My friend and former co-worker Jonathan Cohen and I used to trade stories about our home states. I’d fill his head with stories about K-State and the Konza Prairie. He’d call Kansas a fly-over state and bust out a story about the Eagles or Bon Jovi.
Last week, Laura and I headed up north to the City of Brotherly Love. I had two goals. Eat as many different cheese steaks as possible and attend a wedding. I nailed both pretty well. Laura’s good friend Deidra got married in New Jersey, across the river from Philly. And I tried four different cheese steaks.
We were able to play tourists in between wedding festivities. We added a new Major League ball park to our list, saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, and of course hit up the art museum to run up the steps Rocky style.
From what I read online, which is always true of course, Pat’s is the original cheese steak in town. Geno’s opened up across the street because they thought they could make a better cheese steak. I only tried Pat’s. I read how to correctly order it… “Whiz Wit, please” and a few seconds later a loaf of bread stuffed with meat, cheese whiz and onions appeared in front of me. Not too bad.
Figured we should visit some history since there’s plenty of it in Philly. We stood in line for about 20 minutes to see the Liberty Bell. Pretty cool in my book since it’s one of those landmarks you hear so much about growing up. We walked around Independence hall and around the area to see some other historic buildings. That night we watched Nicholas Cage in “American Treasure” and learned everything we needed to learn. (Not really. It just happened to be on)
The next day we took Cohen’s advice and hit up Jim’s on South Street to try out their steaks. Hands down the best one of the four I had. Everything from the taste to the atmosphere of the place was awesome. The one thing I liked better than Pat’s was they put the cheese whiz on first, then the meat and onions. No clue why I liked that better… but I’m sure it’s similar to why I like putting my catsup on the bun before the hot dog.
Then came the Main Event, Deidra’s wedding. The groom’s family is from Mexico so there was fun mix between English and Spanish along with American and Mexican traditions.
This tradition caught me off guard. The Bride and Groom are lifted into the air on chairs. I’m not quite sure what was going on, but a group of women surrounded the Bride and some men surrounded the Groom. The rest of the women made a line and paraded around the room conga-line style under the veil trying to knock the groom off the chair. It was light hearted and fun to watch. Then it was the men’s turn to line up and parade around. I got in line and the D.J. said “Guy with the camera, you might want to be careful.” Oh, I’ll be fine. “Really sir, you might want to put the camera to the side.” Nah, I want to play along and maybe take some photos.
I should have listened. It turned into a mosh pit with all the guys pretty much running full speed into the guys who were “protecting” the groom. Then we’d parade around the room a little more, then slam into the groom again. When in Rome right? So I cradled my camera, lowered my shoulder and did what everybody else was did and run full speed into the pit. I think there’s some meaning behind all of this but who cares. It was a lot of fun.
Deidra has a bird named Sushi. Laura and Sushi became good friends the morning of the wedding while everybody was getting ready. There happened to be an amazing red wall next to nice light from a window… easy photo 101.
Can’t wait to get back to Philly and spend some more time around town.