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Goodbye, Phila. #5 – Cheesesteaks and a Lot More

June 14, 2010

We had planned a chock-full day on Sunday of enjoying some of our absolute favorite Philly spots.  Unfortunately for us, it is June in Philadelphia, and Philadelphia is a dirty and humid city, and the day just did not quite go as planned.

Let me give you some information simply and quickly.  The best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia are at Campo’s, at 2nd and Market, right by Penn’s Landing.  The meat is high quality, fresh and decidedly NOT filled with fat chunks and excess oils, and the buns are the perfect consistency.  And I say this after years of trying to tell myself that high quality cheese is always better – get the cheese whiz.  It just isn’t the same without the cheese whiz.  “Wit’ whiz,” as they say here.

But three things got in the way of fully enjoying Campo’s in all its open-air, bustling and classic ambience. 

First, free parking.  It’s not worth it to snag free parking on a quiet street if it means trucking seven blocks in high heels in humidity so intense that your body is drenched the moment you stand up in it.  Arriving at your restaurant soaked, blistered, and tired just kills the mood.

Secondly, heat.  Our cheesesteaks were delicious, but had to be almost obscured by the ice cold sodas we were chugging to keep the hot meat from overloading our body temperatures.

Thirdly, PRIDE month.  I had no idea it was PRIDE month.  Or, I didn’t until the street suddenly shut down and the most fascinating characters I’ve ever seen in my life trapped us inside the restaurant as they flooded the street.  Yellow corsets and rainbow tutus, crystal rainbowed belts and clever tie-dyed outfits – no one can say that these folks don’t have flair.  And while if I hadn’t been drenched, hot, and barely able to walk I may have gotten some great, unusual photos, what I was really looking for was classic Philadelphia and Campo’s as I’ve known it throughout my time here, which did not involve pride parades… interesting as they may have been.

So in the end, my goodbye to Campo’s was not all I had dreamed.  But I will say that in a way, we were saying goodbye to Philadelphia through this crazy experience as well.  Hot, humid, grab-parking-wherever-you-can, cultured, ever-changing, colorful, and eventful Philadelphia.

Next up – what we did after cheesesteaks to try to cool down.

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