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Feb 21, 2008 07:33 AM

The great cheesesteak debate...what would you trade it for?

I'm a native Philadelphian and really enjoy not only eating the cheesesteaks but debating about them. Over the last 20 or so years I've traveled to Memphis several times a year and have to admit that if I had to make a choice between a Philly cheesesteak and Memphis pork BBQ, I'd have to take the Memphis pork BBQ every time.

Is there any regional cuisine you'd trade that cheesesteak for?

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  1. I would gladly trade half of the cheesesteak purveyors in town for a decent Southern BBQ joint and a good Chicago deep dish pizza place.

    1. I love (good) cheesesteaks too, but here's what I crave every now and then...

      New Orleans food like jambalaya, muffalettas, or po boys.

      A Chicago hot dog (dragged through the garden).

      16 Replies
      1. re: Philly Ray

        Philly Ray I was reading this post and trying to decide whether or not to respond, and before I could decide you took the words right out of my keyboard! A muffaletta or a good oyster po boy would be worth the trade (I make a mean jambalaya and red beans and rice, so I've got that covered)

        1. re: Bigley9

          i don't know if i could trade a (good) cheesesteak completely...BUT oh yes, if i could do an every other kinda trade i'd be right there with the po'boy for sure. every single time i hit new orleans, the first thing i do after dropping my bags at a friend's house or hotel is go straight for a po'boy and crawfish at frankie and johnny's...yum.

          1. re: smackdown

            so in 37 minutes we have three folks who want a really good NO food in Phila - any good NO chefs listening???

            1. re: Bigley9

              There used to be a place in Aston, PA called the Gumbo Shoppe that made very good creole fare for takeout, supposedly they moved to the city over the summer and are now in business on Wolf St. between 9th and 10th, but I haven't been there since they moved.

              1. re: Buckethead

                Ok, I live near 12th and Snyder and I saw that NO place on Wolf St. At first, I thought it was a mirage and then I thought it was another Italian place in disguise, but now I'll have to check them out and give a report.

                Still though, what an odd location to move to for cajun/creole food.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  That's what I thought when they moved, and they were always very successful in Aston as far as I could tell, I'm not sure what prompted it. They make a good crawfish bisque.

                  1. re: Buckethead

                    No dice (or is it No beads??). I walked over to "Mardi Gras Cafe" and not only was the place closed there was an eviction notice taped in the window (looked like back rent was owed).

                    Maybe they should have stayed in Aston.

        2. re: Philly Ray

          Yeah...a sandwich from Mothers in New Orleans with the debris and a hamburger from the Camellia Grill!

          Also, with Pasion going under, the ceviche options in town have dwindled to a few...

          1. re: bluehensfan

            well on that note, wouldn't you know i found this in the Inquirer today in Table Talk on what's coming soon:
            "Les Bons Temps (that's the name of the Creole-Cajun spot from Carmine's John Mims and Howard Taylor) at 114 S. 12th St" and "H.I. Rib & Co., a casual, New Orleans-jazz-theme American grill, is under construction for a June opening at 505 W. Ridge Pike, Conshohocken"

            1. re: bluehensfan

              I agree about the ceviche. I'm hoping that Pernod took his magic to Cuba Libre, but I haven't been able to get there to see. Has anyone had ceviche at Xochitl? Is it any good?

              1. re: Philly Ray

                Being a Mainer, I'll take a Lobster Roll. I will never "get" the cheesesteak obsession. With that said, having spent quite a bit of time in NO, give me a big bowl of seafood gumbo or an oyster po'boy!!

                1. re: crazyspice

                  Yes, as a Mainer you will never get the cheesesteak thing. My wife who's a Memphian will never get the cheesesteak thing.

                  1. re: Den

                    Crazyspice, how about a crab, scallop or shrimp roll? Fried clams? Red snapper hot dogs? A real Eyetalian?

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Hey, as long as it is on the "right" type of roll!

            2. re: Philly Ray

              I agree- it's hard to duplicate the NOLA specialties, but I had to post today after eating a sandwich that was pretty damn close to the muffalettas I've had in NOLA.
              Countryside Market in Swarthmore has a sandwich called the Countryside that I've been wanting to try since the owner once told me he modeled it after Central Grocery. I went today and tried the hot version (I prefer it cold, usually, but I'm pregnant and can't have cold lunchmeat). It was awesome! A little thinner on the meat and cheese than the NOLA version, but the bread was a very good match and the olive salad was perfect. I'd had muffalettas on the brain for weeks now and this nailed the craving for me!

              Thought I'd share!

            3. I would NOT trade a John's Roast Pork cheesesteak for anything. Go Phillies!

              7 Replies
              1. re: OlderPhiladelphian

                I partly agree but have you tried Memphis BBQ?

                1. re: Den

                  Or the soft pretzel, or the Tastycake, or cheese whiz, etc, etc. My husband will take southern BBQ any time.

                  1. re: crazyspice

                    Stop!!! You're making me hungry and I'm stuck in the hinterlands, (MN)!! As much as I like living here, sometimes I'd kill to get a "real" hoagie or cheesesteak. My mother grew up in the Philly area and we traveled back just about every year during the holidays to be with family there. Since my grandparents died, my trips, unfortunately have become few and far between. Thanks for letting me stroll down memory lane, someone have a hoagie and think of me for lunch, please!!

                    1. re: jrob

                      Sorry! I forgot to put the hoagie on my list. I guess I should have added Goldenberg's Peanut Chews as well.

                      1. re: crazyspice

                        peanut chews... those were the days. i can only imagine the amount of dental work those would yank out of my mouth if i tried to eat one now!

                    2. re: crazyspice

                      Oh yum on the southern bbq. I lived in Texas years ago and I ate bbq almost on a daily basis it was soooooooooo good. I love cheesesteaks but would give them up in a heartbeat for some Texas bbq.

                2. I make a much better philadelphian than californian (BTDT), but i miss the burrito places in california much more than i missed cheesteaks when i was out there.
                  not that you *can't* get an ok to good burrito here, it's just the sheer number of good, cheap burrito places that's lacking. i probably ate 5 burritos a week when i lived there. yeah, i'd make that trade.

                  1. i don't know if it's fair of me to answer this question, because as a vegetarian i'd really take anything over a cheesesteak!! :)

                    OK, that said... the #1 thing i miss from DC... excellent thai food! we don't have anything here like it - and at this point i'm pretty sure i've been to nearly 100% of phila's thai offerings. DC, chicago and the pacific northwest all seem to have excellent thai food and i am jealous.

                    alsoooooo count me in for chicago deep dish pizza. don't know of a single place here in phila that even does it, let alone does it well. there is a HUGE void.