The carnivore and I recently went on a trip to the east coast. We got to hang out with our family and friends in Maryland, Delaware, D.C., and Pennsylvania. In each place we had a great time and great food. We sampled everything from Boog's bar-b-que sandwich at Camden Yards in Baltimore (well, the carnivore did) to lavender ice cream on the boardwalk at Rehoboth's famous Udder Delight Ice Cream House (well, I did) to a classic big breakfast at Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington (which had fake sausage that was so good even the carnivore was fooled). But, our biggest accomplishment was in Philadelphia. In the city of brotherly love we managed to find a cheese steak for both of us. Can you believe it?
Now, for the carnivore this wasn't much of a challenge. Cheese steaks are all over Philly. There are the famous places, like Pat's and Geno's (for the record the carnivore is a fan of Pat's), and little dives all over the city. The carnivore found this one near his sister's house at at small spot called Chubby's. He ordered his with American cheese, not the traditional whiz. He also asked for his without - i.e. without veggies - go figure.
The bigger challenge was finding a cheese steak for me, the lone vegetarian in the family, in this meat haven. Luckily there is a tiny place my sister-in-law found for me called Govinda's To Go that caters just to people like me. All the creations have the traditional taste but use mock meat. And let me just say, it was amazing! Not only did I not have to get laughed out of line at one of the traditional places, but I also didn't have to settle for just veggies and cheese. There were real "steak" bits in my sesame roll.
To top things off we also tried another Philly traditional food - water ice. We ordered our water ice with soft serve at the recommendation of my sister-in-law and her boyfriend (who both ordered theirs this way, one with vanilla ice cream like mine and one with chocolate). The carnivore had the lime, while I had the strawberry, like our tour guides. I have to tell you I sampled both, and I definitely won. Lesson learned for the carnivore - listen to the locals.
Like I said, we had a wonderful trip, some incredible food, and even got to hang out with some pretty cool folks (the phillie phanatic included - and yes that overly excited girl is me). So, if you are a mixed diet family traveling around the east coast (or anywhere for that matter), take time to find the places that serve up the traditional dishes for all members of your family. If I can find a vegetarian cheese steak, it can be done. I promise.