My boyfriend and I have an ongoing “there are two kinds of people in the world” riff. It started with breakfast food. I have a terrible sweet tooth, and he much prefers salty, pickled, and spicy-type foods. So when we go to breakfast, I’ll get something like a waffle with strawberries and whipped cream and he’ll get sausage and polenta or chilaquiles. In short, “There are two kinds of people in this world: sweet [me] and savory [him].”
This kind of binary thinking has punctuated the whole of our relationship: There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Samurai movies, and those who do not; those who are always cold and those who are not; those who like Vegas and those who do not… Last weekend’s trip to Markie D’s was one more log on that fine fire of dualism. Feeling a bit nostalgic for our recent trip to the City of Brotherly Love, we decided to see if the City of Angels could put together a passable cheesesteak. Markie D’s, which sits on the corner of Washington and Commonwealth, just off Sepulveda in Culver City, bills itself as “Home of the Real Philly cheese steak.” The verdict after the jump.
You guessed it. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think that Markie D’s approximates a real Philly cheesesteak and those who do not. I am of the latter camp, and while K’s palate is clearly more refined than my own (I tend to refer to mine as a “truckdriver palate”), I am the cheesewhiz-eater of the couple (he has his cheesesteaks with provolone) ergo I suspect in this case I may be more capable of an accurate gastronomic ruling.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad cheesesteak. It was loaded with meat. Had I never tasted a real Philly cheesesteak (in Philly) I don’t think I would have any argument with it at all. But I just didn’t think it was all the way there. The meat was a bit too bland and the cheesewhiz didn’t taste quite right either. K says it was 95% there. I’d say 80% at best, maybe even 75%. But here’s the funny thing, Yelp and Trip Advisor reviewers are similarly divided. It seems that for some folks Markie D’s scratches that Philly itch like nothing else, while others just aren’t feeling it.
Regardless, I would go back. I practiced east coast culinary snobbery for a long time. (It took me three years before I ate a crab cake in LA.) But I’m over it now. Just because I’ve never had a croissant as tasty as the ones in France or a gelato on the par with the scoops I’ve sampled in Florence, doesn’t mean I’m going to kick the habit stateside. Markie D’s really tries. It’s clearly a labor of love from a displaced Philadelphian. The service is super-nice, the walls are covered with Philadelphia memorabilia, and the dessert selections in particular are impressively authentic:
And no matter what kind of person you are, nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a TastyCake.