Road Games Travel Tips: Love traveling to Philly
Week 12: Seattle at Philadelphia, Nov. 24, 2019, 5:20 p.m. Pacific
SPONSORED – Pat chops the beef into bits.
Geno slices his rib-eye thinly.
Those are the two most straightforward differences in two businesses that have come to epitomize the debate over Philadelphia’s culinary specialty: the cheesesteak.
For 40 years, Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks have operated across from one another at the intersection of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia and had what amounts to a publicity stunt of a competition over who has the best cheesesteak. Often, you’ll see visitors by one from each for a side-by-side taste test.
Now, I’m not going to get into the culinary particulars. For one thing, there’s bound to be someone who objects to the pair of places as tourist traps and steers you somewhere else that actually has a superior sandwich. This might be utterly true. In fact, I’m almost certain it is.
However, I would like to make two points: The first is that any time you put griddled beef – be it sliced or chopped – inside a long, crusty white roll or bun along with peppers and onions and smother the whole thing in cheese, it’s going to be delicious.
The second thing is that the finer culinary qualities or only part of the experience and going to that intersection in South Philadelphia where both spots are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week gives you a great taste of a city that’s much better than its reputation.
Yes, Philadelphia fans once booed Santa Claus, but first of all, that was a long time ago. Second, it was a replacement Santa during a halftime ceremony, and the poor fellow seemed to be potentially compromised by some of the liquid fuel he’d consumed.
Philadelphia fans haven’t seemed any less hospitable nor more menacing than the fans you’ll find in other pro-football outposts, and that was before they won a championship. The fact that Lincoln Financial Field is located out off the highway alongside the city’s other sporting venues makes a great setting for a game in what is the country’s seventh-largest city.
It will be November, though, so you’ve got to be sure to prepare for a cold day, and here’s one tip for ordering your cheesesteak:
1. Specify the type of cheese you want with the usual three options being provolone, American or Cheez Whiz.
2. Add “with” to the specific type of cheese if you want onions; add “without” to the cheese if you don’t want onions.
So “provolone without” gets you a cheesesteak, no onions, while “Whiz with” gets you the best kind of cheesesteak. At least in my opinion.
Arrival: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is the largest airport in Pennsylvania, and Alaska Airlines serves it with two daily non-stop flights from Sea-Tac. There’s great rail service from PHL to the city center via SEPTA’s regional rail system. Trains run every 30 minutes. First train from the city center to the airport leaves at 4:52 a.m.; the last train from the airport to the city center leaves at 12:30 a.m.
Stadium: Lincoln Financial Field. Make sure to check out Headhouse Plaza, which is located inside the north gate and is open year-round. The plaza is huge, 110,000 square feet, features an absolutely enormous video screen, concession points and other entertainment.
Last time here: Dec. 7, 2014, Seattle 24, Philadelphia 14. The Seahawks are 3-0 at Lincoln Financial Field, which opened in 2003. Not only that, Seattle has won six of the last seven games it has played against Philadelphia, including the past four meetings by a combined score of 105-53
Dining: Geno’s Steaks, 1219 S 9th Street, (215) 389-0659; Pat’s King of Steaks, 1237 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147, (215) 468-1546; Cosmi Deli, 1501 S. 8th Street, (215) 468-6093.