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The Hungry Detective: The Philadelphia Story
Friday, October 27, 2006 | posted by Mike

PhiladelphiaHey, everyone! Sorry about the lack of posts over the past few days, but I was away on business. I’m back now, so expect things to pick right back up. Coincidentally, I was on business in Philadelphia at the same time that The Hungry Detective was airing its Philadelphia episode.

As we found out in our interview earlier this week, Chris Cognac is about as genuinely “real” as anyone you’re ever going to find on television. We’re not just saying that because he was nice enough to take the time to talk to us (although that’s true!), but rather because of things like the fact that he loves both taco stands and fine wine. I’m a big believer that is more “real” than a fussy Martha Stewart-type or the faux-populism that others sometimes lapse into.

And that is also the great thing about Philadelphia. I was telling a fellow conference attendee that the thing I love about Philly is that the iconic symbol of the town is the quintessentially blue-collar Rocky running up the steps of one of the great fine arts institutions in the country.

The beat that Cognac walks in the Philadelphia episode definitely skews toward the blue-collar, although hand-made gelato certainly hints at the refined tastes that are often overlooked by those who scoff at the thought of using Cheez Whiz. By the way, I happened to pass that same gelato place, Capogiro the other day and a companion said, “They have the best gelato in the city.” And, I just found out that they supply the gelato to the Whole Foods near me, so I guess I can vouch for it personally!

As is always the case when it comes to Philly, the conversation turned to the cheesesteak. Of course, our preference is well-known, but Chris Cognac captures the authentic sandwich very well at Steve’s. And, just as he said in our interview, it really is all about the bread. Although, using quality rib eye probably helps, too. He got Philly pretty well, which is saying something when you’re talking about a guy from Southern California.

The thing we really like about THD is its embrace of variety. Upscale and downscale, local and international, city and suburbs. That seeming paradox is a lot of fun, and it’s evident in spades with both Chris Cognac and Philadelphia.



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