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It is important

Often overshadowed by New York (an hour and a half to the North) and Washington (two hours to the South), Philadelphia is a oft-overlooked city. Everybody learns about Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Constitutional Convention, of course, but most don't realize how big the city actually is. It's also still a big political city; its national conventions have nominated for President people like Millard Fillmore, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Wendell Wilkie, Thomas Dewey, Harry Truman, Henry Wallace, and George W. Bush.

More than politics, however, what gets Philadelphians stimulated to argue... the thing they really care about... what they all are experts at... what they have opinions over formed by years of experience... is where to find the best cheesesteaks. It is a question of national importance, as Bob Dole found out when he asked to have a cheesesteak delivered to his plane at Philly International Airport instead of visiting himself in 1996 -- not a way to the hearts of Philadelphians or the Pennsylvania vote.

(When will politicians like Dole and Gore learn that the American people will love you provide the promise that you can lead them and if they think you are like them? Everybody in Kansas loves Bob Dole because he had the quintessential Kansan childhood, but in 1996 he went to the other 49 states and promoted an image of being out of touch. Gore went to 50 states advertizing a similar image. Heaven help the parties if Gore or Dick Cheney decide to run for President in 2004 or 2008. The parties should be looking to a working mother [Hillary Clinton] or a child of immigrants, City College grad, army vet [Colin Powell] or a life-long working man and public servant [Ed Rendell].)

Craig LaBan, the restaurant critic and guru of the Philadelphia Inquirer breached the subject in today's paper, and I was quite pleased by his opinions. The details of the rankings aside, I feel for the suburban readers of the Inquirer. The winner was not one of the three hot tourist places (Pat's, Gino's, Jim's... and none of these three deserved it), but an obscure South Philly staple which is only open Monday through Friday and closes at 2:30 p.m. John's Roast Pork caters to the workers of Philadelphia, and with its hours and location, few outside of South Philly or Center City will be calling for reservations.


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