829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I sure hope Geno's is the best,

because Pat's King of Steaks was a royal scam.

That's a provolone cheesesteak wit.  I took some cherry
peppers because they were free and they filled the void
where the steak was supposed to be.  Two thin slices of
cheese were laid in the roll and bland, kind of dry meat
(not even really greasy which would have made it taste like
something) and a scant spoonful of cooked onions were
dropped on top.  The roll was decent, but the sandwich was 
disappointing to say the least.  I shoulda gone with Cheez Whiz.

This is what I was envisioning.  Photo courtesy of an esteemed
fellow blogger.  It must be a San Francisco cheesesteak.

There was a Japanese film crew buzzing about documenting
this South Philly phenomenon.  The people still come in droves;
maybe I stopped by on an off day.

And I love me a Banh Mi sandwich, which any other day of the 
year I would have rather had, but was it wise to open a place
right next to Geno's, the Best?

I threw my bike in the car that morning, hoping for a ride along
Kelly Drive after I took care of my business.  There's a Fair
Amount of Park along the Schuylkill River where one can 
jog or ride his bike.  Historic Boathouse Row is situated
just northwest of the Art Museum.

Spring of 1957, on the ramp at Crescent Boat Club,
with Dad and his fellow oarsmen ready to row.
 A day probably not unlike last Thursday.

Spring of 2012, last Thursday.  I snuck through the unlocked gate 
behind a bunch of kids showing up for practice. Roman Catholic High 
School rows from Crescent these days.  LaSalle University now puts 
in at Fairmount Rowing Association, to the right, out of the photo. 

The man for whom the road beside the Schuylkill River was named.

The sport for which the Schuylkill River is famed.

Lemon Hill Mansion overlooking the Schuylkill and Boathouse Row.

Pennsylvania Barge Club to the left, and Crescent Boat Club 
on the right, taken from Lemon Hill.

Since the ban on one-upping Billy Penn was lifted, there are now
several, much taller, freakish looking buildings gracing? center-city
Philadelphia.  And you can't even see the twisted structure that 
houses Amtrak.  Or whatever that company's called now.   

Another click-blindly-while-driving photo. The light was red and I
was inching my way up almost to the perfect spot where I could get
a clear shot.  Then the light went green and all hell broke loose.

The Rocky Ladder, as my wife's beloved Italian relatives christened 
these steps back in April of 2007.  I drove an SUV-load of them right
to the school bus unloading area, just around to the left of the 
building, and waited nervously while they ran to the front of the 
museum, videoing and snapping photos wildly while hugging 
Sylvester Stallone and jogging up the 'ladder', triumphantly waving 
their arms while throngs of onlookers cheered, thinking they'd just 
witnessed greatness. The Italians ran back to the car, and we started
 off on the bridge across the Schuylkill, but I made a sudden 
screeching U-turn, bounced over into the opposite lane, and 
raced back toward Benjamin Franklin Parkway and City Hall.
They all thought that was way cool, BTW.  

Another hold-the-camera-out-the-window shot.  That is the
Rodin Museum.  I think.

On my way back to Jersey following the directions for 676 East, 
I saw the Mole Street sign.  For old time's sake, I turned down 
and wasn't disappointed like I was three hours earlier, a good
bit south of here.  I had a hard time imagining where Kelly's
had been situated, but then again, didn't you remember your
 old backyard as being a lot bigger than it is now?

And no.  I didn't see the bell that day. 


  1. What? You did a Philgrimage and didn't go and see my bell? Shame on you!

    If it weren't for my bell you Americans would still be speaking English.

  2. Nobody goes there anymore - it's too crowded.

  3. Kelly for brickwork!

    ... and cheers to the race in which Uncle Jim let it shine: Dad Vail

  4. OK, can we consider the myth of the Philly Cheesesteak busted?

    Even as a kid, I smelled a rat - or was it a groundhog? Dry, tasteless mystery meat that is actually helped by Cheez Whiz?

    I think the Emperor of Steaks isn't wearing any clothes.

    I love how Bonnie graciously sidestepped the whole issue by posting pictures of her expressions while gagging one down and let it go at that.

    And oh, modest oversight not to mention that your dad's rowing team won the Dad Vail Regatta six out of eight years running.

  5. If I had bought the pencil-drawing of me from the guy who immediately zeroed in on me and started sketching me as I gagged on the tasteless cowmeat sandwich, and then approached me for a donation only after I choked down my last mouthful of tasteless tourist-attraction cuisine,
    I could have scanned it in JPEG format and added it to this fine post, with a witty caption underneath. But, after only offering him three bucks for the sketch that actually made me look like Jeff Daniels in the movie, 'Dumb and Dumber', he said he needed at least enough to buy lunch. Maybe he shoulda been sketching outside the dollar store then.

  6. Or the McDonald's dollar menu, where I at least would have known ahead of time what to expect.
    A square meal for $3.21. Surely he had two dimes and a penny in his pocket?

  7. Tony Luke's and a priceless picture of the kids and car as I stood on "the ladder" to take their picture. Ah those Michigan tourists!

    1. Baydog: Thanks for the ride down memory lane. Cooper River YC is as close to Philly as I've been in years.

      Whenever I want a "Philly cheese steak" I go get a good one at almost any south Jersey beach town.

      BTW, what's the story with the MG TD parked in your header pix? No doubt it was busy "marking it's territory" by leaking oil & other fluids from various places!

