Many weeks ago, I was scheduled to be in Phila, PA for one full day of meetings in Mid-February, and then come right home. Many weeks ago, I reminded the project team that I used to live in Phila, and year after year, the 2nd week of February always has a major snow storm, and I did not want to rent a car and drive, and possibly reschedule for April. One project team member (southerner) cavalierly stated that she WANTED it to snow - tempting fate, and implied that I was wimp for not wanting to drive in snow. Well, I have lived in Nashville for 15 years, and I am a southerner now, and I forgot what it is like to drive in snow. Anyway, it turns out, we did fly into our meeting, she got her wish and Phila got record breaking snow and she all of a sudden had a change of heart about driving in snow, and our flight home was cancelled for 3 days because the Phila airport need to de-snow and de-ice. She was really irritated, and I could not be happier because I now had time to visit some of my favorite restaurants in Phila.
|the bread - Amoroso|
An old haunt of mine was Jim's Cheesesteaks on South St. When I lived in Phila, South St was the place to go to the bars, restaurants, culinary shops, trinket shops, to the Theater of the Living Arts, and Jim's Cheesesteaks. Jim's used to have a line out the door, and it was standing room only to eat these things. Now, South St looks as if it has fallen on "hard times". All the awesome shops are gone, and it looks more like prostitutes and druggies have taken over. But, what still is there, is Jim's Cheesesteaks serving up traditional cheesesteaks to the tourists and locals alike. Going into Jim's seems to suspend disbelief, it felt fine inside, it was not druggie infest inside - rather it was a lot of tourist and people stuck in the city for the night, and short order cook line is the same as it ever was. The best part is that now that South St is not the "it" spot in Phila anymore, it seems to have alleviated that extreme long lines Jim's use to have. There was a line on the night we went, but it was quite manageable, and we got our meals within few minutes.
On this record breaking snowy evening, I got my usual, which is a cheesesteak with provolone, onions and mushrooms. The traditional way to get a cheesesteak is with cheese whiz, but I never prescribed to whiz orange food product, I always got provolone. I also liked fried onions. Jim's chops the steak, rather than leaving it in long tough slices. I prefer the chopped steak because it is easier to take a bite of the sandwich. Geno's leaves the steak in long tough slices, so when you bite into the sandwich, a long strand of steak comes out and flops on your chin, drips grease on your shirt, and it is a bit of disaster with steak to bread bite ratios as you go along. I like Jim's for chopping the steak and when you take a bite of Jim's cheesesteak, you get the perfect proportion of steak, cheese and bread every time.
I really like Jim's because of the Amoroso rolls used to make the sandwich, and mostly it is about the bread when it comes to a cheesesteak. Amoroso rolls, I dreamt about for years after I moved to Nashville. I stopped eating sub/hoagie sandwiches in Nashville because there wasn't good bread like Amoroso rolls. Amoroso rolls have this magical thin crispy crust that has a smooth texture on the outside which I adore. The center is light weight, but sturdy to hold a whole cheesesteak, and it is not dense or doughy like so many fakes. Amoroso rolls, how I have missed you so. There is no substitute for the Amoroso rolls when it comes to cheesesteaks. Once you have a cheesesteak on an Amoroso roll, it kind of ruins it for all the imitations. I only enjoy eating cheesesteaks on real Amoroso rolls, the perfect bread for cheesesteaks.
Had we not gotten snowed in to Phila, I would not have gotten this treat. Oh Phila Cheesesteak and Amoroso rolls, how I have missed you. I look forward to seeing you again soon, in better weather.