My Philadelphia-born friend is so devoted to her city's most famous sandwich that the first thing she did after her big fancy wedding was to head, gown and all, to her favorite local spot for a cheesesteak to end the night. On a recent visit, I comparison-shopped the cheesesteak sandwich shop. Here's my standard order: onions, whiz (i.e., Cheez Whiz), provolone, and giardiniera -- the pickled vegetables perk up the whole meaty, cheesy business. Regardless of where you buy it, everything starts with the vigorous chopping and flipping spatulas cutting through the frying beef a-sizzle on the flattop. Beyond that, the rest is personalized. Add the whiz? provolone? onions? peppers? giardiniera? You better know what you want before you step up to the counter.Excerpted from Mad Hungry Cravings by Lucinda Scala Quinn, to be published by Artisan Books on March 19, 2013. Photographs by Jonathan Lovekin.
Who says meat and potatoes can't happen between two slices of bread? And so it is that thin slices of roast beef rest between peppery arugula and crisp, tangy salt-and-vinegar potato chips. In place of Gruyere, cheddar could be swapped in.