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My Great American Road Trip – Pennsylvania

September 20, 2020

Some states, like Oregon, offer lots of flexibility in what I should be making to honor them. And with some, like Pennsylvania, there is is only one choice. In this case, obviously, it is the Philly cheesesteak.

I’ve been to Pennsylvania a few times. Like many other locales, Philly was a regular stop on the Boston Pops Holiday tours. Those tours always overlapped with my birthday, and one year we had a day off on my birthday in Philly and several of the wonderful Pops musicians took me out to a fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant. No cheesesteak for us.

One year Hershey was also a stop, and man, after two days of chocolate themed hotel food, was I eager to leave.

I spent a lot of time in talks about a job in Philly until I did myself in by half-assing a step in the interview process. I’m sure there is some reason we can uncover for my self-sabotage, but it could just be that I didn’t want to live in Philly and/or work for that particular manager.

The last time I was in Pennsylvania, I was driving through on the way to Tennessee (you’ll hear about that trip soon). I was with my friend Lynn and her kids and we stopped at a gas station, somewhere in Amish country, for a fill-up. I pretty promptly locked the keys in our rental car. While we waited for the mechanic to come free us, we bought a deck of Pennsylvania cards to kill the time. Along with hot sauce, one of my usual take homes from a trip are souvenir cards – I have some from Iceland, the Vatican, Las Vegas, Tanglewood, the Appalachian Trail, and the Titanic Museum. I have so many others from other trips, but they seem not to have made my move.

But in all my trips to the Quaker State, the one thing I’ve never done is have a cheesesteak. It just didn’t seem like it would be my thing. (I’m not going to get into the great cheesesteak war, but even that wasn’t amusing enough to get me to order one).

I can’t win here. I’m certain some of you will hate the way I prepared the meat, others the cheese I used, others the toppings or the bread, or whatever. But here is my best shot.

The first thing you need for a Philly cheese steak is the right bread. I used a hoagie role spread with garlic butter and toasted brown. Then set aside to wait it’s turn.

Next saute chopped onions until they are very soft. Set them aside and saute thinly sliced steak in the same pan. When the steak is cooked through add back the onions, then portion the steak and onions to fit into the role and add a couple slices of provolone on top.

Then you place the role over the cheese and pinch together to pick up the whole thing so the cheese is next to the bread. I did not succeed at this step and ended up spilling onions and steak every where and then had to just jam them back into the bread.

It was hearty and quite yummy but I couldn’t eat it in one go. The best part by far was the garlicy, buttery, onion soaked bread.

I probably won’t make this one again, and I will likely not rush to order one next time I head to the City of Brotherly Love, but it was fun.

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