I'm from Philly. So cheesesteaks, or at least the appreciation, the craving, the nostalgia, for them, is in my DNA. It's my favorite food (besides a Maryland soft shell crab). They're hard to fuck up, at least in the Three Corners that I love and miss so dear, that Philadelphia/South Jersey/Northern Delaware region. I've heard it's our water that somehow adds the perfect component to the ingredients of that deliciously dusted Italian roll from Amoroso's, that is oh so crucial. So I say, anywhere you go in this region, any old pizza shop or deli, you're gonna get a good cheesesteak when you order it. A GOOD one. But to get the exceptional, the superb, the best, you would need to go to a place in South Philly called John's Roast Pork. Pat's Steaks, being a close second. Besides a fictional movie character, it's our claim to fame. It's what we do. Never mind the fact that we birthed America back in the 1770s. No, the cheesesteak is our life blood. I mean, seriously, it's everything you want and need in a meal. You got your carbs in the roll, your protein within that delicious trans fatty meat that drips with protein packed cheese like the aftermath of a drenching cholesterol monsoon, and, if you're like me, you got your veggies too. For any cheesesteak absent the sauteed onions is a travesty.
But alas, I'm in Connecticut now. And needless to say, I would never order a cheesesteak anywhere in New England, let alone anywhere north of the I-195 corridor that separates New Jersey culturally, and so perfectly.
The closest thing, though, I've had up here, is not the pizza that New Haven is so famous for. They say, boldly, that it's the best pizza in the world. I don't know about that. Literally. Just not sure, for I've never had Chicago's, and I'm fairly certain there's plenty of best kept pizza secrets throughout the land. I will say, though, that New Haven has excellent pizza, and the best in my opinion is at a bar/brewery/night club/restaurant called, well, Bar. No, the closest thing to a cheesesteak up here is a good old cheeseburger from Ted's Restaurant in Cromwell. The place has been around since the 50s, which, right there is respect. They also STEAM cook the patties, which I believe at least partly contributes to the succulent taste. But I think the other part to this is one simple fact: the meat comes from grass-fed cows. Now, even a four year old can tell you this answer, when you ask the very basic question, What do cows eat?
Yes, seems like a no-brainer. But that answer, at least here in 'Merica, is dead wrong.
Cows want to eat grass. They're supposed to eat grass. But for a long time now, we've been feeding them grains and other unnatural shit to maximize output, or, profit.
And to our detriment.
For, for so long, we were told that red meat is bad. It causes everything from obesity to high blood pressure, diabetes to cancer. But let's give our cow friends some slack. There is nothing wrong with a little beef every now and then. It's what we've been feeding them for so long now that is wrong. And unnatural.
So go out and make some burgers for your bbq, or a nice homemade meat loaf. Just remember to get grass-fed. And do yourself a tasty favor and add some chopped yellow onions to the mix. At least for me, meat and yellow onion go hand in hand.
But if you ever find yourself, as a tourist, in my great city one day, standing in a line of drunken hungry people at Pat's Steaks at 1:00 am... Don't ask for grass-fed meat.
You might get beat up.