Amendment: John’s Roast Pork Makes A Top 5 Cheesesteak

The constitution may very well be the most important document in America to this day. Gratzfeed’s top 5 cheesesteak article, a close second. Like the constitution, sometimes amendments are needed as times evolve and things change. They’re an important way to update and preserve the integrity of important works. As a result, I am making the very first amendment to my most popular article.

I first had John’s Roast Pork some years ago. While I think I liked it, I never thought it was quite the sandwich some had made it out to be. As the years went by, time and time again I kept hearing John’s Roast Pork’ cheesesteaks being referred to as some of the best Philly had to offer. I decided I had to give it another go. Another go turned into another go. Another go into another and so on and so fourth. Get it?

There’s a reason John’s Roast Pork has the strong reputation it does, their cheesesteaks are out of this world. The meat is flavorful. The rolls are terrific. They give you plenty of cheese and onions. But it doesn’t stop there, something about their cheesesteaks must be addressed and right this very instant. The sandwiches are HUGE. Seriously, it’s borderline offensive how much meat they pile on a single sandwich. Disturbing. Last time I went I was pretty full from just one half, but curiosity got the best of me and for some sick reason I was compelled to experience the feeling of eating a whole one again. It’s pretty much a suicide mission. It’s like having a football in your stomach. Or quintuplets. The thing is, I can eat a lot. If anything I usually complain about portions being too small. Not at John’s. You get your moneys worth and then some. You’ll be full for pretty much a whole day.

If you never been to John’s and want to get some intel, let me paint a picture. It’s your standard Philly dive joint. Small inside where a line wraps around. You either order at one stop at the counter or the next depending on if you’re getting something from the grill like a cheesesteak or the next if you’re getting a roast pork or beef. They have an enclosed seating area with benches and condiments and then some additional benches outside with no enclosure. Simple. Divey. Delicious.

On a side note, while in this case I’m focusing on the cheesesteaks, their roast pork and beef is dynamite too. Like the cheesesteaks, the sandwiches are humongous. Definitely worth a try if you’re into those.

Now you may be wondering, who’s getting bumped from the top 5? Honestly, I think I’d go with John’s Roast Pork over Tony Luke’s. Tony Luke’s is still great though and is undoubtedly a South Philly classic. So, I’m going to do the logical thing and make John’s Roast Pork 5A. and Tony Luke’s 5B. Does that make any sense? Probably not. But I want people to know Tony Luke’s is still a top cheesesteak and I want them to know about John’s Roast Pork too. There you have it, the first amendment to Gratzfeed’s top 5 cheesesteaks has been made. John’s Roast Pork, welcome to the cheesesteak elite. unnamed-5.jpg

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I’m A Little Disappointed By The New Food Offerings At Citizen’s Bank Park

The Phillies have officially announced their additions to the almighty food department down at the ballpark this year. Gratzfeed is a little underwhelmed.

Via CSN Philly:

“The first one that jumps out is a new hoagie offering from the very reliable Primo Hoagies, which will be located in Ashburn Alley. Primo Hoagies will offer a variety of hot and cold sandwiches on their fresh baked breads.

While Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries are often the most coveted item at Philly sporting events, it will have some competition in the French fry department this season. South Philly Shareable Stak will be located behind section 120 and offer boardwalk style fries with the option of topping them with in-house roast pork, sharp provolone cheese sauce, cherry pepper aioli or chopped roasted long hots.

One of the more interesting additions is The Mac Shack behind section 122, which will offer house-made mac and cheese with a number of different toppings. Pretty much everyone loves some mac and cheese but I’m curious to see how that translates to a ballpark snack.

Veggie lovers will surely be excited to try the Farmer’s Market Grain Bowl that features toasted red quinoa, brown rice, sweet peppers, cucumbers, radish, baby herbs, and is finished with honey-balsamic vinaigrette. Also new this year is a Falafel Sandwich.

There will also be some new kiosks at Zoom Foods behind section 126, which is described as “the next step in the evolution of stadium food & beverage service, featuring customer-facing, self-ordering kiosks — improving guest experience and speed of transaction time.”

Other existing vendors with new offerings include pulled chicken option from Bull’s BBQ, new signature Hatfield hot dogs including pork roll as a dog topper, as well as new options at Harry the K’s.”

