Eating Philly: Day Two

The food yesterday wasn’t nearly as interesting as the day before. How could it be? There were no “ordinary spices.”

Nothing memorable for breakfast, and dinner with Annette was a meal at the Independence Brew Pub in the Pennsylvania Convention Center– very good food and a nice and relaxing atmosphere, but nothing all that different from the sort of thing that we can get in Ann Arbor, basically. But I did have a unique lunch experience. I had a “cheese steak.”

“Great cities” all have some kind of great local food, and of course, the cheese steak is Philadelphia’s. I had mine– hopefully just the first– at a place called Rick’s Steaks in the Reading Terminal Market. The market is itself a great “foodie” experience: it’s a series of stalls selling produce, meat, fish, pretzels, knick-knacks, caviar, sandwiches, and so forth– damn near everything, actually. So far, I’ve spent almost as much time there as I have at the conference.

Rick’s Steaks (as they make clear with lots of signage) is owned and operated by the same family who run the famous Pat’s Steaks. Not that that would make a whole lot of difference; a cheese steak is ultimately not that complex of a dish. In any event, the line was long but moved quickly, and I ordered what was (according to a Food Network show I saw, at least) the “true” cheese steak: not with provolone or American cheese, but with Cheez Whiz.

It was great stuff: a nice soft white hoagie roll topped with thin slices of beef (and not some pressed together SteakUms kind of thing, either), onions, and the Cheez Whiz. The Whiz gave it an unusual saltiness and “cheeziness” that I enjoyed. A good and greasy mess of a sandwich.

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