Cheesesteak please, hold the Freedom Fries...

It’s been a long time since I’ve been a tourist in my own town, but yesterday I decided to hit the streets of Philadelphia armed with a knowledgeable local and a camera. We visited historical Philly, including the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the oldest street in the city. We visited the homes of Betsy Ross, Ben Franklin, and Edgar Allen Poe. We hit up Rittenhouse Square, the French Quarter, Washington Square District, and even the Italian Market.

But no day in Philly is complete without two things: Tasty Kakes and cheesesteaks. Of course I hit up the first 7-11 I could find to purchase some of the sweet Philly confectionaries. A peanut butter “Kandy Kake” is chocolate-peanut butter perfection. If you haven’t had one, you must figure out how to get one outside of the Philadelphia area.

But the cheesesteak, much more renowned nationally, is equally as elusive outside the Mid-Atlantic. Geno’s has been doing the Philly Cheesesteak since 1966. Situated in South Philly across from rival Pat’s, Geno’s is the more vibrant of the two popular steak places. With a very strict ordering policy (a steak whiz with = a steak with cheese whiz and onions) and an English-only policy, it can be intimidating.

The patriotism is a little over the top (Speak English tee-shirts are only $10 and Freedom Fries are available) but the steaks are worth the $6-7. Soft bread with thinly sliced steak and melted cheese and perfectly grilled onions – what more could you want? The sandwich isn’t large by American standards, but I was surprisingly full when I finished it. And though it may seem unhealthy, there is much less grease or mess than I thought – not that I’m espousing it as health food or anything.

Maybe next time I’ll try Pat’s, but either way, I should get my fill of cheesesteaks now before I head back across the pond!