Cheesesteaks Gone Wild!

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.

More >> Watch the Philly Taco How-To Video.

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)

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The Endless Road Trip — Philadelphia’s Top 10 Eats 2. Soup Dumpling Surprise

When I picture Philadelphia, a smattering of obvious things come to mind: cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, Rocky Balboa, Ben Franklin…pretty standard. What I never imagined was that Philly would have amazing Chinese food. I do not say this lightly, as I come from a city teeming with authentic Asian cuisine. In Seattle, you can throw a rock and hit a Thai place, a Chinese place, or a Japanese place (realistically, probably all three). So when I heard that Philly”s Chinatown was supposed to house some of the city”s best hidden dining gems, I was eager to check it out.

Enter Dim Sum Garden, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the edge of Chinatown, near the bus tunnel. Not very appealing from the outside, but as I have said time and time and time again, some of the best restaurants have the shabbiest exteriors. The interior doesn”t exactly scream “gourmet experience” either — the ambiance is music-less and fluorescent-lit. Not a problem, because we weren”t visiting for fancy atmosphere. No, we were at Dim Sum Garden for one main reason: soup dumplings!

Now just to be clear, a soup dumpling is not some confused way of saying dumpling soup. No, this is exactly what it sounds like: a dumpling, with soup inside. It”s basically like eating dumpling soup, but inverted; outside it”s just an innocent dumpling, but inside is piping hot liquid! Eating these special dumplings requires a special process. It”s not enough to simply pop the whole thing in your mouth, you must employ a multi-step system to fully appreciate the components of the soup dumpling.

Luckily for all, we knew what had to be casino online done: an instructional video! No soup dumpling left behind:

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