Monday, January 04, 2010

John's Roast Pork : Philadelphia

I've got one last post for you Philadelphians, before I start regularly posting about Atlantan places. (Note I will sporadically visit in the next few months, as my fiancé is still in town, but my day-to-day will be in Atlanta.)

I've previously mentioned that I've never had a decent version of the Philly Cheesesteak, so it was a must, before I headed out of town to try one out.  (And yes, I realize a number of local foodies argue that Philadelphia's Italian Roast Pork sandwiches outshine the more famous cheesesteak, but I figured I've at least tried a Dinic's Roast Pork, whereas my cheesesteak tasting has been extremely limited.)

Unfortunately, I chose one of the bloody coldest days of the year that I could have done so.

And the place I chose, John's Roast Pork, is only open Monday through Friday, 6:45-3:00pm and technically shut down the grill at 2:30pm (so no cheesesteaks after 2:30pm).  I suppose this latter fact is only an issue if you're a louse of a planner like me and realize at 1pm that you have to a catch a 45 minute bus to John's.

Crap, and there's a line.  Outside?!?

I did pause to note that the aromas wafting out from this little brick building were just delicious.  Like roast pork and gravy.  Yum.

I ended up arriving at 1:50pm and the two guys behind me were handed the golden roll, signifying that those in line after them would not be getting any cheesesteaks.   Ooof, that was a close call...  (although it's not like I would have been unhappy to have tried out their eponymous roast pork sandwiches.)

Now it's a somewhat of a mystery waiting outside, since you don't order outside.  The line just waited in front of a plain brown door with no windows. Strangely, it felt like more people managed to squeeze inside the door than people actually coming out.

What the heck?

Did I mention that it was frickn cold out? I think I waited outside for 30 minutes before I got to go inside and by that time, my butt cheeks had frozen together and snots had frozen to my chin like gigantic buck teeth.

But at least I got to understand the mysterious waiting process.  Inside was another line.  Agh!

Actually, the line was only for cheesesteaks.  If you only want the roast pork or roast beef sandwiches, you can go directly to the cashier and order, and watching others, it probably took 5-10 minutes to get your order.

But darn it, I was here for a cheesesteak, I'm bloody getting a cheesesteak.

So I waited another 30 minutes and finally get to shout out:

    1 cheesesteak provolone wit!  

Ok, dude, so was it worth the wait?

Let's just say it was satisfying to taste what a good cheesesteak tastes like.  The bread was soft and chewy and without any of that hardened texture of bread sitting out too long.  I think the meat was the best part in that you could actually taste the beef flavor, as opposed to the steak slices just being a vessel for meat texture or oil.  The provolone and grilled onions were there flavorwise, but played a far secondary role to that of the beef.  Plus, the thing was piping hot, which I truly appreciated, while munching and waiting at the bus-stop to go back.

I do wonder how transcendent  this thing would be with fresh bread in the early morning.  But nevertheless, this certainly was a proper last meal in Philly.

PS. This is walking distance to Ikea (well if it's not freezing out). So if you find yourself at Ikea during breakfast or lunch time on the weekday and opt to eat at Ikea instead, dude, I'm sorry, we can no longer be friends.

John's Roast Pork
14 Snyder Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19148-2711 (Map)
(215) 463-1951

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