Even though there's plenty of Internet sniping over what does and does not constitute "authentic" food, most reasonable people agree that foods, and even whole cuisines, evolve.
That won't stop us from arguing over tacos, barbecue, ramen or pizza (New York versus Chicago, Neapolitan versus them all). We even dissect and grouse over cuisines that've causally evolved, like TexMex, when all we really want is a plate of nachos without the cultural and regional tsk-tsking.
And that's why Shut Up And Eat's John Fimmano—a Philadelphian!—refuses to call his cheesesteak a Philly cheesesteak. He won’t even call it a cheesesteak (he calls his a Broadstreet Bomber instead), because If he did, somebody'd be sure to get all fussy and finger-pointy.
Besides, Fimmano says, there's no such thing as a true Philly cheesesteak.
Getting a good Philly in Philly, he says, depends not just on the shop you frequent, but on the day you visit. If the woman who cooks your favorite cheesesteak at your favorite spot has the day off, you just might walk a couple of blocks to have the fella at your second favorite spot make your second favorite.
And Fimmano'd know. Like many of his peers, he spent his teenage years making cheesesteaks for the people in his neighborhood. And for the last few years, he's been making them for us.
Putting aside authenticity arguments, to make a proper one, you're gonna need a good roll—Fimmano says it took his baker (the fine folks at Pearl Bakery) about six experimental months until they came up with a winner strong and sturdy enough to sop up the grease and prevent the whole thing from falling apart into a puddling mess.
And when I say whole thing, I mean whole thing: Fimmano’s Broadstreet's made with a half-pound of beef, nine slices—nine!—of provolone and cheddar cheeses, which is all chopped up and grilled together with onions and your choice of peppers (sweet, hot, or both) until it's one big, gooey, cheesy osmotic mass of yum.
It’s a lot of food—it'll slow your blood just looking at it—but it's a keeper, too. Just remember: when ordering a sando like this, slow and steady will win the race.
Plus, you can always wrap up what you can't finish. Your belly’ll thank you for it now, and it’ll thank you for it again, later, when you eat the other half for tomorrow's lunch. It's like giving yourself the same present twice.
Shut Up and Eat, 3848 SE Gladstone St., 503.719.6449