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Cheesesteak Throwdown Recap
Friday, October 20, 2006 | posted by Mike

Tony Luke, Jr.I’m hoping that everyone had a chance to see last night’s episode, because I do think it was a lot of fun. I know that I have a bit of a bias on this item because it is the Philly cheesesteak, but I always end up enjoying Throwdown a lot more than I think I will. I guess that is because, for all of Bobby’s “slickness,” everyone seems to have a lot of fun on this show.

If you haven’t seen the show and don’t want to have the ending spoiled, best to look away now.

Adam had a comment a few days back about Bobby’s chances and I put up a response. As I said at the time, the cheesesteak is a uniquely Philadelphia institution, and it was going to be tough for anyone to come in and beat a local favorite. There are plenty of regional dishes like barbecue and chili and pizza and chowder, but the cheesesteak goes beyond “regional” to “local,” and this is something that Bobby mentioned in his intro, saying something about the Chicago hot dog and the Philly cheesesteak. I think he hit the nail on the head with that, and that was why he knew he was up against a tough situation.

Also, not to pat myself on the back, but the show did spend a lot of time on what I have always said is the most important part of the sandwich, the bread. Bobby said it was vital, as did Tony Luke. I wasn’t aware that Tony Luke’s bakes their own rolls, but I can attest to the fact that they are soft in the middle but with a nice crust, just as described.

They picked a great setting on a beautiful day, with Independence Hall in the background. I’m still not why Bobby was driving down the Ben Franklin Parkway towards the Art Museum (i.e. the exact opposite direction of Independence Mall), but I’m guessing that was for the obligatory “Philly flavor” shot of the Museum. At least he didn’t run up the steps.

You got a pretty good idea of what the cheesesteak is all about in the first half, and the simple “Whiz wit” is my favorite way to go, but you had to know that both of them would do something a little special. I think Bobby was actually right when he said that he was including too many ingredients…I would have ditched the mushrooms. I understand the layering, but I don’t think they were necessary.

Truth be told, I’ve never had Tony Luke’s Italian. I have, however, had their chicken cutlet with broccoli rabe, and it was fantastic.

Like I said, it came as absolutely no surprise when Tony Luke, Jr. pulled it off. This was local pride that we were talking about. And, as Bobby said, “You can’t let a New York City boy beat you at cheesesteak!”



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