Philadelphia Stories and Tips

The Cheese Steak

I love cheese steaks. Philadelphia is supposedly the birth- place of the cheese steak and you are unable to travel too far without smelling that greasy cheesy delight. I’m happy I live in the Philadelphia area, because there are so many great places to get a good cheese steak. So many in fact that I can’t share all of them, but I will give you a little lesson on what makes a good cheese steak.

The Meat
The meat should be good-quality beef. It should be sliced thin and not overcooked. Overcooking will make the meat dry.

The Roll
We once had relatives visit from Tennessee. They couldn’t wait to eat a real Philly cheese steak. Someone offered to go buy some cheese steaks from their favorite place. When they came back we discovered that their favorite place served their cheese steaks on pretzel rolls. We were so upset that we had to take our relatives out the next night just to make up for our friend’s blunder.

The roll should be a fresh bakery sub roll. It should be white bread and not pretzel bread. The inside should be able to absorb all the wonderful grease, and the outside should be just a little chewy. A bad roll can ruin a good cheesesteak.

The Cheese
There are three main cheesesteak cheeses. You have American, Provolone, and Cheese Wiz. They say Cheese Wiz is the official Philly cheesesteak topping. I must admit that I think it overpowers the steak, and I go for the American cheese. My favorite cheesesteak places will blend the cheese in with the steak as it cooks. This makes the cheese extra melted. Some eateries place the cheese on the top at the end or in the roll first. Although this isn’t bad, I think blending the cheese in gives it something special.

The Toppings and Add-Ins
There are a number of things to add on your steak. My steak wouldn’t be complete without fried onions. Others prefer fried peppers or mushrooms. Feel free to mix and match your fried choices. The cheesesteak hoagie is also popular. Your cheesesteak will be delivered to you with raw onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. I guess if you’re going to eat all that cheese and grease, you might as well put a salad on top.

To Ketchup or not to Ketchup
I will put this dilemma into simple terms. Putting ketchup on your cheesesteak is like putting sugar in your ice tea. You should taste your cheesesteak first to see if it is needed. Ketchup can be used to moisten dry steak, or you may want to add it to sweeten things up a bit. The overall opinion in Philly is that a really good cheese steak will not need ketchup. It’s your choice.

In conclusion, cheesesteaks are delicious. You should go to Philadelphia, where you can learn how to be a cheesesteak aficionado too.

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