Culinary cage match: Philly Cheesesteak

Stomachs, let's get ready to rumble!

With the Philadelphia Phillies as the new World Series champions, there may be a few fans who long for that great Philly comfort food, the cheesesteak. Like the sandwich itself, the origins of the Philly cheesesteak are somewhat murky, which, once snapped shut, should never be opened even slightly. Whether you want provolone (“provo”) instead of Cheese Whiz (“wiz”), don’t forget the fried onions (“wit”). Of course, here in Miami, you can dispense with the Philadelphia-ese, and just order in Spanish, like everyone else.

Two recent hangover-curing meals consisted of the Philly “delicacy” from two spots on the Upper Eastside that both cater to somewhat eclectic crowds. The first is Eastside Pizza, which serves up a lot of late-night favorites to police officers and stoned locals, who either get the goods to go or sit out on the brightly lit patio. This is a somewhat sophisticated sandwich, encased in an almost delicate 12-inch French bread-like roll. There’s not too much meat and not too much cheese, but it’s seasoned pretty nicely and won’t give you that major agita (the usual pairing), especially when you order it “wit.” Although it’s certainly not Philly authentic, sometimes “not greasy” can be the biggest compliment when it comes to cheesesteak.

At Kingdom, the Queen or King cheesesteak comes with all the fried accoutrements you could want, and it’s served open-faced on crunchy grilled French bread, which is both bold and breathtaking. It’s a handful, and the boulevardiers who stroll by will nod in knowing complicity as you wipe off the copious grill-juices that slather out of the sandwich and down your wrists. We know that Phillies fans, and all cheesesteak lovers, will feel welcome at either of these establishments, even if they’re 1200 miles from South Philly’s legendary Pat’s, Geno’s and the muddy Schuylkill. Pass the Wiz.

Published: 10/08

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