  8. I lived in the Philadelphia area for five years and never saw Tillermans defective bell.

  9. Without my bell, Americans would never have been able to achieve separation of church and state, and RIcky Santorum would not now have the freedom to "barf" at such a radical concept.

  10. Doug, you're on the clock......

  11. Point taken, Tillerman.

    ... we are be-Stow-ed with your gloriously imperfect bell!

  12. Tillerman,

    So to paraphrase your last post. The Liberty, Oops, "Tillerman Bell" went "clunk", cracked, became useless and that inspired the American belief of the separation of church and state. This P.O'd Ricky Santorum who does not believe in such a concept,and thus is challenging it's existence...all because of your bell. Tillerman, take the bell and put it on Craig s list. You are right about are political candidates, They have poop in their ears when it comes to the ideal of the founding Fathers of this country

  13. Oh, and Tillerman, Your point is well taken but just remember the founding Fathers of this country came from England but are and always will be American.

    This leads me into my favorite English contribution to the world...Thomas's English Muffins. I love those things, oh, those nooks and cranny's your countrymen out did yourselves with that breakfast pastry!

  14. Doug. You Americans broke my bell some time in the 1840's or thereabouts. The FIrst Amendment was ratified in 1791. So you have your history backwards.

    You are also confused about the Founding Fathers coming from England. Most of the 55 delegates at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 were born in the American colonies. Only 9 were born elsewhere: four (Butler, Fitzsimons, McHenry, and Paterson) in Ireland, two (Davie and Robert Morris) in England, two (Wilson and Witherspoon) in Scotland, and one (Hamilton) in the West Indies.

    And Thomas's English Muffins were invented in New York. The greatest English contribution to the world is Marmite.

  15. Hear, hear, Tillerman!

    There's not a leak in my boat that Marmite can't fix.

  16. As long as you add enough catalyst, OD.

    And Doug you, my friend, have been served.

  17. Has he been served bourbon?

    Where's Joe when you need him?

  18. And while we're on the topic, my vote for the greatest English contribution to the world is...

    ... gin.

    Yes, I know, it was "invented" by a Dutch physician, but it was distilled to perfection by the English, and popularized by Lord Martini, from Olive-on-Henley.

    You could look it up.

  19. And what language did all those gentleman speak?
    Were Ireland, Scotland and the West Indies independent sovereign nations? Please correct my history because I was under the belief those territories were under the rule of England.

    And my history also says English Muffins are from England, French Fries are from France and Belgium Waffles are from Belgium. So stop screwing around with the American perspective...listen come visit we will get some lunch, Dutch treat.

  20. I know this great Vietnamese baguette joint...
    wait, they're not open any more.

  21. And Mojo, better late than never.....I believe Lord Gibson perfected the Gin cocktail, whilst recovering from a rigorous practice, sitting on the floating docks of Onion-on-Thames.

  22. That was my point Doug. The Founding Fathers weren't from England but they did speak English, and so did pretty much everyone in the American colonies in 1776. But then you went and got all shirty about having to pay tax on tea or something, and you rang my bell, and everyone was so inspired by my bell that they went off camping with Colonel Washington for years and crossing the Delaware (although God knows why because New Jersey is no better than Pennsylvania, in fact its worse in parts) and the next thing you knew you did some deal with the French and with their help you won your independence from the British Empire and started pronouncing words like tomato all wrong and inventing new words like "third down" and "infield fly rule. If it weren't for my bell you would still be speaking English and eating Marmite.

  23. What, in a survival emergency you can eat Marmite, too?

    What a versatile product!

    1. You can mix it with vegimite (3:1 ratio; mix well for two minutes)and patch holes in boats with the stuff. After it kicks off it's easily sanded the a fair curve.

  24. Well, that second cheese steak looks like something to travel for. SF, you said?

    I have to say that my Terminal Market one, slightly short on cheese as it was (one more slice of cheese, a few more onions, or something, and it would've bumped up from not-bad to pretty good) actually looked better than yours.

  25. Yes, quite the contrast in the two pictures in the post.

    The Emperor of Steaks is a sad sack with two shriveled... um, peppers.

    But the (SF) Studliness of Steaks-- muy varonil!

  26. Let's stop this wild speculation before it gets out of hand.

    That purloined photo came from the internets, and I just tracked it down to a company in Oklahoma City, so I guess it must be, uh, OK.

    But I can't think of anything more un-San Francisco than a Cheesesteak, and you'd probably draw an angry mob of protestors if you tried selling one there. Now, Dungeness crab on a sourdough roll might go over. Hold the Cheez Whiz.

    I do like the story about the Sout Philly guy who first added provolone to the Cheesesteak. His name was Jo 'Cocky Joe' Lorenza.

    You can't make up stuff like that.

    1. Ah, that's what makes the SF Cheesesteak so good. They use purloin instead of the cheaper top round.

    2. To your point OD, here can be seen some typical citizens of SF reacting with distaste to the opening of a hapless new cheesesteak joint in their fair city... "Go back to Sout Philly!"

  27. Hey guys! Tiger won this weekend. Golf.. anyone... Tilleman, I believe this was another American sport that you British adopted from us yanks, a long with Football; the one that God sanctioned with helmets and pads. Oh, And Beer Pong...I understand it's is HUGE at Oxford!

  28. Cheese Whiz (proudly sponsored by Google)March 26, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Ahem! Do you know how it feels to be a squirt??

    Nerts to Cocky Joe!

  29. Daily double; Movie quotes for $500.00 Alex "

    "Did you get me my Cheez Whiz, boy?"