Even prior to our Home Alone adventure to the Big Apple in 2015, I was partial to American food. There’s just something so unadulterated about it. There are no half measures – it’s all or nothing.
Behind the bludgeon lies many a foodie’s paradise. One of those places isn’t New York, but Philadelphia, around an hour’s drive from NYC. For those not in the know, Philly is famous for its cheesesteak sandwiches. BUT WHAT IS A CHEESESTEAK I hear you cry! Well dear readers, it is a massive sandwich filled with steak, cheese and onions if you so desire. But like many a good product, imitations began to make their way across the Atlantic. Step forward JP Teti, Founder of Liberty Cheesesteak.
Based in the fabulously foodie Spitalfields Market, JP has brought the real thing to the streets of London. So on one overcast afternoon, we went down to find out what all the fuss was about.
Since March 2014 JP has been treating lucky customers to an authentic taste of Philly. It’s a taste that he thought he’d be able to find fairly easily in the cosmopolitan city of London. But he was wrong.
As I meandered through the market to the truck, I had visions of a massive toasted sandwich filled with chunky strips of meat I’d probably have to chew through. The reality was very different. Here stood a footlong sub, filled with meat cut exactly to 1.5cm, chopped up with beautifully sweet onions and layered with wiz cheese. Every ingredient and every taste JP has carefully fostered over the years, right down to making the cheese sauce and the bread himself.
By this point I was salivating, something my friends shared when I sent them a picture of the beastly sarnie.
You’re probably thinking ‘it’s just a sandwich’, but it really isn’t. It SO isn’t. The combination of the homemade bread, the tenderness of the meat, the sweetness of the onions and the cheese OMG the cheese! It wasn’t like the fake plastic American cheese you get. It was something way better. I usually spill food all over me (Laura will confirm this), but not today.
So why a cheesesteak? Why London? JP told me about his Italian heritage, and how Philadelphia has a large Italian community. Back in the day thin, cheap cuts of steak were all families could afford, so they had to get creative. The cheesesteak was born.
To maintain the authenticity of the experience, Liberty encourages customers to order like Philadelphians. This entails choosing your cheesesteak size (whole or half), picking a cheese (Wiz, Provolone or American) and deciding if you want onions – “wit” if you do, “witout” if you don’t. What you see here is a ‘whole wiz wit’, which rolls off the tongue quite nicely.
The whole is perfect for after work, and half is even better for lunchtime. If steak isn’t your thing the Italian roast pork dish is a must. In fact everything on the menu is a must. Dine like an American. Look like an American.
Find your nearest Liberty Cheesesteak truck here.