Fun In Philly

This weekend I drove across the Keystone State to visit Harrison, one of my best friends. Being an avid fan of Pittsburgh sports I usually don’t get excited when I think about Philadelphia, but in this case I was extremely looking forward to going.
I arrived to the city at about 2 in the afternoon. After navigating my way through the narrow city streets which were flooded with sloppy drivers and bold pedestrians I found Harrison, then a parking spot, and we carried my things up to his lovely apartment. A very spacious 2 bedroom with lovely wood floors and sleek white walls. Last night we did a little wandering around the streets by his apartment and went out to eat at a very cute restaurant called The Dandelion. The food was very simple and delicious. English comfort food. The menu was full of dishes full of meat and cheese and potatoes. Harrison’s french fries were fried in beef fat. Enough said. After we ate up we headed back to his apartment for a low key night in. We had a lot of catching up to do.
Today we had a lazy morning at home before we headed down to explore South Street, suggested by my father as a fun area to check out. The street was full of life. It had many shops with incredibly varied items for sale. One record store we walked into had a bargain room in the basement. Every record in that room was only 50 cents! I found two records that were worth the price. Best $1.08 I’ve spent in a long time. (The $.08 was tax…).
After we walked the entire length of South Street we looked up directions to Pat’s and Geno’s. We wanted to do some cheesesteak comparing. Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks have each trying claim the title of “Best Cheesesteak in Philadelphia” for over 50 years. Their biggest competition? Each other. They are both located in South Philadelphia directly across the intersection from one another. We first ordered at Geno’s. Opened in 1966.

The line was flowing out into the oddly shaped intersection and it took us only about 7 minutes to reach the window. Those guys know how to get their subs out efficiently. We ordered one cheesesteak with provolone cheese and onions. They handed it to us within 30 seconds fully wrapped. We grabbed it, stuck it in a bag, and walked right over to get in line for Pat’s. Around since 1930! The line at Pat’s took a bit longer but we were in the shade so at least we weren’t baking.

View of Pat's from where we were standing in line at Geno's

At Pat’s we ordered the same style cheesesteak. Provolone and onions. At Pat’s we were handed our sandwich in an open wrapper, still steaming from the heat of the griddle. As you shuffle down to the fry and drink window at Pats you can see them cooking the thinly sliced steak on griddle. At both locations, the first window is for cheesesteak orders only and the second window sells fries and drinks. We got our fries from Pat’s only. Along with two bottles of water.

Both establishments offer cheesesteaks with your choice of provolone, american, or cheese-whiz and either with or without onions. I wasn’t brave enough to get one with cheese-whiz but that was a very common selection among customers. As evidenced by the orders I overheard and the 10 empty gallon-sized cans of it siting in the corner of Pat’s. We got super lucky to snag a table so we could sit down and start our comparing. We swapped the sandwiches back and forth often so It was very easy to compare. The cheesesteak from Geno’s had thicker slices of steak, larger and harder onions, and the provolone was not melted. It held its shape very well all the way to the last bite. The cheesesteak from Pat’s had steak that was more chopped up and very moist and juicy, small and thin browned onions, and provolone that was melted. This one started getting messy from the juices of the steak. I think I have to say my favorite was from Pat’s King of Steaks. The flavors all blended much more nicely and it had a better melt-in-your-mouth quality thank Geno’s. Yummy.

After we were full of steak and bread we wandered back through Little Mexico, which then turned into Little Italy, on our way to Outfest. Outfest is the largest coming out party in the world. According to the MC making announcements on the main stage. The festival spanned about three or floor blocks with booths ranging from food vendors to jewelry stalls to Best Buy Geek Squad representatives. There were so many people walking around, chatting, and dancing and enjoying the unseasonable 80 degree and sunny weather the city is hosting today. After walking around Phily in the heat for at least 3 hours, we left Outfest once we made a complete lap and came back to the apartment to rest our legs.

And the Steelers won.