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Kibbee Nayee

Philly-Style Sandwiches

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Philadelphia sandwiches that I love, and that are not really available in our area in their precise forms:

1. John's Roast Pork

2. Italian Hoagie

3. Italian Roast Beef

4. Philly Cheesesteak

5. The Schmitter

If someone were to open a place that offers these five sandwiches without silly names and with genuine composition, that would be a winner.

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2 minutes ago, funkyfood said:

@Kibbee NayeeI'm certainly no expert on the subject, but do the versions at bub and pops not suffice?

Still too cutesy with the names -- The Hebrew Hammer? -- a decent hoagie, a passable cheesesteak, and no Schmitter.

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8 minutes ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

Still too cutesy with the names -- The Hebrew Hammer? -- a decent hoagie, a passable cheesesteak, and no Schmitter.

You don't need Philly sandwiches when you have The Canopy (website - order rare, with bbq sauce and horseradish, and scarf it in your car driving home (with fries if you want to feel extra guilty) - make sure to have at least one additional sandwich for later). 

I've been here twice this year, and it's just as good as it was 10-15 years ago - exactly the same, actually.

When I first went to John's Roast Pork (thanks to ol_ironstomach), I was enthralled; my enthusiasm has waned on my last two visits (I generally go here as I'm driving back to DC, since it's in South Philly, and sort-of close to I-95). They use tongs and pull fully cooked, pre-roasted pork out of a vat of liquid - if you think about it, how good could that really be? I love the sharp provolone, the broccoli rabe, and the rolls, and yes I'll continue going, but the pork itself is kind of overrated.

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

You don't need Philly sandwiches when you have The Canopy (website - order rare, with bbq sauce and horseradish, and scarf it in your car driving home (with fries if you want to feel extra guilty) - make sure to have at least one additional sandwich for later). 

I've been here twice this year, and it's just as good as it was 10-15 years ago - exactly the same, actually.

When I first went to John's Roast Pork (thanks to ol_ironstomach), I was enthralled; my enthusiasm has waned on my last two visits (I generally go here as I'm driving back to DC, since it's in South Philly, and sort-of close to I-95). They use tongs and pull fully cooked, pre-roasted pork out of a vat of liquid - if you think about it, how good could that really be? I love the sharp provolone, the broccoli rabe, and the rolls, and yes I'll continue going, but the pork itself is kind of overrated.

Took the family to John's last December and enjoyed the roast pork sammy a lot. NB: Unlike many other top Philly roast pork purveyors, John's actually uses garlicky spinach instead of broccoli rabe. Locals rate it very highly. NB2: The rest of the gang got meatball sammies and they were excellent. Next visit I'd like to try the roast pork at DiNic's in RTM.

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2 hours ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

Philadelphia sandwiches that I love, and that are not really available in our area in their precise forms:

1. John's Roast Pork

2. Italian Hoagie

3. Italian Roast Beef

4. Philly Cheesesteak

5. The Schmitter

If someone were to open a place that offers these five sandwiches without silly names and with genuine composition, that would be a winner.

KN:   Are you a stickler for an original and don't like variations?   That is an honest question.  I ask based on two things that come to mind.  On a cheesesteak I've had a healthy number of philly cheesesteaks both in Philly and at the South Jersey shore.   I've had what I considered better ones and ones that are true to the original.

In my case I had a cheesesteak at Ray's a while back (or maybe it should have been called a steak and cheese) that had such a great combo of meat and gooey cheesy cheese, it blew me away...better than those I had had before.  It was not an original.  But in my case I would happily switch to it.   How do you react to incidents like that?

The other one I noted was with the Earl's Cuban Club...a significant variation on a Cuban.  It is NOT a Cuban.  But in my mind it is a killer sandwich which takes each component of a Cuban and does wonders with variations on each component and the whole.   Have you had one?   What is your reaction?

Just curious.

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1 hour ago, DaveO said:

KN:   Are you a stickler for an original and don't like variations?   That is an honest question.  I ask based on two things that come to mind.  On a cheesesteak I've had a healthy number of philly cheesesteaks both in Philly and at the South Jersey shore.   I've had what I considered better ones and ones that are true to the original.

In my case I had a cheesesteak at Ray's a while back (or maybe it should have been called a steak and cheese) that had such a great combo of meat and gooey cheesy cheese, it blew me away...better than those I had had before.  It was not an original.  But in my case I would happily switch to it.   How do you react to incidents like that?

The other one I noted was with the Earl's Cuban Club...a significant variation on a Cuban.  It is NOT a Cuban.  But in my mind it is a killer sandwich which takes each component of a Cuban and does wonders with variations on each component and the whole.   Have you had one?   What is your reaction?

Just curious.

I'm a purist. I grew up in Lancaster, an hour's drive from Philly. I like some variations, but the simple Philly cheesesteak is a classic. The others are knockoffs, and some of them are fine, but I'm nostalgic for the real deal.

I find that the Italian hoagie comes closest to the real deal around here. If the bread is right, the rest is straightforward enough to copy. But please just call it an Italian hoagie, not some cutesy name.

And the Schmitter has never, to my knowledge, been attempted down here in DC.

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26 minutes ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

This guy just ate 16 cheesesteaks in 12 hours, which is death-defying. He declared Tony Luke's the best.

Has anyone eaten at the Pentagon outpost?

Tony Luke's is expanding to the point where it's impossible to maintain quality - sometimes (if you're lucky), places retain quality at their original location, just not to tick off their long-time customers, but I wouldn't count on it.

Can we also agree that there's a fundamental, irreconcilable chasm between "Cheez-Whiz People" and "Provolone People?" 

