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May 14, 2008 03:32 PM

Authentic Philly Cheesesteak in LA

I am new to the area. I am looking for the most authentic Philly cheesestaek in town. I heard that it has to be with cheese wiz but I dont know for sure. Please someone educate me on what makes it authentic and where I can get my chubby little digits around one.

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  1. Fredos on Lake in Pasadena. You have to ask for cheese whiz. Pretty damn good and authentic. Rolls are flown in from Philly. Do a search on this board.

    1. Not all places in Philly serve Cheez Wiz, but many do. The only acceptable alternative is Provolone.

      What makes it authentic: the Amoroso's roll (or something very similar), which has a somewhat crusty exterior, but not as much as a French baguette. The real key, though, is the interior, which is neither soft and puffy nor dense and chewy, but rather somewhat in between...chewy, but not that dense.

      A proper cheesesteak has the meat cooked with the onions. It should cook for quite a while...not really thrown on the grill to order. The meat has to cook along with the onions long enough for the onions to caramelize and for the meat to absorb their juices. Proper toppings are onions and cheese. Peppers (sweet or hot, but not green bell pepper) are an option. So are mushrooms. There's also a pizza steak variation (pizza sauce & mozzarella are added to the meat & onions; mushrooms can come in handy on this version). The sandwich is constructed either by slathering the Wiz onto the bread, which is then placed down upon the serving of meat & onions, & scooped up together; or, the slices of cheese are placed on the meat at the last moment, with the bread placed on top of than, & then scooped up. In other words, the cheese goes onto the bread, and the meat on top of that.

      An authentic cheesesteak can be had at several places in Pasadena: Fredo's on Lake, Luigi Ortega's on Colorado across from PCC, and at Philly's Best at the Del Mar station. Philly's Best is a growing chain, with other locations in SoCal.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Jack Flash

        After reading about Luigi Ortega's, I thought my quest had ended... not so. While I was thrilled to find a place that actually used Wiz, I was disappointed by the rest of the sandwich. The amount of meat was skimpy at best and the roll had what seemed like cornmeal on the outside. For the price, I expected much more! I came close, but it looks like I'll have to check out Fredos next time and see if they hit the mark.

        1. re: Optimus Prime Rib

          Yes, there is cornmeal on the outside of an Amoroso's roll. That's how they're made. They use the same ones in Philly. The roll at Fredo's is the same as well, IIRC.

          As for the meat quantity, I have no problem with the one they serve at LO's. It's about the same amount as what I remember from my college days in Philadelphia.

        2. re: Jack Flash

          Good description of a proper steak sandwich, JF, but I wouldn't lump the three local places together. If I had to choose between Fredo's and the others, I'd take Fredo's every time. In fact, I'd choose Fredo's over all but the best places in Philadelphia and New Jersey. (I can't think of one Italian beef joint outside Chicago or any burrito place outside California that would cause me to make a similar statement.) I like Fredo's, and I like the customer-oriented way the guy runs the place.

          1. re: Mel Gee

            Agree, Dan the owner of Fredo's is a very nice, customer-focused owner who makes a heck of a cheesesteak. Try his wings too, they are great! He makes his own sauce

            1. re: Mel Gee

              I like Fredo's too, but I really don't think it's any better than LO's, and the latter is much closer to my home. At least, it's not better enough to spend an extra 10 mins each way in the car. If I lived closer to Fredo's than LO, I'd go to Fredo's.

            2. re: Jack Flash

              Try a mushroom steak with double meat, whiz and onions from the original Philly's Best in Fountain Valley.

            3. Lots of discussion already on cheesesteak in LA:

              My personal faves are Big Mike's in El Segundo and Fredo's in Pasadena.

              Not everyone orders it with cheese whiz, but for me it's gotta be half provolone, half whiz. I'm also a mushroom steak guy, personally. While the Amoroso roll makes it authentic, at the end of the day, the meat's gotta taste good. I don't mind missing out on the bread, but if the meat, onions, (mushrooms), and cheese don't jive, then no Amoroso roll is going to save it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: SauceSupreme

                I'll throw in my kudos for Big Mike's in El Segundo -- big sandwiches, tasty peppers, friendly service, easy parking in their lot on Main. My favorite since Markie D's in Culver City turned into a Hoagies and Wings.

                Also like the cheesesteak at Philly West, the divy bar on Westwood just south of Santa Monica Blvd. in Westwood. But their char-grilled burger served on the same roll with grilled onions is even better. Free parking in the back, and either is only about $6.

                1. re: nosh

                  Yeah, Big Mike for a giant cheesesteak. I like to eat the second half cold later at home.


              2. Although I've never eaten cheessteaks in Philly, my Philly friends have endorsed (along with myself) Fredo's and Philly's Best. Great tasting cheesesteaks!! South Street used to be good but they've declined in quality and service since they first opened.