Philly Cheese Steak is to Lafayette Coney Island as Heaven is to Utopia

Neon light at Jim's Steaks on South St.

This is an iconic neon light at Jim's Steak's on South St. Jim's has been serving steaks and hoagies since 1939.

One of my besties came to Philadelphia for a visit, and we had a tourist-tastic weekend.  We saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Renoir show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, watched people run up the stairs of the museum to imitate Rocky, and gorged on nova lox, bagels, and kugel for breakfast.  Perhaps the thing that trumps all: I ate my very first ever Philadelphia Cheese Steak.

There is a lot of debate about who makes the best Cheese Steak, the same way there are great debates about who makes the best slider burger or Coney dog.  I describe a Philly cheese steak as chopped grilled steak bliss with your choice of cheesy goodness (Provolone, American, or…Cheese Whiz) topping only the freshest of hoagie bread rolls.  A 20-minute conversation ensued about the benefits and drawbacks of various cheeses one can enjoy on a cheese steak on the day that I posed this question to my Philadelphia friends, “Where should I get a cheese steak?”

I believe it is no accident that the city that gave us democracy, and served as the birthplace of our great nation, also gave us one of the culinary wonders of the world.  Sort of like how the city that gave us the automobile, also gave us little pistons of meat in casings…smothered in chili, onions, and yellow mustard.  Either way, its heaven on bread.

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