Restaurants & Bars


My quick trip to Philly


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My quick trip to Philly

Beec | Jun 12, 2003 09:47 AM

As previously stated, myself and a friend has planned to go to the Expos vs. Phillies game, on Saturday, May 31, 2003, just to go to the Vet while it still stood. With a few hours to spare, we sought to indulge in some of Philadelphia’s native cuisine and did a little research on this board and elsewhere. Initially, we sought cheese steaks but were considering the roast pork sandwiches too. We made reservations on Amtrak and agreed to meet in New York’s Penn Station at 1:30.

I stopped at Manganaro’s Groceria, near Penn Station, for a sandwich to get us warmed up on the trip down (prosciutto, sopressata, smoked mozzarella and roasted peppers on foccaccia). A nice sandwich if you are in the neighborhood, but it's in NYC.

Upon our arrival, we headed directly to Jim’s Steaks. The rain had apparently kept the crowds down, so it was not too bad getting there. We had decided to stick with the tradition in our tastings and opted to go with whiz and onions, nothing else. A bite into Jim’s convinced us that whiz was the right option. A layer of unmelted cheese slices below the meat would not have allowed the tastes to come together. Also, the artificially strong whiz taste was tempered by the steak. After eating a whole at Jim’s washed down by a Yuengling, we headed out walking for Geno’s.

At Geno’s we opted for splitting one sandwich. Upon biting into Geno’s, it was clear that the roll was of a slightly better quality than Jim’s as was the meat. However, there were few onions and not enough whiz. Also, we preferred Jim’s approach of chopping of the meat to let the flavors meld together.

Pat’s offered a better roll than either Jim’s or Geno’s, as much whiz as Jim’s, not as many onions as Jim’s but more than Geno’s and meat of a quality near to that of Geno’s. It was good, but we still preferred Jim’s. We clearly saw this as an instance of and the whole being better than a sum of the parts. The individual parts at Pat’s and Geno’s were better, but Jim’s had a flavor and texture we preferred.

We left Pat’s with about an hour to game time. We headed toward Broad St. then headed south looking for a subway station. While walking, the rain changed from an on and off mist into a downpour. As we were not in a rush, we looked for a refuge from the storm.

The first one we came across was the Dolphin Tavern on Broad near Tasker, a place we liked if only for the cheap beer and old-school atmosphere, in particular the trough urinal and sign in the men’s room “Tissues, Soap and Towels from Bartender.” While sitting at the bar, we saw an entrance for the subway and headed for it once our beers were finished.

We arrived at the Vet, entered the stadium and located our seats. It was still raining, so we stayed under cover and got a Red Bell beer. Except for a few minutes spent drying off our seats and two minutes sitting in our seats, all we did was stay under cover and walk around the Vet. We dried off our seats the one time the tarp came off the infield and sat for a few minutes afterward watching the tarp be pulled back over the infield. Shortly after 8:00, the game was called and we left disappointed that the game was not played. My other disappointment was in not finding anyplace were Gaetano’s sold cheesesteaks at the Vet, as I had seen advertised.

With room for a little more food, we headed for Tony Luke’s and ordered the Roast Pork with Broccoli Rabe and Cheese. While the cheese steaks were nice, this sandwich was better. Why can’t I get this in New York?? And if I can, where is it?? As good as it was, there was a little room for improvement. However, the sandwich was not the best put together that I’ve had. All the broccoli rabe and cheese were concentrated on one side with the pork on the other. This is nit-picking though. The meat, broccoli rabe and sharp provolone combination was great. The pork was nicely seasoned and tender. Next time I am in Philly, this is the sandwich I will look for. Delicious.

We jumped into a passing cab and headed back toward 30th St. station. We had about an hour to the next train and went looking for a beer. Across the street from the station, we saw the neon lights from Doyle’s Corner, also the name of bar near my home. It had a decent selection of beer. We opted for another round of Yuengling’s which were delivered in pints costing $2. As I have not had a bar charge me less than $4 in NYC for years, we enjoyed this bargain then headed for the train.

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