The South Street Challenge is a gastronomic wonder that has to be experienced to be fully understood. A favorite of drunken Philadelphians and visitors from New Jersey alike, it combines two late night staples: steak from Jim’s Steaks and pizza from Lorenzo and Sons.
Last weekend when we were up visiting friends, we attempted the challenge. Having loaded up on cheese and crackers and waffle fries earlier in the night, I didn’t fare so well. I plan on attempting it the next time, but in the meantime here’s what’s involved.
Gather the ingredients.
You will need one cheese steak from Jim’s Steaks. You can have it any way you like. This one is decked out with Wiz, provolone, and extra onions.
You will need one slice of pizza from Lorenzo and Sons, just down the street.
Put it together.
Once all the ingredients are acquired, wrap the slice around the cheese steak. I’ve seen pictures of the lengthwise orientation, but it was agreed upon that the complete wrap around would be better. This can take a little bit of finesse.
Once the slice comes all the way around, the cheese helps keep the whole thing together, like an edible ratchet strap. Hopefully when you’re done with the assembly you’ll have something resembling this.
From what I witnessed, the first bite seems to be the most difficult. You’re holding an entire cheese steak in your hands, staring down its length. It looks and feels unnatural, like you’re playing a musical instrument composed of meat, bread, and cheese. Resist the urge to manhandle. If you take your time it’ll be okay. Promise.
Halfway through, the inside looks like this. Notice all of the cheese that has fused to the roll? I think that’s the best part, the mixture of the meat, onions, cheese, and crust, how it all becomes one. The best of both worlds, it’s a greasy combination that just tastes incredible.
Lorenzo’s doesn’t skimp on the cheese. By the time you hit the slice head on, the cheese wants to go everywhere. It’s like it knows that it’s about to be consumed and it just wants to escape, or at a minimum make it difficult.
And after a good period of time, your tray ought to look something like this.
At the end, you’ll be all smiles. Your stomach might be confused, sending simultaneous calls of distress and joy. That’s perfectly normal.