September 1 5, 2015
There are certain cities that are famous for certain food. Like, New York. You can’t visit New York City without trying a slice of our world famous pizza.
You can’t go to New Orleans without having a cup of fresh gumbo, or Baltimore without getting some crab cakes, or to Philly without tasting their legendary cheesesteak sandwiches.
Having little to do this past weekend, my friend and I loaded up the car, packed our elastic waist-banded pants, and drove the two hours from NYC to Philly, solely to try the 2 most famous cheesesteaks in the country from Pats and Genos.
I honestly did not know what to expect, since I am not the biggest Philly Cheesesteak fan, nor had I ever heard of Pats or Genos, but I was quickly told by everyone I came in contact with that it was an item to cross off my bucket list.
When we finally pulled up to Philly (which…isn’t that cute) we parked the car at an abandoned CVS and walked a few blocks to Passyunk Street, where both establishments are located.
The first up was Pat's.
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My friend and I decided that we would get one cheesesteak from each place and then split them in half because, according to my friend, (and unsupported by me) “We can’t each eat two whole cheesesteaks in one sitting.”
We got in line at Pats and decided we would get an original with onions and American cheese. Before I even pulled out the money from my wallet to pay, my sandwich was made, wrapped up, and sitting on a tray in front of me. It was the fastest I’d ever receive food in my life, and I frequently call ahead to Taco Bell. I picked up the sandwich, thanked the lady, and we walked 100 feet away to Genos.
Genos was a little bit more crowded, with a much more confusing set up. Here, I demanded that we get a cheesesteak with the “famous” cheese whiz drenched on top. Once both of our sandwiches were in hand, we found a nearby picnic table to sit at and dive in.
I started off with Genos, the one with the whiz, and took a few gulping bites while my friend picked at the one from Pats. After a few chews, we graciously traded sandwiches and tasted the other and then went to discuss our feelings.
It might have been the inclement weather, or it might have been the long drive, but we both kind of sat there, ate the remainder of the sandwiches and just shrugged and said, “Alright.”
It’s not that they were terrible…but they just were not what I was thinking. They were each made to completion in 12 seconds, with the ingredients just thrown into a cold, stale hoagie. They both skimped on the meat AND the cheese, leaving me hungry and dissatisfied. I feel that I could have gotten a better cheesesteak at a Hard Rock Café.
Even though the Philly Cheesesteaks were not what I was expecting, they were still good enough to travel for and write a blog post about. It was really great visiting a new city, meeting a few of the locals, and finally seeing the Liberty Bell! I do suggest that if you are a Philly Cheesesteak fan, you make the drive for the day to visit both Pats and Genos just to say you did it. But don’t let you friend talk you into sharing one.
And the verdict?
Although it is tough to say, and my opinion may had changed if we got both sandwiches exactly the same but my favorite of the two was the cheese whiz and grilled onions from Genos.
Where else should I travel for an amazing and famous meal? Let me know!