You So Dirty, You So Nasty, You So Cheesesteak

This is the grossest picture I have posted by far in the history of this website:

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Keep in mind that I have posted pictures of fermenting starter, me eating cat food, and–to quote John Kessler’s piece–“a pile of grody napkins at Fat Matt’s.” But this takes the cake.

This photograph is decidedly unappetizing. I look at it and I do not salivate, I recoil.

“Blech!” I say and for good reason. This is a pizzasteak from the Philly Connection and it’s a full notch lower than the “good enough food” I ate last week at Wendy’s. This is NOT good enough. This is the culinary equivalent of masochism.

First of all, you have to take into account the environs. The Philly Connection in the Ansley mall is the epitome of bathroom dining. The space reeks of ammonia, the same kind they slosh around the floors of middle school cafeterias. I always walk in there hesitantly as if I’m about to make a huge life mistake; like a recovering addict hovering over a heroin needle. Tonight I vacillated between the door and the register until the man there said: “Can I help you?”

One thing you CAN say about the Ansley Philly Connection is that the people who work there are incredibly kind and friendly. I spilled a Coke at one point and the proprieter didn’t bat an eye. “Don’t worry about it,” he said.

So I ordered my pizza steak and glanced at the nutrition facts on my left:

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My pizza steak has 470 calories, 270 fat calories, 19 g of fat, 8 g of saturated fat. If I knew what those numbers meant, I might be scared. But you have to wonder: why are they posting this at all? Wouldn’t that be like posting taxi-cab death statistics on the door of the cab you’re getting into?

Health doesn’t concern me here, anyway. When you eat at the Philly Connection, you’ve already given up: there’s nothing left to live for.

What does concern me, though, is grossness. My Philly Connection pizza steak was gro-zizzity-gross, and yet it was good. It hit the spot. I needed grimy grossness and I got it. Like diving head first into a mud puddle or not bathing for a week. It’s liberating. It’s freeing. And it’s the last time I’m eating there hopefully forever.

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4 comments

  1. You silly silly Gourmet!! You should NEVER EVER eat ANYTHING labeled “Philly” or “cheese/pizza/philly/whatever steak” outside of Philadelphia! We invented it, we’re the only ones that can do it right!

    Even though I’m sure even a true Philly cheesesteak would clog the veins and loosen the bowels of the best of us. The taste is more than worth it though!

  2. Lisa, I’m glad you pointed that out: my post isn’t a critique of cheesesteak in general, it’s a critique of cheesesteak at the Philly Connection, specifically the one in the Ansley Mall in Atlanta, GA. Thank you.

  3. I cried when the Philly Connection closed at Lenox mall.

    They used to do delivery on a bicycle.

    I remember one time I watched the guy drop my sandwich on the ground outside of my house, pick it up, look around, and come and ring my doorbell like nothing had happened.

    It was awesome.

  4. “I needed grimy grossness” — is that the Bar Exam talking? I’d just like to advocate once again for the Total Crap Diet while engaged in bar study: something in the combination of greasy comfort food and the illicit jolt of self-confidence from indulging yourself against your better judgment just really makes those facts and figures stick. I personally ate my weight in chicken nuggets and curly fries during my bar summer, and I passed — specious logic, perhaps…but tasty logic. ;) m.