Monday we spent one last day in the Philadelphia area before beginning the drive down 95 South. Having grown up here, I often get asked my opinion on the much-debated issue of best local cheesesteak. Everyone has their personal preference and if my answers are any indication, oftentimes these feelings are usually biased by the memories made at a certain establishment or the frequency of indulgence. That being said, my definitive response for the best of the best is absolutely Dalessandro’s.
Jeff and I made sure to stop in for a lunch treat yesterday before doing anything else with our day. For any tourists planning a trip to the Philly in the near future, this spot is a few miles outside of Center City but the journey is a breeze and well worth it. I have to give my Dad all the credit for introducing me to this gem years ago and making sure we stopped by whenever we got the chance on a drive to or from the city. If you go when things aren’t too busy, you’ll be able to relax at the countertop seating inside and take advantage of the delicious spread of peppers which you can see I made sure to do yesterday.
Back to the cheesesteak debate for a moment..after Dalessandro’s I would put Jim’s on South Street as my consolation prize and keep the two of those in their own elite category separate from the rest. I must give a special nod to Rich’s Deli for having the best sandwich on the planet to this day. This spot in Fort Washington, PA is within walking distance of my high school and I can still taste that perfect buffalo chicken cheesesteak (with extra cheese and ranch) from my many trips back in the day.
After filling up, we continued towards Philadelphia and decided to pull the car off along Kelly Drive to go for what ended up being a 4+ mile walk along the Schuykill River towards Boathouse Row. I still needed to wear a light jacket for the breeze but we could definitely feel the oncoming onset of springtime as we walked and watched the sun move across the water. Despite growing up in the area and going to school three miles away for 4 years I can’t say I’ve ever just taken a slow stroll along the water like we did. It was so serene yet full of life as cars, joggers, and crew teams raced by on all sides. We even unexpectedly ran into an old friend (Hey Maura!) while out on the path. Just goes to show you never know who or what is out there waiting for you. We even saw an oil spill that looked straight out of a Salvador Dali creation.
We finished up the day with a nice quiet dinner just off South St. with my sister Jessica and our pal Andrew Flash Gordon. Jessica reminded me of the importance of sending postcards (more on that later…) and it was a perfect meal with three of the best people I know. On the way back from dinner Flash asked us what we were most excited for. I initially told him I was looking forward to the opportunity to read more and to have a new routine in the mornings, both of which are very true. But later in the night I realized that other than the friends new and old I’ll see along the way, I am maybe most excited to experience the diversity of the land in our country. Driving is one of my favorite pasttimes and the majority of my time behind a wheel has spent navigating the northeast. Not that the Route 17 drive to Mahwah, New Jersey isn’t full of beauty, but I’m definitely looking forward to driving through the bayou, crossing Texas, and seeing mountains, plains, deserts and more along the way.
We’re off to the nation’s capitol in a few, so I’ll talk to you soon!