Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Philly's Phinest: Veggie Cheesesteak wit' Unicorn Kid, Philadelphia Grand Jury, and Souvenirs from Fiji

I'm a dichotomy kind of guy. It's either black or white, cat or dog, one side of the fence or they other. My latest obsession is the Philadelphia Cheesesteak dichotomy, Pat's or Geno's.

Unfortunately, as most of you know, my vegetarianism does not allow me the opportunity to conduct my own experiment (although I will someday get the guts to walk up to those two stands and see which one is willing to cook up a veggie sub) so I have to live vicariously through others. The score card from my Thanksgiving trip to Philly, Pat's 2-Geno's 0.

Growing up relatively close to Philly made cheesesteaks (and soft pretzels, and butterscotch krimpets) a staple in my household. Along with meatball subs, cheesesteaks were the hardest food for me to accept that I would never eat again when I went meatless a little over ten years ago. Just like the meatball sub, I needed to create my own version. While this sub won't ever be confused with the real thing, it certainly serves its purpose.

Vegetarian Cheese Steak Recipe
(printable version)
-6 portobello mushrooms sliced
-3 white mushrooms sliced thinly (optional)
-1 green pepper, sliced
-1 onion, sliced
-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
-shredded cheese (or cheez whiz if you want the authentic Philly taste)
-sub rolls

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place the green pepper and onion in the skillet and cook until onion is translucent (about eight minutes).

2. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional five minutes.

3. In the pan, separate the veggies into four or five different piles (depending on sub roll size). Top veggie piles with cheese and allow to melt.

4. Scoop up veggies and melted cheese and place in a sub roll. Top with ketchup, mustard, and a pickle if you desire.

It would be easy to dismiss Unicorn Kid (aka Oliver Saban) as, well, a kid. Afterall he just turned 18 years old. But Unicorn Kid has done things before the age of 18 that some of us have only dreamed of. Among other things, he was asked by the Pet Shop Boys to remix one of their singles, he was the youngest person ever to perform a live session on the BBC Radio 1, he's toured the US, Canada and Britain get the point. Look for Unicorn Kid to bring his act back to the US next year when he performs SXSW. Hopefully he does this danceable ditty, "Talk to animals (wolves remix)."

What would a Philly post be without the Philadelphia Grand Jury? Don't be confused by the moniker, these guys reside continents away from Philadelphia in New South Wales, Australia. Doesn't matter. Philadelphia Grand Jury embodies exactly what I would expect from a Philly jury: they are fun, exuberant, poppy and unafraid to celebrate the shuttlecock. Here is the video from their latest single "The Good News."

Souvenirs from Fiji remind me of Tripping Daisy circa Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb with their Lo-fi speed rock and distorted vocals. My favorite track from their latest album, Acupuncture (purchase here), is "Waterslides are fun." No videos for that one yet so here is another song off of the album, "Grown Oblivious."

While you are at it...check out my friend Becca's 2010 calendar. It is limited (and whatever is leftover I promised to buy) so grab one for someone special this holiday season.