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Look the Phillies are most likely going to be a middling .500 team this season. If I’m going to the ballpark this year food is going to be a major reason why. I will gladly miss three innings of baseball to get my hands on some Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries. Primo Hoagies are great but they have become so prevalent in the tristate area that their hoagies are not going to be the reason I overpay for food at a Phillies game. I eat Primo like I drink water or breathe oxygen. The Shareable Shak fries sound pretty good but as I alluded to earlier crab fries will always be king. With that said roast pork topped fries are going to have to be consumed at some point so I’d say this is one of the more exciting options being added. Homemade mac and cheese sounds pretty appealing too but I don’t know how I feel about sitting in the hot sun while dripping sweat eating some gooey mac and cheese creation. Then there’s the “Farmer’s Market Grain Bowl”. Pass. Hard pass. Donovan McNabb throwing a laser into the ground type pass. Toasted red quinoa? Brown rice? We’re talking about ballpark food right? And then there’s the falafel sandwich. Another pass. I appreciate the effort to add some diversity so I won’t hate too much on that one but….

Where is the crazy heart attack inducing menacing scary stuff?? Ok the fries with pork and cheese sauce are cool. Everyone likes mac and cheese. But where are the sextuple burgers with smoked brisket and bacon with donuts as rolls? Where are the 4 foot hot dogs wrapped in chicken fingers? I read an article highlighting all of the barbaric new foods around the league and the Phillies add Primo and quinoa? The Royals are out there showing off their Pulled Pork Patty melt complete with pulled pork, fried onion, shredded cheddar, Monterey jack, BACON and jalapenos and the Phillies are excited to announce a grain bowl?!?!?!?!?! I want the stuff that gets you so messed up that by the second inning you don’t know who’s playing or how to even stand up. Last time I checked the Phillies ballpark is in South Philly, not Fishtown. I mean everyone knows the best time to go to a Phillies game is for dollar dog night where you grossly indulge in dollar hot dogs but the Phillies don’t have nearly as many as they should. Luckily the Phillies have an already solid pre-existing menu around the park so this isn’t the end of the world. At the end of the day you can never go wrong with the simple baseball fare such as hot dogs and ice cream in a helmet. Just a heads up that there is some work to do for 2018. Both on and off the field.

 

You can check out the full article right here:

http://www.csnphilly.com/the700level/new-cbp-primo-hoagies-loaded-boardwalk-fries-star-trek-bobbleheads-and-more

Gratzfood Review: Craftsman Row Saloon

So my buddy’s been telling me about a place right near his work, Craftsman Row Saloon. Vouches for their food although he usually gets a salad. Fine. Then I started seeing Craftsman Row pop up on some Instagram food accounts. Then I saw their own page and something caught my attention like I was an 8 year old walking past KB Toys. “OFF THE MENU Buffalo Chicken Sandwich! Available upon request”. Well guess what? Gratzfood came. Gratzfood requested. Gratzfood ate. Shall we?

What it’s called: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

Cost: $9.50 + tax.

What is it exactly?: Boneless fried chicken in buffalo sauce, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, bleu cheese, bacon on a brioche (o la la) bun. Side of fries.

Gratzfood alterations: No tomato. No bleu cheese. I don’t have many kind words to say about bleu cheese. Substitute spicy ranch.

Verdict: The sandwich was amazing. I freakin loved it and am still on a high as I write this. The chicken breast was huge and tasty. The buffalo sauce wasn’t all too spicy but yet very flavorful. You get more of the buffalo taste than the actual heat, for some that may be a good thing and for others that may be a bad thing but I really enjoyed it as I wasn’t dying while eating this bad boy. Sometimes places overdo it with the sauce, I found this to be just right. Instead of bleu cheese I opted for their spicy ranch and I’m more than happy with that decision. They put it on the sandwich and then gave me a side of it which was clutch as I was pouring it on each bite and even dipping my fries. Perhaps the real game changer with this creation was the bacon. The bacon was thick and hearty and delicious. I mean, c’mon it’s bacon…on a fried chicken sandwich. Also, I don’t think I ever met a brioche bun I didn’t like. Anytime a place decides to use brioche buns for it’s sandwiches it never hurts, only helps. The fries they serve are just ok but they give you a lot and it doesn’t take much for me to chow down on a side of fries. I wish they were a little crispier but the main priority with this meal was the sandwich which simply rocked. I would easily recommended this and would gladly go and order it again. Apparently their brisket mac and cheese is also pretty delightful…til next time!

