in his life.  I simply said Jim’s or Cosmi’s.  He stated you can’t go wrong with either but I’d say Jim’s.  Jim’s it was.  We were hungry and nearly drooling in search of the world’s greatest cheesesteak.

We drove the 10 minutes across the bridge to South Philly.  Upon arrival we were astonished as to how narrow the streets were.  Cars were parked on both sides and streets were one way.  One way streets makes me think of a saying my Dad always said when he’d go the wrong way on a one way on purpose of course – “One way – I’m only going one way”.

We proceeded to Jim’s steak house.  We cruised down the street and saw the majestic icon of Jim’s. The line looked to be around the block. We had found the right place.  Who’d stand in line for food with so many other places? Could this be the Philly elite?  Parking was worse than Old Town.  We finally saw a car pull out of a spot and I motored towards it with fervor.  We got the spot and paid the max allowed 2 hour parking.

IMG_2503We walked the two blocks back to Jim’s and got in line.  Not a clue as to how long the wait would be and we didn’t care.  It was a beautiful day in South Philly and we were here.  We talked to folks in line, people watched, and slathered at the mouth for the anticipated taste of the greatest Cheesesteak of all time.  We crept slowly up the line and got to the window.  We sniffed and peered inside and saw the precision workings of the creation of Jim’s cheesesteak. Things seemed to be moving like clockwork inside the people herded interior of Jim’s.

Ordering a cheese steak in Philly takes on its own language.  It is not foreign but you better know the lingo or be prepared for the wrath of the cook who takes your order.

We finally made it to the front and I was skeptical if I could get our order “correct”.  I ordered “two wiz with plus shrooms”.  If you are from Philly you know this language like you know your ABC’s.  However I had to practice a bit. Two means two.  “Wiz” means you want cheez wiz and yes that is the old school stuff that you squeeze/push out of a can much like whipped cream.  This is the Philly way and the authentic cheese for a Philly cheesesteak.  You can get other cheeses but just don’t.  “With” means you want grilled onions.  If you don’t want onions just don’t say ‘wit”.  Most stop here but Laura and I love mushrooms thus we did a plus shrooms.

The concoction was prepared right in front of us.  We proceeded down the line to pay. Jim’s accepts cash only.  We ordered a couple of brews to go with our “Phillys”.  We took our tray and went upstairs to the seating area.  Jim’s interior is all choreographed and laid out so as to move the herds in and out in a proficient subtly quick manner.

Ahhhh….the first bite, bread a little much, steak great, and cheez wiz needed more.  I’m a critic but I’ve had Al’s on Mount Vernon and his was better.  Don’t get me wrong Jim’s was great but just not the best I’ve had.  More wiz would have helped.  Next time I’m in Philly I will try another place.

Oh yeah, the Nat’s game was cool though we lost that night.   The Phillie fans weren’t as derogatory and berating as in years past.  Perhaps, because they have had several rebuilding years and are not winning as many games as Phillie fans are accustomed.

Citizen’s Park is an awesome stadium built much like National’s Park.  A plus of their stadium is that they do have a bar attached called McFadden’s for pre and post game partying. Pre-game we went there and had a few brews and after the game we went there and listened to some great live music. The minus of their stadium is that it is the home of the Phillies and their fans. Go Nats!

Leave a Reply