CFDM 'Meatatarian' Round 1: Cheesesteak V Italian Beef

Food news, food media and other food-related topics

It's sliced griddled meat on a bun. Which permutation makes you drool?

Poll ended at 8 years ago

Aren't you paying attention-? Italian Beef rules this board.
9
9%
Aren't you paying attention-? Italian Beef rules this board.
9
9%
Aren't you paying attention-? Italian Beef rules this board.
9
9%
Cheesesteak is my ultimate. I even order it properly.
5
5%
Cheesesteak is my ultimate. I even order it properly.
5
5%
Cheesesteak is my ultimate. I even order it properly.
5
5%
. . . there's a difference-? Someone should explain it properly to me below.
1
1%
. . . there's a difference-? Someone should explain it properly to me below.
1
1%
. . . there's a difference-? Someone should explain it properly to me below.
1
1%
I'll take the one that doesn't sound like a porno nickname, kthx.
2
2%
I'll take the one that doesn't sound like a porno nickname, kthx.
2
2%
I'll take the one that doesn't sound like a porno nickname, kthx.
2
2%
I don't care how I get my meat, I'll take them both on-!
6
6%
I don't care how I get my meat, I'll take them both on-!
6
6%
I don't care how I get my meat, I'll take them both on-!
6
6%
That's what she said! Bwaaaa.
3
3%
That's what she said! Bwaaaa.
3
3%
That's what she said! Bwaaaa.
3
3%
What are you, like, twelve?
2
2%
What are you, like, twelve?
2
2%
What are you, like, twelve?
2
2%
My preference requires qualification which I will explain below.
0
No votes
My preference requires qualification which I will explain below.
0
No votes
My preference requires qualification which I will explain below.
0
No votes
Wait, the Lazy Git Dinner bracket excluded take-out. Not fair, I call shenanigans on your tourney structure.
2
2%
Wait, the Lazy Git Dinner bracket excluded take-out. Not fair, I call shenanigans on your tourney structure.
2
2%
Wait, the Lazy Git Dinner bracket excluded take-out. Not fair, I call shenanigans on your tourney structure.
2
2%
Shh, if you keep complaining, she'll quit, and we'll never get to Breakfast Cereal Death Match. LIFE CEREAL FOR THE WIN!!!!
5
5%
Shh, if you keep complaining, she'll quit, and we'll never get to Breakfast Cereal Death Match. LIFE CEREAL FOR THE WIN!!!!
5
5%
Shh, if you keep complaining, she'll quit, and we'll never get to Breakfast Cereal Death Match. LIFE CEREAL FOR THE WIN!!!!
5
5%
 
Total votes: 105
themis
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Bracket # 2 of the Convenience Food Death Match is live-! Spout off or sit down and shut up. This is a poll, so look at it on a real browser, okay? And I understand that this matchup is probably a foregone conclusion. I have no dog in the fight either way, I'm just curious.
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Skillet Doux
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themis wrote:And I understand that this matchup is probably a foregone conclusion.
Except that cheesesteak currently leads. Which is wrong. WRONG.

(Wrong.)
Dominic Armato
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I am voting out of hilarity, and to make ya'll panic.
markh
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Skillet Doux wrote:Except that cheesesteak currently leads. Which is wrong. WRONG.
Then do what any self-respecting Chicago politician would do -- use phpMyAdmin and stuff the ballot box. :lol:
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Skillet Doux
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I like the way you think, "markh" :-)
Dominic Armato
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BarbaraToombs
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Gotta go with Cheesesteak on this one (with all due apologies to the Chicago folk). HOWEVER, I haven't tried Taylor Street's Italian Beef yet, so that could perhaps sway my vote. I just remember sitting in the cold in Philly, literally inhaling cheesesteaks from the highly competitive Geno's and Pat's...both of which were delicious.
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Skillet Doux
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You're killing me, Barbara... IB should at least have the honor of losing out to a *good* cheesesteak :-)

Two questions:

1) When does voting close?
2) When is Barbara free for lunch this week?
Dominic Armato
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Lunchbox
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I just had my first "combo" from Taylor Street today... Yowza! That was good!
-- LBX

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Twitter: @zach_garcia
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Lunchbox
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I can hear Dick Viatale now: "Oh Baby! What a Cinderalla Story it's been for the Cheesesteak... It's the greatest achievement I've ever witnessed in all my years of being a coach and a television personality. I really, absolutely have been blown away."

Also - I love how seriously Dom is taking this... :lol:
-- LBX

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Twitter: @zach_garcia
themis
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Poll closure date and time is the first thing at the top. Set to run one week from when I post.

I still see no explanation for how the two differ from each other.
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BarbaraToombs
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Skillet Doux wrote:You're killing me, Barbara... IB should at least have the honor of losing out to a *good* cheesesteak :-)

Two questions:

1) When does voting close?
2) When is Barbara free for lunch this week?
LOL...why did I know I'd get a reaction out of you?

