Monday, June 14, 2010

"Steak with Whiz, please."

I was in Philadelphia visiting a buddy a few weeks back; I hadn't been to City of Brotherly Love (based on its sports fan, I don't know how this city keeps that title) for nearly 10 years, but the one thing I remembered vividly was the mean cheesesteak I had.

Upon meeting up with my buddy my one request was that we had the best cheesesteak in town that he knew of. Agreed. We cruised the downtown area for a while and then headed for South Philly to a place called Jim's Steaks off South Street. We got there and the line was out the door and around the corner. It started to rain, and yet, the line persisted. There was a place across the street that also served cheesesteaks and for cheaper, but the place was empty. Apparently there was no competition for Jim's. The worst part of the wait was that the corner window was all glass, looking in at the guy behind the grill, working on onions, peppers and steak. It was a brutal wait – but it was well worth it.

I was educated by a woman behind me in line that "steak with Whiz," as in Cheez Whiz, was the way to go. But you didn't call it Cheez Whiz, simply Whiz. I was also informed that you approach the counter with your order ready and that you speak with clarity. There's no second-guessing or rereading the menu. Apparently they run that place with Soup Nazi-like diligence.

I'd sacrifice a cab driver for a Jim's cheesesteak right now.

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