I made a quick trip to suburban Philadelphia today; in between the PHL airport and my destination was one of my favorite Philly institutions: Pat’s King of Steaks. OK, it wasn’t directly in between. But it was a small detour. And I haven’t had a Pat’s steak in a number of years, so I made it a point to indulge my craving.
For the uninitiated, Philly steaks are kind of like a sporting rivalry: who is best is a matter of considerable debate. Heated at times. And with no right answer But I’ve always been a Pat’s man. Probably because my mom is a Pat’s woman, and has been for 50+ years. Any restaurant is business for over 70 years, with a menu that reads like, “Steak. Cheese Steak. Pizza Steak. Pizza Cheese Steak… etc etc etc) has got to be good. And candidly, when I’m no longer in Philly, I can admit it: all the top contenders – Pat’s, Genos, Jim’s and more – are good. Really good.
Anyone who knows what a Mummer is, eats Tastykakes (TastyKlair rules! Just sayin’), and still can’t quite fathom that John DeBella is on MGK instead of MMR will be able tell you the secret ingredient in a Philly steak.
It’s Cheese Whiz. Yup, the one from Kraft. In a can. Take that, you Frenchies.
And “one Wiz Wit” is the way I’ve ordered my steaks my entire life.
Because of the way we’ve radically changed our family diet the past couple years, I couldn’t bear the thought of eating Wiz today. (Yeah, it really is spelled different when you put it in the context of ordering a steak. Don’t ask me why, it just is.) So today, I did something I’ve never done before in my life. I ordered mine with Provolone.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Provolone is a fine cheese. An acceptable cheese steak cheese, in fact. Nobody bats an eye when you order a steak with Provolone. It’s OK, really. And I ate it, and it was good.
But let me just say this to my Provolone steak: “I grew up on Wiz. Wiz was my friend. You sir, are no Wiz.”
It turns out that cheese (or artificial cheese food as the case may be) from a can has a place after all. And that place is on a Philly cheese steak. I’m sorry I strayed. It won’t happen again.
What’s your favorite Philly steak? Discuss!
Want great coffee? Try