As has been discussed in these pages before, I firmly believe the cheesesteak is Philadelphia's finest contribution to our nation's rich, grease-stained culinary tapestry. But I would have to be a fool to ignore the fact that the roast pork sandwich has slowly but surely been making inroads into the Philly food scene.
In fact, a recent article in the Inquirer debates this sticky (greasy?) subject: has the roast pork sandwich passed the venerable cheesesteak as Philly's signature sandwich. (The topic was originally broached by a Washington Post writer, but I put zero stock in the food musings of anybody who would drive from Silver Spring, MD to Geno's for a cheesesteak or that calls a "hoagie" a "sub".)
For me the answer is easy... it's a quick, no-brainer "no". In fact, I'd rather have a good hoagie like the one I recenty had from Cosmi's Deli in South Philly than a roast pork sandwich anyday. Granted that's based on the couple roast pork sandwiches I've had (Tony Luke's and Chickie's & Pete's) versus the hundreds (thousands?) of hoagies and cheesesteaks I've eaten in my lifetime.
But it's also based on one other important factor... I make great roast pork and I have yet to find a sandwich that lives up to what I think it should be. Don't get me wrong, the sandwiches from Tony Luke's and C&P were fine but they were just that. Fine. Not life-altering. Not something I'm making an hour detour to get after a Flyers game. And certainly not something I'd spend an afternoon sampling at establishment after establishment.
For more on the never-ending quest for cheesesteak nirvana check out the blog Mayor McCheesesteak's Cheesesteak Reviews. While the mayor and I strongly disagree on his rankings (I rank Dallesandro's [pictured above] and Cosmi's up with Steve's at the top of the list and Pat's, Jim's and Geno's waaaayyyy down below) I admire his endeavor and have to admit I'm a little jealous that he's close enough to the center of the Cheesesteak Universe while I'm down here with crabs, pit beef and crappy bread.
What's your take on the cheesesteak versus roast pork debate? And, to steal a question from my niece, would you rather have a cheesesteak or a hoagie?