An Adventure – CHEESESTEAKS!!!


Today’s Music: Fitz and the Tantrums – Don’t Gotta Work It Out
Days Til Spring: 55

*Discaimer – I was young and stupid(er) at the time. I don’t drive (often) like this anymore!

Conversation with co-workers went like this:
Guap: Want to have lunch tomorrow?
Brian: Sure
Sean: Yeah, why not.
Guap: Great. Meet me here tomorrow at 10.
Brian and Sean: What? Why?!?

Because we were in NYC. And for lunch, I thought a Philadelphia Cheesesteak would be nice. From Philadelphia.
Oh don’t look at me like that. You’ve thought it too.

Totally worth the trip.

So, the next day, at about 10, we piled into my car and headed for Philly.
This was in the days before mapquest or gps, so we just had the atlas I kept in the car.
Brian was the navigator. He sat in front with the map.
Sean was just along for the ride. He had two concerns: being fed, and meeting women.
I was the driver. I drove like a lunatic.

So we headed off. It’s about a three hour drive from where we were to where we were trying to get too. We did it in about two and a half. Should’ve been faster. Read on.

Conversation wandered over the normal range of topics among three guys that worked together in a kitchen: how much work sucked, which waitresses were cute, where we were going to work next when we moved on.
We hit Jersey and started kicking up dust, flying down the turnpike towards Philly at about 85 mph.
The road was wide open, and we flew.

As the driver, I had to let the Navigator know what our options were for exits and he had to figure out which one to take.
“Brian, we’re coming up on exit 8 in two miles” (at 85 mph, about 95 sec). “It says Philly. Is that where we want to go?”
“Hold on, let me find it”
“I mile, Brian”
“HOLD ON!”
“BRIAN, DO WE WANT THE EXIT?!?”
“YES!!! GET OFF!!!”
whoosh
“Too late. Never mind.”

At this point, Brian decided to read ahead on the atlas. He found the exit we wanted. A quarter of a mile before we wanted it. While we were in the left lane.
So we went from the left lane to the right lane to the exit ramp in one very smooth maneuver.
(Yes, I know you think that’s a terrible move, Kayjai. But it was a private car, not a taxi.)
Didn’t see any other cars to worry about.
Not even the cop.

Over his loudspeaker: “PAY THE TOLL AND PULLOVER.”
Great.
So we pay the toll (Me thinking, I have to pay the toll before they haul me in? That SUCKS!) and pull over.
Sean, taking off his headphones: “Why are we stopping?”
“We just got pulled over. Hang on, let’s not be any stupider than we have to be”

Cop gets out of his car. I have the window open, hands on the wheel in plain sight.
Cop: “Do you know how fast you were going?”
Guap – Laughing resignedly and shrugging: “70?”
Cop – Raising his eyebrow: 87 miles. per. hour.
Guapo – still laughing resignedly: “Yeah, I know…”
Cop: “Please step out of the car”
I get out.
Cop: “You want to tell me where you’re going?”
Guap – looking around and sighing: “Philadelphia, for cheesesteaks”
Cop, taking off his sunglasses: “What”
“Well you see, officer, we work together” (pointing at the car). “We had a day off, and thought it would be nice to go out for lunch. And we wanted cheesesteaks. So if you’re in the northeast and you want a cheesesteak” I continued, “you go to Philly”. I couldn’t stop from laughing again.
Cop looked at me for a minute. “Wait here.”
He walked over to the car and asked Brian to step out. He led him a few yards from the car and they spoke.
The cop walked back to the car, asked Sean to step out.
They walked a few yards from the car and Brian and spoke.
Cop looked at Sean, then Brian, then me and waved us all back to the car. We got in.
The cop took my license and registration and went back to his car to write up the ticket.

