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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jim's Philly Cheesesteaks, Philadelphia PA


Jim's Steaks, Philadelphia
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Blogging about pizza was making me hungry and also making me realize how important history and food can be to an enjoyable travel experience.

History and food intersect in Philadelphia PA in the form of the Philly Cheeseteaks - a delicious but artery clogging combination of chopped (or, less often, sliced) beef, smothered in melted cheese (usually Cheese Whiz), and served on a large hot dog style bun.

This is not exactly fine dining, but you'd be missing something to visit Philadelphia without enjoying one of these local bad boys.


It took some research to settle my curiousity about competing claims as to who invented the Cheesesteak. No less than the New York Times says it was probably Pat and Jim Olivieri, formerly of of Pat's King of Steaks.

Jim's Steaks is one of Philadelphia's most popular restaurants, though it's more like a huge hole in the wall with limited seating and huge lines. But folks keep on coming because Jim's is known as among the top purveyors of the legendary Philly Cheesteak - chopped meat and cheese served in a bun. Was this line, which snaked around the building to the left and had about 50 people waiting, the lunch rush? Nope, we were there in the middle of the afternoon.

First American Style Pizza?

You've got to love the internet. I was reading the blog DIGG co-founder Owen Byrne, noted the interesting Pizzaria picture at the top, could not make out the name, Googled the address, and wound up at Lombardi's Pizza in New York, which claims to be the world's first American Style Pizza and still the best as rated by Zagats and other sources:



In 1897 an Italian immigrant reinvented a Napoletana staple food into one of the worlds most eaten foods. New York City was the birth place of New York style pizza. During the year of 1905, Lombardi's was licensed by the City of New York, becoming America's First Pizzeria.



Hey, is this important history or what?



I should note that claims like this are not necessarily undisputed. In Philadelphia it seems there are a lot more than *one* inventor of the Philly Cheesesteak, but more about that on the next post....
 

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