While Mr. Darcy and I were visiting East, his family insisted on taking me for my first Philly Cheesesteak experience. Now it needs to be stated that Mr. Darcy’s family is from South Jersey. His sister’s family is about a 15 minute drive over a bridge to South Philly. And they take their cheesesteaks very seriously.
On the car ride over I was given the history of the battle between Geno’s and Pat’s- two establishments that serve cheesesteaks and are directly across the street from one another. Pat’s is more understated while Geno’s is a neon monstrosity. Like a girl wearing way too much make up and sausage-casing tight close, Gino’s definitely looks like it’s trying too hard to be noticed. I suppose the Darcy family’s opinions have been ingrained in me as they are tried and true Pat’s fans. I’m pretty sure Mr. Darcy’s dad would promptly remove me from the genealogy tree if I were to venture over to Geno’s.
Side Note: The Food Network awarded Pat’s Best Cheesesteak over Geno’s.
There is a particular way to order at Pat’s and if you mess it up, they can and will send you to the back of the line. Mind you, this line is often wrapped around the block and then some. I started to panic. I freak out in line at Starbucks about ordering in a timely and correct fashion and I go there enough that I get ample practice and yet I STILL INTERNALLY WIG OUT. I hate holding up a line or inconveniencing people. And here I am venturing into South Philly with very strict instructions on how to order a cheesesteak.
Pat’s has a sign that informs you how to order:
So we pile out of the car and make our way to the line. I’m trying to decide between cheese whiz and American. I’m considering mushrooms. I’m asking Mr. Darcy and his sister where I say “mushrooms” because the instructions don’t tell you. OHGODIAMGOINGTOMESSUP! His sister does the ordering for most of the family and then turns to me.
I say, “I’ll have a mushroom cheesesteak wit. . . “
The counter guy interrupts, “LADY!” and gives me quite a look of disdain.
Apparently you never utter the word “cheesesteak” while ordering. Well fuck me for trying to be clear. His sister takes over ordering for me saying to the guy, “She’s not from here.” I sheepishly stepped out of line.
Later, after we ordered fries and drinks, I was looking for ketchup and as I stood by the condiment table the same guy from behind the counter called out to me, “LADY!” then shoved a small plastic cup out the window towards me while rolling his eyes. I was so flustered I squirted mustard in the cup and walked away. I didn’t even really want mustard.
Eating a sandwich shouldn’t be so stressful.
His family proceeded to rib me for my flummoxed order. I finally let out, “I CHOKED, OK!? The pressure got to me!”
The Verdict? It was a good sandwich but I should have got the whiz with no mushrooms.
Next time I’ll order like this: “Wit. Whiz.”