The Reading Terminal Market is maybe the singular greatest food idea - ever. Enclosed within its walls, are literally hundreds of independent, locally owned Philadelphia eateries, food shops and markets. You'll see Amish ladies working the Dutch kitchens next to African American managed rib places. Everything that is good about the American food experience can literally be found all in one place. The Reading Terminal was an active railroad station only some 25 years ago. Once it closed, the cities' leading visionaries moved the already existing food markets into the terminal itself. To only be able to eat all day long. If I could, I'd do it here.
Rick's is not the only steak sandwich establishment at the RTM (not surprising given it's Philly's most famous export), but his is the most famous and has the purest pedigree. Rick Olivieri is the grandson of Pat Olivieri, the founder of Pat's, which is generally considered the first Philly Cheesesteak place, along with Geno's across the street. Mr. Jose visited those fine establishments back in 2005, while on a business trip.
With all this going in my favor, I felt this would be a safe bet to introduce Mrs. RJG to an authentic Philly Steak sandwich, a food she's only had in bastardized forms in the DFW and Denver areas.
The tide from the evening before at Villa di Roma was still working against me, and Rick's was another swing and a miss. Sometimes a guy can't get a break. And poor Rick can't seem to get good help. Rick himself had to take our order since one of his employees didn't feel like working that day apparently. It looked like Rick fired him right there on the spot. Must be a tough man to work for. Later Rick yelled at one his minions to clean the tables. She did, using the wettest cloth she could find, drowning it in more water, and then leaving all the tables in puddles of water. Lovely. Mrs. RJG was sulking by now. Mrs. RJG said to order it the way I do - which is the Philly way: Wiz wit (cheese whiz and onions). Hey, that's an authentic Philly cheesesteak! When Kraft introduced Cheese Whiz in 1952, it became all the rage to douse your cheesesteak with it. I know it sounds gross, but Mr. RJG likes it. Mrs. RJG did not. At all. So we learned, next time get it with provolone and easy on the onions, eh buddy! As for me, I've had better cheesesteaks at Texadelphia. Sorry Charlie, but one can do a lot better in Philly than this. Like at Geno's or Rick's grandpa's place.