About the time of the mullet’s birth, I was a high school soccer player. As a defender, scoring chances rarely came along. But one spring afternoon, opportunity knocked and, for the first time in my high school career, I answered.
After rewinding the glorious day in my mind — it was the time of the VCR and cassette — I carefully attempted to re-create any and all things that sent such good karma to my feet on subsequent game days. Most importantly, I had a Philadelphia cheesesteak from All-American Hero Sandwiches for lunch that day, so it became my official pregame meal. Sure, a Philly sounds like a terrible idea for that purpose, but food history is fraught with seemingly bad ideas that somehow work out, i.e., lamb fries, foie gras and the raspberry-coconut Zinger. I took Phillies on road trips, even packing two or three for tournament weekends. No, I didn’t score in each following match, but I did manage to get a humble scholarship to a small school in Nebraska — not bad for a short, slow kid with more coordination than athleticism. As age, hairline fractures and dislocated toes wage war on my feet, it’s time to summon the Philadelphia cheesesteak to my rescue again by honoring it as April’s sandwich of the month. Most good delis across the state serve some version of the Philly, but based on my experiences and the feedback I got from readers, two stand out: Hobby’s Hoagies and Jersey Mike’s. Not surprisingly, both have strong connections to the sandwich’s birthplace.
Hobby’s HoagiesGeorge "Hobby” Hobson moved his family from Delaware to Oklahoma about the time I was stuffing foil-wrapped Phillies in my soccer bag before getting on the bus. He opened Hobby’s Hoagies in 1991.
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→For more information about the history of the Philly cheesesteak and a recipe, go to the Food Dude blog. blog.newsok.com/fooddude E-mail
→Tell me about your favorite Philly on Twitter@TheFoodDood, on the blog or via e-mail. email@example.com →The Festival of the Arts starts Tuesday. What food are you looking forward to the most?