a couple's adventures in eating
Restaurant: Laspada’s Original Cheesesteak & Hoagies
Location: 1010 Lee Road, Orlando, FL
WHAT HE ATE:
The Food: Philly Cheesesteak with onions, sweet & hot peppers, and fries
The Price: $6.55 plus tax
The Critique: The elegant simplicity of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich: bread, steak, onions, cheese. How can anyone mess this up? Trust me. They can. Not Laspada’s, though. This is the understatement of the year. Forget every Friday’s, work cafeteria, or IHOP’s cheesesteak sandwich…yes IHOP has one. Laspada’s does it the old-fashioned way. AMAZING.
I have frequented Laspada’s for several years now. My first visit was on the first week they opened this location on Lee Rd. Believe it or not, their cheeseteak was not the first menu item for which I sprung. I got their classic Italian hoagie. This sandwich is so massive that the meat has to be anchored by your forefinger, as your thumb and middle finger grip the sides of the sandwich, but I digest. On to the task at hand: The Cheesesteak.
Any Philadelphian worth his weight in salted pretzels will tell you that there is only one roll worthy of holding the cheesy, unctuous, steaky goodness that is the “Philly”. That bread: The Amoroso Roll. Laspada’s agrees, and with planned disregard to placement, boxes of these crusty pillows of heaven are scattered (label out) about the restaurant as if to say, “oh yeah, we went there.”
The cheesesteak leaves the kitchen steaming hot. No worries if you are concerned about the cheese melting. As a matter of fact, the cheese is almost woven into the meat with a technique so simple, an artisan couldn’t do it. The meat is tender, juicy, and deliciously seasoned. I think the fellow behind the counter might have accidentally shared his secret (Looks like Lawry’s Seasoning Salt to me).
Get the small sandwich. It will be enough. If you can eat, spring for the large, but let the buyer beware. You will have leftovers.
In short, get to Laspada’s yesterday. You can’t go wrong.
The Verdict: I look way, way up to this sandwich.
WHAT SHE ATE
The Food: Chicken Cheesesteak with White American cheese and fries
The Price: $6.55 plus tax
Timothy being a Florida boy with Philly family had frequented this place before we met. Seeing as how our relationship has cultivated itself on food, food and more food (he’s Greek, I’m Southern; a sheer inevitability), this was a no-brainer destination for a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Admittedly, I’m a suicidal “culinarian” in that I’ve had one Philly cheesesteak my whole life. Additionally, I have some strange opposition to onions hanging out atop my sandwich. So, I ordered the chicken cheesesteak. It was utter perfection for my childlike palate (“Ew! Onions are slimy!”). The chicken literally oozed with flavor. The juicy combination of salt and creamy melted cheese contrasted perfectly with the crispiness of the hoagie which was on that perfect cusp of being too toasted, which I love.
The setting was spectacularly unadorned: sun-bleached Philadelphia memorabilia, mismatched chairs to wobbly tables, a hodgepodge of Tastykake pastries piled carelessly on a snack rack. Great food is rarely matched with posh ambience.
The Verdict: A meal I look UP to!