I don't care how authentic some people say it is - to me, Cheez Whiz is orange, liquid Spam, and I wouldn't eat it unless I was dying.

Todd Kliman and I once went to all three Jaleos in one evening, ordering Gambas al Ajillo, Tortilla Espagñola, and Patatas Bravas at each to see if they were consistent - ugh - this was my bright idea, and I wish he'd dismissed it. Ugh ugh ugh, now that I think about it, I did the same thing with Jamie Liu and pizza (I kind of liked the title, "Fab Forno.") These days of Gonzo restaurant reviews are behind me now, thank God.

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1 minute ago, DonRocks said:

Can we also agree that there's a fundamental, irreconcilable chasm between "Cheez-Whiz People" and "Provolone People?" 

I don't care how authentic some people say it is - to me, Cheez Whiz is orange, liquid Spam, and I wouldn't eat it unless I was dying.

I agree. Never have I ever uttered the words "Whiz wit" in my life. Give me provolone every time.

Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia should get a shout-out. Carmen's and Spataro's are two of the better cheesesteaks I've enjoyed. Wit-out Whiz.

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The list includes "Italian Roast Beef".  Is that the same thing as "Hot Italian Beef"?  If so, I had always thought that that was a Chicago specialty.  If not, can you describe the difference, if you have had both?

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Can we also agree that there's a fundamental, irreconcilable chasm between "Cheez-Whiz People" and "Provolone People?" 

I don't care how authentic some people say it is - to me, Cheez Whiz is orange, liquid Spam, and I wouldn't eat it unless I was dying.

1 hour ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

I agree. Never have I ever uttered the words "Whiz wit" in my life. Give me provolone every time.

Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia should get a shout-out. Carmen's and Spataro's are two of the better cheesesteaks I've enjoyed. Wit-out Whiz.

I ate a hefty amount of Philly Cheesesteaks back in the day.  I always thought cheese whiz  s*cked.  But what the heck.  I ate them.  My mind is taking me to a direction that is a little racy...a little profane.   I'll stop there. 

Hellburger did an incredible cheesesteak with quality meat, ridiculously better quality cheese that was heaped on gloppy all over the sandwich and better by a factor of 1 million plus ample fried onions in the sandwich.  It should have gone into the cheesesteak hall of fame for quality.   Had they served that consistently at the South Jersey shore Atlantic City would be thriving.

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17 minutes ago, JBag57 said:

The list includes "Italian Roast Beef".  Is that the same thing as "Hot Italian Beef"?  If so, I had always thought that that was a Chicago specialty.  If not, can you describe the difference, if you have had both?

Well, both are Italian beef sandwiches. I think the differences are subtle.

My definition -- others may have their own definition -- is that Chicago is sliced roast beef on a roll, dipped in the jus, and covered in giardiniera. In Philly, the beef is usually wet, but the whole sandwich isn't always dipped, and is served on a round kaiser bun. Also in Philly, you're not likely to see giardiniera as a topping, but you are more likely to see ketchup as a topping. You almost never see ketchup as the topping in Chicago.

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I think a big difference between Italian beef in Chicago and Philly roast beef is that the former is usually uses meat roasted well in advance, refrigerated, sliced super thin in a deli slicer and brought back to life in the hot jus. And then dipped to some extent in the same jus.

A Philly roast beef sandwich is just a freshly roasted warm sandwich but it's called a Philly roast beef sandwich because they're kind of up their own asses with the civic pride in their food thing 🙂Sliced warm, kaiser roll, horseradish, maybe cheese, maybe hots?

I've definitely had good ones up there though. Like the Cherry Street Tavern's  

20111014-philly-cherry-street-roast-beef

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Not to be forgotten is that ketchup is the national condiment of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A righteous Pennsylvania restaurant will have salt, pepper, and ketchup on every table. Heinz may hail from the western portion of the state, but it is the official brand of Pennsylvania ketchup. And only in Pennsylvania is ketchup on a hot dog acceptable.

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I've said it before and I'll say it again; the closest you are going to get to a real Philadelphia Hoagie in the Washington DC area is Primo Hoagies in Leesburg, VA. Just down the road from Melt Burgers, Primos is a Philadelphia chain, but a completely legitimate chain. 

They have several types of Italian Hoagies and the ones with the sharp provolone are amazing. 

The bread isn't Amorosos (but then, neither was Taylor Gourmet's after a while) but its very good. 

Considering Sarcones Deli in Philadelphia has closed, Primo's is my go to spot. 

PrimoHoagies Leesburg, VA

703-771-6398

210 A Fort Evans Rd
LeesburgVA 20176

I'll also throw out there, if I'm getting a Cheesesteak in the Washington DC area, it's going to be at Capriotti's in Rosslyn VA. They're known for "The Bobbie" but their Cheesesteak is very respectable and rarely mentioned in discussions like this. 

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1 hour ago, buzzy said:

I'll also throw out there, if I'm getting a Cheesesteak in the Washington DC area, it's going to be at Capriotti's in Rosslyn VA. They're known for "The Bobbie" but their Cheesesteak is very respectable and rarely mentioned in discussions like this. 

Don't forget Santini's, which is a Northern Virginia chain - it's really pretty good, especially considering there are multiple locations.

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I like how this thread has explored iconic Philly sandwiches.

A few miles west in Lancaster, there are a few semi-iconic sandwiches that you'll rarely see anywhere else. Liverwurst, or braunschweiger, with onion and mustard on rye -- that's a Lancaster sandwich. Lebanon sweet bologna with mustard on white bread is also a Lancaster classic. Or fried bologna/scrapple/ham loaf (your pick) with onions on a bun.

I post this on September 27th -- Lancaster was the capital of the United Staes for one day on September 27, 1777.

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