In the car, Brian Sean and I all talked about what just happened.
“He asked me where we were going” said Brian.
“Me too”, agreed Sean.
“What did you tell him?!?” I asked
Brian said “I was gonna lie, but I didn’t know what you said, so I told the truth.”
Sean nodded in agreement.
The trooper came back over holding paperwork.
“Okay”, he said. “This is a 55mph zone. For the speed you were doing, I could haul you in and impound your vehicle”. He pulled out the ticket. “I’ve written you up for doing 67. That’s the highest I can write without having you be arrested.” He handed me the ticket, and my license and reg. “Don’t drive like an idiot, enjoy your sandwiches”

He headed back to the car. I put my seat belt on and made sure the guys did too, not wanting to push my luck at all.
“Get his picture” came the voice from the back.
I turned to look at Sean. “Are you out. of. your. mind?”
“No, c’mon”, he insisted. “It’ll be cool” He pushed his camera at me.
I sighed. Looked at the camera. Got out of the car.
Walked over to the trooper, still parked at the toll plaza behind us.
He looked up. “Yes?”
“My friend would like a picture of you” I said, pointing at the car.
The cop looked at my car, then back at me. “Why?”
I looked at my car and then back at him. “I have absolutely no idea. But hey, doesn’t hurt to ask. The cop shook his head in a “wtf” kind of way and got out of his car. “Sure”.

Cheese (steak) it! The cops!!!

We made it to the Philadelphia exit with no further troubles. Now we just needed to find a cheesesteak.
(Oh, don’t look at me like that. Does it look so far like any of this trip was planned?)

Fortunately, there was one last toll before we left the highway, just before the harbor area. We asked the attendant.
“Oh, cheesesteaks?” he said. “You can get them anywhere.”
“Yeah”, I answered, but we want really good ones…”
He laughed, “Then you want Pats” he replied, and gave us directions (that we could follow!!!) right to Pat’s front door.

Pat, and his competitor Gino, are Philadelphia cheesesteak institutions. They both have ridiculously fanatical adherents,each side swearing that their guy makes a better sandwich.
Want to find out for yourself? Well, they’re on opposite corners from each other so you can do it in one trip.
Pats is a small stand, with no interior. Walk up to the window (through which you can see a massive flattop griddle) and place your order – anything from a traditional up to ones with all sorts of toppings.
While you wait, look at the exterior walls. They are covered with celebrities who have paid homage to Pat and his delicious cheesesteak.
When your food is ready, take a seat at one of the picnic tables around the stand, or go across the street to the bleachers at the baseball field.
Place your napkins where they can be reached.
Unwrap.
Inhale the aroma…
Eat…
And…
ahhhhh….

Pat. The man behind the magic. (with Sean and Brian)

The meat, sliced thinly, cooked to juicy perfection on the griddle. Onions, peppers, mushrooms, sauteed as weel as any five star restaurant would give you, soaked in the juices of the meat. Cheese (Velveeta, baby!!!) oozing over the whole thing.
When the juice runs down your arm, you’ll want to lick it off so as not to lose any of that delicious taste. And no, you’ll have no shame about doing it.
Between the 3 of us, we went through seven cheesesteaks, each one better than the last.
We picked up a couple for the guys back home and, after profuse thank yous, hopped back in the car for a much more sedate trip home.
I’d like to say everyone really appreciated and enjoyed the cheesesteaks we brought back, but I can’t.
We ate them on the way.

What? There was traffic.

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98 responses to “An Adventure – CHEESESTEAKS!!!

  1. That is an amazing story. It makes me think of my hot dog wedding reception. I’ll leave that to HR to post. You and your buddies sound like a blast. πŸ™‚

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    • Ha – we get married at Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. I have a pic of my girl in her wedding dress buying a hot dog on the way to the ceremony.

      Hey HR, really want to hear that story!

      Like

  2. Now I’m amazingly hungry….cheesesteak hungry, and thinking how long the drive up would be…
    Great story, and nicely written! My favorite part…..’Hang on, let’s not be any stupider than we have to be.’ Sage thinking and I agree…we should always be just as stupid as we have to be and not a bit more! : )

    Oh yeah…awesome song, btw!!

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    • The drive is worth it Alex. Completely worth it.
      Sadly, i frequently blow past the “minimum stupid” standard…

      really hoping that band comes to NY for a show!

      Like

  3. GREAT way to spend a day dude. Did you have a chance to try the food at the other end of the corner? As for the hot-dog shotgun wedding I will need to leave a couple of details out. HE might get more pissed at me than normal.

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  4. That’s a great story!! I love the pics, especially the one with the cop standing by his car. And I know…sometimes the radical lane changes are necessary when there’s food involved….

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  5. Most excellent EG!! Dying for a cheesesteak now.
    Picture of the cop? Priceless! Eating the remaining sandwiches on the way home? Totally!
    Have to ask: HOW did you manage to keep a car -with all of it’s parts and stereo intact- while living in NYC? Best part of living there was NOT having to screw with car insurance, parking, etc. having been raised in LA.
    Miss the pizza, sandwiches, bagels, you name it. But not the soothing sounds of car alarms going off all night to gently push you into sleep…
    Philly Cheesesteak. WANT!

