Being a native Philadelphian, I wouldn’t dare say that we got bored with cheesesteaks (not possible), but we’re always looking for ways to make good things better — and easier to eat in a social setting with a fork. These seven insane creations mean you can spend a weekend in Philadelphia and eat a different kind of cheesesteak spinoff at every meal.
1. Cheesesteak Fries
This happens to be my personal favorite of all the non-traditional cheesesteak varieties. The wonderful, wonderful combination was introduced to me by a former roommate when we went out to watch the Phillies at The Fieldhouse. Cheesesteak meat, fried onions and cheez whiz are piled on these long, crinkle cut fries that hold the meat and cheese so perfectly. I mean, doesn’t a fried potato increase the goodness of anything by ten thousand percent?
2. The Philly Taco
Also known as South Street Sushi (which I prefer…I mean, it’s not really a taco, right?) is a legend. So what is it? Head to South Street in Philly a buy a gigantic slice of Lorenzo’s pizza. Then head to neighboring Ishkabibble’s and order cheese fries, cheese on the side. This taco is best pulled-off when with a group. Enter Jim’s cheesesteak: send one person to order a cheesesteak, send the rest of the group upstairs with the remaining ingredients.
To assemble: Cover your cheesesteak with fries, and the accompanying cheese, then wrap the whole thing, taco-style, in the slice of pizza. Consume.
I guess it can be any cheesesteak, pizza and fries combination, but these three places are all a block away from each other, and Lorenzo’s slices are just the right size for the sandwich.
3. Cheesesteak Egg Rolls
It might look like vomit, but this is a must-eat. Hell, I live in Philadelphia and I find myself craving these weekly. Imagine all of the goodness of a cheesesteak (meat, cheese, fried onions, maybe peppers and mushrooms)….deep fried in a crispy wrapper. You can find these at many restaurants in the city, but my favorite version is from Old Eagle Tavern — served with sriracha ketchup. More on the version pictured — from Smokin’ Betty’s — at la vie en route.
Photo: (la vie en route)
4. Cheesesteak Pizza
Cheese plus steak plus more cheese? Total win. At most pizza places around Philly, cheeseteak pizza can be ordered just like pepperoni and no one will bat an eye. I guess recently a big pizza chain caught on and they have some cheesesteak thing now, but don’t try that. Come to Philadelphia and eat our version instead. (Photo: Dolce Carini Pizza)
5. Cheesesteak Pretzel
Take a Philadelphia tradition — the classic soft pretzel — and add, you guessed it – ooey, gooey cheesesteaky goodness. The Philly Soft Pretzel Factory (a chain) sells these, but for a better experience, head over to Miller’s Twist in Reading Terminal Market (pictured above). (Photo: TVFF)
6. Cheesesteak Empanadas
These are all over Philadelphia for the same reasons as the egg rolls. But at The Good Dog Bar, they contain truffled cheddar cheese and are served with a bourbon infused rogue chocolate stout dipping sauce. Plus, it’s a great place to get a cold, inexpensive local brew. (Photo: Philly Market Cafe)
7. Cheesesteak Breakfast Casserole
Excuse to eat cheesesteaks in the morning? Check. I made this up one day after making cheesesteaks for dinner and had a bunch of leftovers. You can find the original ES recipe here: Philly Cheesesteak Breakfast Casserole.