Some longtime readers may remember a post from two summers ago about our impromptu Philly cheesesteak odyssey. We had fun on that trip but were a little disappointed with our sandwiches and still on the lookout for something really authentic. A few months back Will had brunch with a high school friend and some other guys from the Princeton area and got to talking with one of them about where to get the best cheesesteaks and other heart-attack sandwiches in Philadelphia. Ever since then, Will’s been plotting and scheming to make a trip to John’s Roast Pork, a 78-year-old sandwich joint in the industrial hinterlands south of downtown Philly. Trouble is, they’re only open until 3 p.m., and only on weekdays. Our chance came on Friday, as we were en route to a rehearsal dinner on a friend’s family farm. After a few wrong turns, we finally were confronted with this glorious sign:

I spent enough time in the South to know that an anthropomorphized pig on the sign equals good pork. We had been advised to order the Italian roast-pork sandwich with sharp provolone and spinach, plus a classic cheesesteak:

The roast pork had a pastrami-like treatment, with a peppery crust, sliced thin, and piled high on a soft (and frankly sort of brain-like) Kaiser roll. I could see why it had won the James Beard Foundation award for best pork sandwich. The spinach was an inspired if somewhat soggy touch.

The cheesesteak delivered on the hype: not too greasy, just enough cheese and onions, on a sturdy hero studded with sesame seeds. We split the two sandwiches, and those plus the barbecue consumed at Saturday’s wedding supplied all the meat I’ll be wanting for a while. It’s tempeh for dinner tonight…

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