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    • I’m in Queens, Rachael. I’ve been broken into a few times, but never stolen *knock on wood*
      And you’re absolutely right about the food here. Sometimes it’s just nice to get a food in the town that made it famous – clam chowder in Boston, weck in Buffalo…

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      • Lived in Woodside for two years. All Irish all the time. First time I ever heard the line ‘if it weren’t for the Irish AA meetings would be held in phone booths.’
        Spent most of the NY years in Brooklyn. Oh love seafood in Boston! Last time only got a chance for dinner at Legal Seafood, but there are my truly favorite ‘mom and pop’ restaurants in that fine city where I dine if there’s more time.
        Dammit! Now craving Boston clam chowder (with a side of lobster. Butter drawn if you please), Philly cheesesteak and white pizza from Avenue U in Brooklyn.
        I see a day spent in the kitchen coming up…

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        • You and I have stomped (stumbled?) some of the same pavement. Did a lotof drinking in Woodside. It’s funny, the bars there keep changing names, but the crowd stays exactly the same.

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  6. Great post! Now I want a sammich.

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  7. The only trips I made on a whim like that were to buy drugs. And we NEVER took a camera with us, nor made nice with the coppers. Yes, now my insanity has been made clear. #KeepingItReal

    Like

  8. Hi,
    Loved the story. When I was younger a bunch of friends and I drove for 2 hrs to this place that had the best hamburgers. All homemade rissols, with lettuce, grilled onion, tomatoe, melted cheese and sauce to top it off, they were HUGE burgers, and delicious as well, I don’t ever remember actually being able to finish one. πŸ˜€

    Sadly there is a highway there now, and I can tell you, there isn’t a place that I know off that has even came close to those burgers. πŸ™‚

    Like

  9. That was a good story. I’m guessing gas wasn’t $3.75/gal at the time.
    One night me and the entire kitchen crew drove an hour to a state park near Joliet to go fishing and drink. Okay, mostly to drink. But we did catch fish. Even though we forgot to bring poles. One of the cooks just jumped into the water and started flinging carp onto the shore. Then he insisted on bringing all the carp home in the car so he could cook them. Plus we all had to work the next day. Ahh, the good old days.

    Like

  10. OMG my mouth is WATERING….
    My parents moved to CO when i was a but a wee lass and I remember the quest for the cheesesteak. They tried every new sandwich place that claimed to have them. It wasn’t til my Uncle took me to a place in Philly during my stint t Ft Dix on a weekend off that I had my very first honest to God now I know what my parents were obsessed with. I actually ate two but there seems to be a debate about the cheese and now you come with Velveeta? I have always had them with white cheese – provolone or american and they are made with Cheese whiz too. Cheese Whiz and Velveeta are similar but NOT the same and I’m confused but who cares, now I am hungry and luckily there is a little shop right up the road that makes an awesome nearly like Philly cheesesteak. How do you DO that? You are quite skilled at it too – making it feel like we are right there with you lol. My comment to the cop would have been Hey Cop – Want donuts? lol Awesome as always in your rockingest awesome abiding way πŸ™‚

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    • I got lucky the cop had a sense of humor, lizziec.
      After your comments about the cheese, it is possible I am not remembering some of the details correctly… May have to take another run down there!

      Like

  11. Wow. Luckily I was eating when I read this. This is a great story, Guap. But I think you should go to the other place at least once, and I’ll tell you why. If it’s better, then you have a better sandwich. And if it’s not as good, then you go back to Pat’s and tell him the other place sucked, you’ll never “cheat” on him again, and maybe he throws in a free sandwich for you.

    Like

  12. I’d love to see the blog that the cop wrote.

    Let me know if you’re heading to Buffalo for wings. I might come along…just for the ride.

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  13. Great story! Spur of the moment road trips are always the best….

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  14. EG, great story…as far as the juice running down your arm – you gotta do the “Philly stoop” when you eat it…the bend from the waist so the juice doesn’ – er, never mind…that juice is gooood. next time try the roast pork (in au jus) sandwich at DiNics, or Tony Lukes…i swear you’ll be in heaven, and worth another ticket. continue…

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  15. FUCK why did I read this when I was STARVING? And my roommate is making some delicious chicken dish and the house smells like marinated meat, I’m gonna die up in here!

