April 8, 2007 |
During a particularly boring February afternoon, sunning on a Caribbean beach, I asked my wife, Deirdre, whether she'd like to snorkel out to a nearby reef. Reluctantly, she agreed, only because of the can of Cheez Whiz I had in my hand. Yes, Cheez Whiz. Being from the Philadelphia suburbs, I know about this product and its fabled use on the Philly cheesesteak. But, it took a trip to the Cayman Islands to learn an even greater use of this pressurized cheese product - as tropical fish lure.
September 17, 2003 |
Cheesesteak devotees may have thought their big moment came in August when Sen. John Kerry's infamous order for Swiss cheese on his steak thrust Philadelphia and its signature sandwich into the national spotlight. But they were wrong. The cheesesteak takes center stage this month, as two major fast-food chains debut versions of our city's most famous street food. McDonald's officially launches its Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich next Monday in several hundred of its restaurants from Harrisburg to South Jersey to Delaware.
August 16, 2003 |
It used to be the New Hampshire primary that augured the chances of a candidate. But now - at last - the cheesesteak has got its due as the true ring of fire any Oval Office hopeful must survive. Just ask Sen. John F. Kerry, who's going to have to do some fancy chewing if he hopes to recover his front-runner image after stumbling this week through his first try at Pat's King of Steaks. He ordered a steak with Swiss cheese. Gasp! Swiss cheese, as any local knows, is not an option.
January 24, 2003 |
Life was a lot different 100 years ago. Back then, only 14 percent of American homes had a bathtub. The average worker earned 22 cents an hour. And 90 percent of the doctors had no college education - but you could buy marijuana, heroin, and morphine at the corner drugstore. Come to think of it, that's not such a big deal. You can buy all that on the corner right this minute, and you don't even have to go inside a store to do it. A hundred years ago the first World Series was played, Sanka was accidentally created when a shipment of coffee got drenched in sea water, and helium was discovered, without which there would be no Goodyear blimp, no balloons on the ceiling at children's birthday parties, and no parents at those parties doing bad Mickey Mouse imitations.
August 29, 2002 |
As college students stream into Philadelphia for the start of another school year, college grads are making the reverse trip. They're leaving the city - in droves. And I know why. As a recent college graduate, I know those fleeing are afraid, just like me. Sometime, about a month before graduation, fear grabbed me by the ears, shook my head and screamed: "Get a job! Get a job!" It knocked me off my secondhand couch, slapped the beer from my hand, and jolted me from my two-hour-a-day work schedule.
May 8, 2002 |
A WEEK AGO, the front page of the New York Times Dining Out section ran the headline, "He Chose Cheese Steak Over Fancy. " The article that followed told the story of Gary Thompson, a New York chef and restaurateur forced to close his bistro two times in 13 years, once when the building that housed his restaurant was sold, next when business declined after the Sept. 11 attack. In March, Thompson opened up BB Sandwich Bar in West Greenwich Village. The shop sells only one item: cheesesteaks.
January 5, 2001 |
If you were prowling the fridge and noticed some leftover Spam, Cheez Whiz, and a half-bottle of Gatorade, you might see the beginnings of lunch. Joey Green sees some offbeat solutions to household cleaning chores. He's used Spam to polish furniture, Cheez Whiz to remove grease stains from clothes, and Gatorade to clean the john. Finding unusual uses for brand-name products is his shtick, and as the author of five books on the subject, the former advertising writer and contributing editor to the National Lampoon has appeared on TV, getting Jay Leno to shave with Jif peanut butter and Rosie O'Donnell to mousse her hair with Jell-O.
August 9, 2000 |
I'm going to blow the whistle on Philadelphia cheese steaks. (Editor's note: That's cheesesteaks, Cragg, one word. And what kind of goofy name is Cragg, anyway?) That's the depth charge of a sandwich that - the Liberty Bell and Rocky Balboa statue aside - seems to be the reason most people bother to get off the train between Washington and New York. For years, I've gone along with the game, traipsing about town with crazed locals who want to show me where the really best cheese steak is made.
July 31, 2000 |
Sen. John McCain ate lunch at Pat's King of Steaks yesterday. So did his wife, Cindy. She ate hers with a fork. For many Republicans yesterday, the South Philly institution and home of the cheesesteak was literally their first stop after the hotel. Trent LeDoux, 26, a rancher and delegate from Holton, Kan., came to Pat's yesterday at 11:30 a.m. for his first lunch in Philadelphia. "I raise beef back home, so I had to come see how it was done here," he said. He got the original with Cheez Whiz and fried onions.
July 29, 2000
Not since "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" has there been anything like it. The media have descended on Philadelphia. Journalists far outnumber Republican National Convention delegates, maybe even protesters. They're everywhere, armed with notepads and tape recorders and laptops and cameras and microphones - and expense accounts. They range from the proverbial ink-stained wretch on the Podunk Gazette to the talking heads on cable networks. Some are themselves celebrities; even the delegates would rather get a glimpse of Peter Jennings or Katie Couric than of any politician, the candidates included.