Having spent a large part of my childhood in South Jersey and the Philly area, I had access to some of the best hot subs and sandwiches anyone can get anywhere. And because food is such a favorite topic of mine, I tend to incorporate it into my writing. A lot.
Extreme Honor and the True Heroes series is set just north of Phildelphia, so how could I not work in Philly Cheese Steaks? They’re iconic to the area. What I’m about to share with you are my favorites from childhood into adulthood.
I have no idea if these places are still in business or still as good as I remember. If they’re not, please don’t tell me. But if they are or if you’ve got recommendations for as good (or better!) I’d love to hear about them!
First up was close to my childhood home and not in Philly. It was a local deli called DiStefano’s in South Jersey. I could walk there from home and did, often, after school and on the weekends. The rolls were fresh and the steak was good quality. I’d order a cheesesteak with mushrooms and a side of cheese fries. Both the cheesesteak and the fries were with Whiz. Every bite was melty, cheesy, steaky goodness. Never dry. Always flavorful.
Next are the cheesesteaks at Jim’s on South Street in Philly. Back in high school, the cool kids would talk about heading to South Street after the prom to get cheese steaks at Jim’s. Personally, I wasn’t allowed to go until I was in college at Trenton State College and didn’t have to ask for permission anymore. It was worth the wait and the effort to get to South Street though. Jim’s cheese steaks featured ultra thin slized steak and fantastic toppings. It was nice to be able to go upstairs for seating too. I tended to order a cheesesteak with fried onions and fried mushrooms with provolone. Always tasty and satisfying. I added ketchup to the second half of my cheesesteak to change things up halfway through demolishing it.
Finally, for me, there’s Tony Luke’s. Plenty of seating as compared to a lot of the other places. The rolls are crusty and fresh. The steak is hearty. It’s a toss up as to whether I order mine with Whiz or with provolone. It really depends on my mood. I still get mushrooms. Tony Luke’s has a pickle bar though and I love to take my fresh, hot cheese steak over there and hit it with ketchup then stuff it with random pickles here and there for a pop of flavor.
The classic cheese steak is always good. Sometimes, giving a few quirky add ons a try is totally worth it. Either way, to have the real cheese steak experience, I always head back to the Philly area. Any sandwich, anywhere else, just isn’t a Philly cheese steak for me.
So, have you tried a real Philly Cheese Steak yet? Where? And how do you like yours?
Hot military heroes, the women who love them, and the dogs that always have their backs. EXTREME HONOR is the first book in a high adrenaline contemporary suspense series from Piper J. Drake.
HONOR, LOYALTY, LOVE
David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs. The ex-soldier’s toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope’s Crossing kennel can break through the animal’s grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility . . . and into Atlas’s heart. David hates to admit that the curvy blonde’s mesmerizing effect isn’t limited to canines. But when Lyn’s work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.
Lyn realizes that David’s own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he’s gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else-and he’s willing to put his hard-wired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn’t want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both . . .