July 9, 2007
IF YOU gathered all the cheesesteaks the Oliveri family has fried up in this town and laid them end-to-end, they would circle the globe. We don't believe anyone would actually do that. Then again, we wouldn't have believed that an Oliveri legacy would be unceremoniously booted from one of Philadelphia's culinary landmarks, the Reading Terminal Market. His grandfather, Pat Oliveri invented the cheesesteak, according to local lore. But Rick Oliveri's steak shop is about to be kicked out of the market after 15 years to make way for another South Philly sandwich tradition, Tony Luke's.
August 20, 2006 |
Philadelphians are different. I discovered this truth, as I have many others, while listening to sports-talk radio. It was Dec. 20, 2004, and I was driving from Philadelphia to Washington. The day before, the Eagles had beaten the Dallas Cowboys, running their gaudy record to 13-1, best in the NFL. But during the game, one of their wide receivers - his name shall not pass my lips - had gone down with an injury. So for two hours in the car, I listened to fans calling in to lament that without He Who Must Not Be Named, the Eagles were finished.
February 10, 2005 |
Love is juicy, pungent, redolent. It's like garlic. It lingers, makes a mess, leaves a mark. You know what love is not? A box of chocolates. The concept of romance, especially around Valentine's Day, as something sweet, fussy, pristine, expensive and, inevitably, French, is so pervasive and tired as to be sitcom trite. Beyond that, it's just wrong - romance as an artificial, aspirational state detached from passion and longing, as if engineered by a Harlequin hack, not a seasoned adult.
April 29, 2004 |
After suffering through decades of sub-mediocre food at their ballparks, Philadelphians finally have a stadium in Citizens Bank Park that reflects the soul of the city's street-food glory. Ashburn Alley, the crowded boardwalk-like strip that stretches just beyond the right-field and center-field walls, should be renamed Cheesesteak Alley in homage to the landmark steakeries that dot its promenade - Geno's, Tony Luke's and McNally's Tavern (actually tucked just around the corner, on the third-base side)
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.
November 8, 2002 |
Jim Thome, the slugger the Phillies are courting with passionate pleas and piles of money, received a Philadelphia welcome yesterday that was fit for kings, presidents and baseball players believed capable of reversing the fortunes of a star-crossed franchise. The free-agent first baseman, whom the Phillies are trying to persuade not to return to the Cleveland Indians, was picked up by a white stretch limousine at 9 a.m. at the Ritz-Carlton in Center City and taken to Veterans Stadium.
April 2, 2000 |
In the waning months of John Bucci's life, he pulled John Jr. aside for a serious talk. "Whatever you do," he told his son, "I don't care how drunk you are, I don't care how in love you are, never give this recipe away. This is my family's name. This is what's important to me. " Bucci, of course, who died of cancer nine years ago today, was speaking of his roast pork sandwich. The Bucci family has served them from its modest luncheonette on Snyder Avenue and Weccacoe Street in South Philadelphia since 1932, two years after John Sr.'s father, Domenico, engineered this flavor explosion in a garage across town.
July 31, 1998 |
Ihad a steak at Tony Luke's, on Oregon Avenue near Front Street, the other day. No, it wasn't 2:30 a.m., and the steak wasn't on an Italian roll dripping with cheese and glutted with onions and fiery cherry peppers. It did have mushrooms and onions, but it was a rather juicy sirloin, seared across the top and served on a plate, accompanied by a steak knife. I was at Tony Luke's Casa di Pasta, across the street from Tony Luke's the popular steak-and-roast-pork-sandwich spot.