Philadelphia's claim to culinary genius is the cheesesteak, which you probably already know. We went to Jim's on South Street. The wait was nearly an hour! Dude on the phone in the foreground is ordering a pizza.
I was going to go the classic "Whiz wit" but when I saw the can of cheese sauce, looking like one of Jackson Pollock's paint vats, I went with the provolone. ONS went with the American. "Wit" by the way, means with onions.
Sadly, the wait was not worth it. The bread was too soft, falling apart readily, there wasn't enough cheese, and the onions where just too big to meld into the whole gestalt of cheesesteakiness. Pretty disappointing.
Ah, now this is a cheesesteak. Our hosts recommended a place that was a little too far for us to venture to, so we took a wild shot just before returning to NYC. Planning to eat lunch at Reading Terminal Market, we looked around at a couple of vendors who made cheesesteaks and decided to go with By George! Pizza, Pasta, and Cheesesteaks. I ordered one American wit and one Whiz wit, only it turned out they didn't use the neon Cheese Whiz but made their own cheese sauce, a good sign. However, they screwed up the order, and one came as wild mushroom & American wit. Lucky, as it turned out, for that was an awesome sandwich. The bread was excellent, nicely seeded on top, and held up to the onslaught of grease, gooey cheese, and 'shrooms. The onions were thinly sliced and cooked along with the meat, which seems to be essential to the whole thing. The sandwich with special cheese sauce and onions, seen above, was also good, but the mushroom melange took it to another plain. And for those of you who would disdain mushrooms in your cheesesteak (at Jim's the mushrooms were nasty looking things out of another vat, so it would be right to avoid them there), I appeal to Benjamin Franklin, who spent lots of time in Paris saving our Revolution's bacon; the man had to have known his mushrooms. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that the old boy brought the idea back with him.