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Restaurants & Bars 12

Less Than 3000 Miles to Philadelphia

Ed Fontleroy | May 21, 200303:28 PM

Having eaten about one Philly cheese-steak a day for four years of college in Philly, I have a sizable place in my heart for the sandwich (and had a sizeable gut from the sandwich). So, for the past two years I have been driving by a dirty, greasy place with a couple outdoor tables on Lincoln and Superba, in Venice. I actually can't remember the name, something like Philadelphia Hoagie something or other. But the sign also notes that it's 3000 miles to Philly. Unwilling to re-acquaint myself with the gastronomically self-destructive behavior that was the hallmark of my collegiate existence, I have avoided trying the place, until this weekend. Wow.

Upon closer inspection, I learned that as dirty and ramshackle as the place seems while driving by at 40 mph on Lincoln, it is at least as such up close. Nevertheless, the heavy odor of frying grease, meat, and onions quickly and sublimely diverts your focus. Their regular cheese-steak is served with grilled onions and pizza sauce. I ordered it without the pizza sauce and instead just put some ketchup on it, like I typically did in Philly.

It was absoluetly incredible. The bread, a very close approximation of a hoagie roll, had a deliciously crisp crust with a soft, airy interior. The steak, onions and cheese were, I can think of no other way to describe it, saturated with flavor. It also came off the grill so hot that it forced me to eat at a more deliberate pace than I might have otherwise, which just allowed me to appreciate it all the more.

It was a very sad moment when I finished and I would have gotten a second, but, alas, I had no more cash on me. Nevertheless, after I left, the flavor persisted in my mouth as feshly as if I were still eating it, which was maddening because it kept me craving more. The only thing to do was blanket the flavor by getting a soft-serve vanilla ice-cream cone in a chocolate bonnet at Foster's Freeze, which I take it is the Cal. equivalent of an East coast Dairy Queen. It worked.

Than goodness I work out five times a week and otherwise eat fairly healthy because I can't wait to do it again.

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