March 20, 2014 |
TWO WEEKS ago, Geno Vento stood in the back of the the Penn's Landing Playhouse. It was the VIP performance of "The Calamari Sisters' Big, Fat, Italian Wedding," and Vento, wearing a short beard, thick gold chain and T-shirt beneath a loose-fitting gray suit, unobtrusively watched the wacky musical comedy's two characters, Carmela and Delphine Calamari, sing, dance, crack jokes and cook sausages. The 42-year-old cheesesteak heir, the guy named after his family's South Philly steak shop (and not the other way around)
March 14, 2014
WITH 23 venues competing and more than 1,000 votes counted in our contest for the Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly, our top three finalists have been selected: * Blackbird Pizzeria (507 S. 6th St.) * Cantina Dos Segundos (931 N. 2nd St.) * Hibiscus Juice Bar (4907 Catharine St.) Congrats to all! The three finalists will be judged in a blind taste test at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Grindcore House Cafe (1515 S. 4th St.). Thanks to everyone who eagerly volunteered to judge, but our judges are already lined up: Jonathan Bagot, of veganjawn.com; Uptown Soul Food's Takia McClendon; Christina Pirello, of "Christina Cooks"; and cheesesteak maven Frank Olivieri Jr., of Pat's Steaks.
February 28, 2014
WITH 18 venues nominated and more than 200 votes cast so far, the first round of the V for Veg Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly is buzzing. Two recent entries to the top five are making their mark as fans (and proprietors!) keep spreading the word. Blackbird Pizzeria is clearly out in front, but that first-place position doesn't look as unassailable as it did at first. In descending order: Carmen's at Reading Terminal Market, Govinda's Gourmet to Go, HipCityVeg and Hibiscus Juice Bar are also strong contenders.
February 21, 2014
FROM THE BEGINNING, the Philadelphia cheesesteak has been evolving. The original sandwich that caught on at Pat and Harry Olivieri's South Philly hot-dog stand in the early 1930s had no cheese - much less "Whiz," which only came along in 1952. Provolone - sorry, John Kerry haters - * was the original cheese add-on, followed soon by American. Variants of the basic item flourished around town throughout the 20th century and are still going strong in the 21st. One variant that is showing up in more and more Philly joints is the vegan cheesesteak, a seemingly self-contradictory phrase, like "icy hot" or "nonworking mother.
January 6, 2014 |
Sixty-six days after his father died in bed of a massive heart attack, Geno Vento counted backward from 10 in an operating room in South Jersey. Rattled by his father's death and haunted by a family history of heart disease, Vento had decided to enlist a surgeon's help in his lifelong battle with obesity. Heir to one of South Philadelphia's cheesesteak empires, Vento was 40, 5-foot-8, and 366 pounds. He could not bend over to tie his shoes. He could barely hoist himself off a toilet.
November 10, 2013 |
TEL AVIV - Mayor Nutter says he has learned some lessons. His commerce chief thinks he has some fish on the line. Business owners traveling with Philadelphia officials on this two-nation marketing tour say their expectations have been more than met. That is the synopsis of the self-graded report card for some of the principals in the mayor's 10-day trade trip, which started in London before flying on to this city Thursday. With the trip not to end until Monday, the consensus among participants is two thumbs up. Certainly that is the feeling of Bob Moul, president of the software company Artisan Mobile, who traveled on the London leg of the trip in part as an ambassador for the city and a dealmaker for his own firm.
September 13, 2013 |
ACTOR LIAM NEESON will be in town tonight to introduce a 20th-anniversary screening of "Schindler's List" at the Prince Music Theater. Neeson was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during World War II by employing them in his factories. The 1993 film went on to win seven coveted golden bald men, including one for director Steven Spielberg , who spent some of his formative years in South Jersey. The screening benefits the USC Shoah Foundation, founded by Spielberg after he made "Schindler's List.
July 26, 2013
What to eat : Don't even think of trying anything else before you've had Adriano Redante's signature item, the hamburgão. Ingredients include sirloin steak, corn, ham, bacon, provolone cheese, fried egg, lettuce, tomato and homemade green mayo. It's like the love child of a Schmitter and a cheesesteak that got drunk on caipirinhas in São Paulo and had a one-night stand. So, yeah, it's good. Tip: Eat a light breakfast. Also try: In addition to the hamburgão ($8), there are several other interesting items on Redante's menu, including a Brazilian-style cheesesteak with homemade chimichurri ($6)
May 23, 2013
Chain: Charleys Philly Steaks. Company description: Chicken, provolone cheese, Buffalo sauce & ranch. Calories: 526, with 16 grams fat, 1,703 mgs salt. Location: The Gallery Food Court. Order time: A few minutes. Price: $4.29 (small sandwich). Review: There are more than 500 Charleys Philly Steaks locations, and one of them has finally made it to . . . Philly. The city's cheesesteak royalty doesn't have much to worry about, but that doesn't mean Charleys makes a bad sandwich.
April 12, 2013 |
YOU'VE HAD Pat's. You've had Geno's. You've had Tony Luke's and John's and Jim's and Steve's and D'Alessandro's and Donkey's and Chubby's and Cosmi's and Chick's and dozens more. But have you had a cheesesteak pot pie? Wontons? Spring rolls? Bao buns with spicy pickled shallots, homemade sriracha and micro cilantro? Yeah, probably. Eighty-three years after its invention, Pat and Harry Olivieri's humble creation - originated with butcher's scraps and a hotdog roll - has gone international.