    That’s hilarious. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a cheesesteak adventure quite like this.

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  16. I am so inspired to go on a spontaneous road trip now. Road trips and scuba diving. You are totally living out the dream.

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  17. EG: you have successfully inspired people from all over the continent to crave an over-abundance of their favorite local noms.
    And random road trips!
    You Sir are an inspiration to all of we people who never let themselves grow up…. and crave that artery clogging, juice dripping, cheesey goodness. Bless you and the work you are doing for your fellow man. And woman.

    Like

  18. Great story! πŸ˜€ And I’d love to eat the Phila-Cheesesteak!

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  19. When did you become “the Asylum within the Asylum”?

    Have you read Replay? I think you’d enjoy it.

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  20. This is a hobby of mine. But sometimes I drive twelve hours.
    Red.

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  21. A good Philly Cheesesteak (authentic) is hard to beat. Imitators just disappoint.

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  22. whiteladyinthehood

    I loved your post! Cannot believe you asked for a picture of the cop and he posed for it! That took nerves of steel – ahem…and loved the pic of your friends! I like your sense of adventure…which reminded me of a crazy~ass road trip I took in my early 20’s that landed me in Thibodaux, Lafourche, LA this one time…hhmm..and Philly Cheesesteaks are soo good!! Thanks for the laughter this morning!

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  23. I too have tasted the sweet philly cheese steak. It is a wonderful thing. The other day I was about to get a sausage sandwich but then I realized I was at a vegan restaurant and that was sad. The only connection is how much it would suck to find out the restaurant you were wanting to get a philly cheese steak from didn’t sell meat.

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  24. What a great story. And it sounds like you got a Philly Cheesesteak that was well worth the price of the ensuing ticket I hope!! πŸ™‚

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  25. nice story, you guys have nicer cops than we do here in Canada. Speaking of Cheese steak, they didn’t have bacon? Bacon is great on a Philly cheesesteak!

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  26. Loved this! It never hurts to get a picture, obviously, as this post demonstrates.

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  27. Great story and even the cop understood your need for a great cheesesteak from Philly. I can’t wait to find out what food and what state is next.

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  28. Awesome story. We’ve all had cravings before, but to drive 3 hours to fulfill the urge is taking it to another level.

    why did you get a couple of sandwiches from Pat’s and a couple from Gino’s for your own taste off?

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  29. LOL! Love it. I used to live in Philly, and I have to say, you can’t beat a Philly cheesesteak from the city itself!

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  30. Another winner! Good for you!

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  31. Sounds like fun…with insanity poured all over it. Glad you survived, and that the cheesesteaks were good. πŸ™‚

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  32. Mmmmm…now I want a cheesesteak. Will you drive? After reading this, I don’t want to drive myself.

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  33. This is a character defining story. One to tell your kids. I like your instincts. And yeah, I would drive 3 hours for really good food, absolutely!

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  34. HA! That’s hilarious, what a great story!

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  35. whether or not you’re stoned like in harold and kumar, white castle trips are always romanticized πŸ™‚ you got a nice photo of your friends though!

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  36. lol. Here I was laughing hard and trying to post a comment. Trying because, this space where I can type in my comment was moving AWAY DOWNWARDS from me as I am typing this!
    88 comments take sometime to load, and so I had to use my right hand to click on the scroll down cursor at my right. WHILE typing with my left hand, and WITH the screen moving like a yo-yo.
    Now, I laughed harder, and just peed in my pants. Thanks to you.=S

    Like

  37. Pingback: The Versatile Blogger Award « Motley News

  38. Just wanted to let you know that I have chosen you as a recipient of The Versatile Blogger Award. Congratulations! You deserve it!!! http://motleynews.net/2012/02/05/the-versatile-blogger-award/

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  39. hi there im looking for alfie black is he still about
    alf beilin

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  40. Why DID your friend want a picture of the cop?

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    • That’s just who he was – the kind of guy that wanted mementos and souveniers of wehre he’d been.

      On a different trip to go skiing, he didn’t ski, but he asked us to stage a shot. So i gave him my ski poles, tossed some snow on him and took a waist up pic with the mountain in the background (and no cars).

      No idea whatever happened to him…

      Like

Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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