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 Philadelphias 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 Yorks Penn Station at 1:30.
I stopped at Manganaros 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 Jims 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 Jims 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 Jims washed down by a Yuengling, we headed out walking for Genos.
At Genos we opted for splitting one sandwich. Upon biting into Genos, it was clear that the roll was of a slightly better quality than Jims as was the meat. However, there were few onions and not enough whiz. Also, we preferred Jims approach of chopping of the meat to let the flavors meld together.
Pats offered a better roll than either Jims or Genos, as much whiz as Jims, not as many onions as Jims but more than Genos and meat of a quality near to that of Genos. It was good, but we still preferred Jims. We clearly saw this as an instance of and the whole being better than a sum of the parts. The individual parts at Pats and Genos were better, but Jims had a flavor and texture we preferred.
We left Pats 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 mens 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 Gaetanos sold cheesesteaks at the Vet, as I had seen advertised.
With room for a little more food, we headed for Tony Lukes and ordered the Roast Pork with Broccoli Rabe and Cheese. While the cheese steaks were nice, this sandwich was better. Why cant 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 Ive 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 Doyles Corner, also the name of bar near my home. It had a decent selection of beer. We opted for another round of Yuenglings 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.