Tuesday, May 25, 2010

philly's best

okay, yes this is a chain restaurant. something i rarely give much time to here on this blog. but the other day meredith and i were needing a place to grab a quick bite after a bike week event at central park, and we decided to head over to philly's best, located by the del mar train station. i had heard a few good reviews of the place, and figured it was worth a shot.

now i've tried cheesesteaks in philadelphia at pat's, geno's, rick's, and jim's, so i'm no slouch when it comes to what this sandwich should taste like.

i was surprised to find that this place held their ground surprisingly well! the rolls are brought in from the east coast, and the fixin's seem legitimate too. i didn't grow up in pennsylvania, so i wasn't that excited to discover that i could purchase frank's soda, or tastykake treats, but i was impressed at the lengths they went to make philadelphians feel at home.

you'll notice in the picture above that we also ordered the pizza fries - a mess of processed cheese and tomato sauce. i'm not sure what we hoped to get, but the fries were the one part of the meal that we could have done without. they seemed very processed. i'm pretty sure we'll head back if we're ever in the neighborhood.


PulledPorker said...

Funny, the pizza fries are the only thing I've ever had from there that I did not like. The cheese was weak and the sauce added nothing to the fries.

ben wideman said...

totally agree!

Irina Netchaev said...

Ben, this looks pretty good... funny... Aaron Proctor suggested I write them up for my 365 Things page. Will stop by there one of these days... Or, you can guest post one of the 365s, what'cha think?

ben wideman said...

Ha ha! I'd love to be a guest host - but I'm not sure that I'd put Philly's best in my top 365... I've never thought about what would be included!

Irina Netchaev said...

Ben, you can pick any topic or restaurant you want. :)

Cafe Observer said...

It's good to know that Philly's best is actually right here in Southern Cal.

Jon said...

Hi Ben,

I saw this blog yesterday and decided I really needed a taste of home for lunch. So Neville and I went to give it a try. My review?

For a cheesesteak in Pasadena - 8 out of 10.

For a cheesesteak in Philly - 3 out of 10.

Don't get me wrong. It tasted pretty good, just not great. Yes, they ship in the bread from PA, but I actually think that might be the problem. The bread feels and tastes like it was frozen and thawed. Amoroso delivers rolls every morning to the hundreds of pizza places across Philly, so they are beyond fresh. You just can't duplicate that anywhere outside of the northeast.

But again, it tasted pretty good. Tip for future diners - get your cheesesteak with American cheese, not provolone or mozzarella. Provolone is way too stringy when melted, and mozzarella is a little heavy for a cheesesteak. American is best. I get the pizza sauce on mine, but others like grilled onions. Don't bother with mushrooms or peppers. We don't generally do that in Philly.

Now, I will say they do a pretty good job with the hoagies. I got a cheesesteak and a hoagie when I was there (yeah, I'm a glutton), and I saved half the hoagie for dinner. Let me tell you that after it sat in my fridge for a couple hours, it was so much better! I have no idea why.

If you get a hoagie, ask for more meat or double meat, and ask for more oil and vinegar. They were light on both. Plus, you want raw onions and oregano for a decent Philly hoagie taste.

One last thing, and then I'll end this rant - Yay for Tastykakes! So glad they sell them... I only wish they had some Tastykake lemon pies. But I guess you can't have everything when you live 3000 miles from Philly.

Thanks for the post, Ben!


ben wideman said...

Jon, so glad an actual Philadelphian rang in on this one. The last time I ate a cheesesteak in Philly was probably four or five years ago, so my memory is probably a little hazy.

I was wondering if you could get it with cheese wiz, which seems to be quite a popular option in Philly, but I guess it isn't.

Jon said...

Well, the whole "wiz" thing is popular at Pat's and Geno's, but those places are more about the experience than the actual sandwich. I never really cared for either. Plus, Philadelphians are too cultured to enjoy cheese wiz... OK, maybe not.