This week is good...educate me! Just pick a day! :grin:
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BarbaraToombs
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themis wrote: I still see no explanation for how the two differ from each other.
I would like this, too...but I would assume it's about the cheese on the cheesesteaks, which (I don't believe) is a regular feature of Italian beef???
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Skillet Doux
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A cheesesteak's a griddled item. You get sliced, raw steak -- ribeye at the good spots -- which is lightly seasoned and quickly griddled, with or without onions, plus cheese. Cheez Whiz is indisputably the "original" version, and I've not seen consensus from cheesesteak lovers over whether provolone is an acceptable alternative or an abomination before the cheesesteak gods. Also, you can usually get some pickled cherry peppers on the side.

Italian beef is a much leaner cut -- usually some type of round -- that's seasoned with Italian spices (read: garlic, oregano, etc.) and roasted in a pan with a little beef broth or other liquid in the bottom, usually low heat, so that it emerges tender. It's then removed, cooled, and thinly sliced. To serve, the broth is seasoned (olive oil, more spices, reduced somewhat) and brought up to heat, and the sliced beef gets a quick swim in the broth to further season it and bring it up to heat before it goes on the sandwich. More broth is added to the sandwich, either in the form of a few splashes for the timid, or a fully-submerged dunk for the hardcore. Peppers -- sauteed or steamed green peppers (often with garlic) or a mix of pickled hot peppers and chunks of other vegetables (giardiniera) -- are added (either/or), and in a few neighborhood pockets in Chicago, they'll add a little bit of provolone, but that's an uncommon variant and, IMO, gets away from the essence of the sandwich. The multi-step process combined with how tricky it is to keep the beef from toughening up and how little tweaks in the balance of seasonings are front and center means that a good Italian been is much more difficult to produce, and even the best places will occasionally have consistency issues. Because of the simple appearance, it's a deceptively difficult thing to get just right, and any flaws are totally exposed (can't be hidden under a pile of melty cheese).

To wit, a cheesesteak is as much if not more about the cheese. An Italian Beef -- between the usually more flavorful cut, the slow cooking process, the abundance of seasoned beef broth and the seasonings and peppers that enhance the beef flavor rather than masking it -- is about the beef.

(Which isn't to say I don't love a good cheesesteak... but yeah, no contest :-) )
Dominic Armato
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BarbaraToombs
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As I suspected...cheesesteak is about the cheese as much as, if not more than, the beef.

At the "taste test" we did several years ago in Philly (Geno's vs Pat's, the two "tourist destinations" that are right up there on the "to-do" list with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall), we got them both "with": onions, peppers (I think) and provolone---not Cheese Whiz, although I did hear that was originally the deal. It was so long ago I can't remember which was which, but one had decidedly better bread, and the other had decidedly better beef...but still, to me, it was the onions/peppers/cheese (did I say CHEESE?) that made it. I love my cheese!!!!

So Italian Beef will have to be pretty damn good to win me over, if it doesn't have CHEESE on it! :)
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Skillet Doux
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I welcome that challenge.
Dominic Armato
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Skillet Doux
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Incidentally, I think the aforementioned difficulty in getting an IB just right is the reason why cheesesteaks are widely known while IB remains largely a Chicago phenomenon. If you have mediocre beef and slather it in cheese and griddled onions, it still tastes pretty good -- it's much more forgiving -- so the gap between an average cheesesteak and a great cheesesteak isn't as wide. With IB, though, there's a massive gulf between the average and the great, and there just aren't that many places serving the great. Which is why I kind of have mixed emotions about Portillo's. On one hand, I get frustrated when they're touted as the pinnacle of Italian beef technology, because there are a bunch of independents that do it way better. But on the other hand, they make a pretty good beef and they're rock solid in their consistency, and they're giving people a taste, on a widespread basis, of what that sandwich can be. As an ambassador for the institution, you could definitely do better, but you could mostly do worse.
Dominic Armato
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Skillet Doux
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Okay... anybody who hasn't been and would like to try a great beef before voting has closed, Barbara and I are going tomorrow:

Italian Beef Lunch - Taylor Street, Wed. 3/13 @ 11:30 AM
Dominic Armato
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BarbaraToombs
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Skillet Doux wrote:Okay... anybody who hasn't been and would like to try a great beef before voting has closed, Barbara and I are going tomorrow:

Italian Beef Lunch - Taylor Street, Wed. 3/13 @ 11:30 AM
TRANSLATION:
...anybody who is weak-minded and susceptible to be hornswoggled by Dom into preferring Italian beef to Cheesesteaks is welcome. ;)
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Skillet Doux
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Hey, the heart wants what it wants. I just want to be sure that if my beloved goes down, she goes down swinging, that's all :-)
Dominic Armato
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I voted Italian Beef but I also don't think I've ever had a real cheesesteak so I could be converted (doubtful but always a possibility). I'm guessing my cheesesteak experiences at 2 am at Philly Cheesesteak Co. were not representative of the best...