There are two things you need to keep in mind before stepping up to order a Philly cheesesteak from the South Philly Experience food truck.
First, know how you're doin'. Second, make sure you're familiar with the Philly lean, especially if you're planning on eating that cheesesteak on your lunch break.
Tom Salvatore, whose son Jonathan Salvatore opened the first South Philly Experience food truck in Los Angeles with his cousin Scott Springfield in 2009, will most likely be the first to greet you when you find the truck.
"How you doin'?" he asks in a thick Jersey accent. Salvatore, his son and Springfield are all from New Jersey, just over the bridge from South Philly.
On a recent Thursday, one of the trucks was parked off Grand Avenue in downtown L.A., surrounded by men in suits, all waiting for their cheesesteaks. When you order your sandwich, which can be steak or chicken, decide beforehand if you want it with Cheez Wiz, American or provolone cheese, and if you want it "wit" or without onions.
The sandwiches come stuffed with paper thin slices of tender beef that melt into a sort of meat jam with the grilled onions and Cheez Wiz on the sandwich. And the rolls, from Amoroso's Baking Co. in Philadelphia, are soft and chewy, creating the perfect vessel for all that meat juice.
Here is where the Philly lean comes in. Before you take a bite of your sandwich, hold the sandwich out in front of you, then lean over to take a bite. This will ensure minimal spillage on any clothing. And try not to drip over your shoes.
South Philly Experience is serving the classic cheesesteaks along with a Buffalo chicken version, with Buffalo sauce and blue cheese; an Italian sandwich with broccoli rabe; a pizza steak with marinara; and a veggie steak with mushrooms and broccoli rabe.
To go with your sandwich, an order of "tails" (boneless Buffalo wings, think crispy chicken fingers), fries smothered in Cheez Wiz, or SPE Old Bay fries with crabmeat.
Whatever you order, ask for plenty of napkins.
Not afraid of a little extra sauce. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_