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Warning: This might get messy.

Gratzfood Review: Fried Chicken Sandwich From Federal Donuts

It’s no secret that I have an affinity for fried chicken, more specifically fried chicken sandwiches. Fried breaded chicken in between two pieces of bread is simply a winning combination and when done right it can be a true game changer. Legend has it that one of the best chicken sandwiches in Philly is actually to be had at a place called Federal Donuts. Yes, Federal Donuts. Here’s the story, Federal Donuts has obviously served donuts for a longtime as well as fried chicken. Just a year or two ago they began making fried chicken sandwiches during the summer at one of their outdoor stand, they were immensely popular. Now, they’re a menu mainstay. So, without further introduction let’s break this bad boy down and see if it lived up to its strong rep.

What it’s called: Fried Chicken Sandwich

Cost: $6.75 plus tax

What is it exactly?: boneless fried chicken, buttermilk ranch seasoning, american cheese spicy rooster sauce (think chipotle mayo), dill pickles, Martin’s potato roll

Verdict: Awesome. I really enjoyed this sandwich and can understand it’s popularity in the area. What makes this sandwich stand out is all the fixings that are piled on it. The chipotle mayo, the cheese, the abundance of pickles (there’s like 5 or 6 little pickles on it and you get them in every bite) all help make this a strong sandwich. It was cooked to order and overall really fresh. Now, for the sake of comparison since I believe the standard for a chicken sandwich is Chick Fil A, I’ll make the comparison to their sandwiches. Chick Fil A adds just butter and pickles to their sandwich and still tastes amazing because their chicken itself just tastes phenomenal. It’s brined in salt and the flavor of the breading is amazing. I can eat a plain Chick Fil A sandwich, I don’t know if I’d want to eat a plain chicken sandwich from Federal Donuts. In my opinion Federal Donuts needs the extra toppings to compete but since they have them that’s not a bad thing at all, just an observation. The chicken at Federal Donuts was still solid as it was crispy and meaty, it just wouldn’t have the “oomph” without all the extras.  For a non-chain local spot, Federal Donuts’ chicken sandwich is impressive and definitely a worthy alternative if you’re in the mood for a unique take on a chicken sandwich.

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Side note: If you think I didn’t get a donut from Federal Donuts you’re off your rocker. I went with the cookies and cream option and let me tell you it was absolutely delectable. Instead of a chicken sandwich, I could eat three donuts and be happy. That’s probably not a good idea though? I wanted to wait til I got back home to eat it so I could take a picture of it but after one bite I knew that sucker wasn’t making it in the bag another minute. So yeah, just putting it out there that while the chicken at Federal Donuts is on point, their Donuts are indeed crack.

Gratz’s Grumblings: Week 2

After finally processing live football with your own eyeballs, it’s hard to stop yourself from making snap judgements about every single conceivable thing after week one of the NFL season. Well, week one came and went and now we have a whole new set of results for us to dissect as if we’re scientists making a hypothesis for a groundbreaking new study. Here’s what happened around the league in week 2:

The Jets defeated the Bills in what was an unlikely shootout in Buffalo. Matt Forte scored three touchdowns as he helped teammate Ryan Fitzpatrick overcome his longstanding struggles against Rex Ryan. Perhaps this is one of those too soon overreactions but I get the vibe that the Rex Ryan era in Buffalo could be coming to an end if they don’t turn this around…and fast. It just seems that both players and executives alike are losing faith in the charismatic coach and could be over his schtick. Who knows, maybe he will turn it around big time and make a splash this season, but his offensive deficiencies and waning trust might prove to be something too big to overcome.

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The Steelers beat the Bengals 24-16. Honestly I don’t know how much one can take away from this contest. These are two teams who historically beat up on each other and while this game certainly could have a big impact standings wise, it’s still tough to tell which one of these teams will make it farther when it’s all said and done.

The Browns exploded on the Ravens and took an early three score lead only to blow it and lose in typical Browns fashion. Sticking with Browns tradition, the team is already on their third string quarterback through three NFL weeks. While the NFL is great for it’s thrilling surprises, some things truly never change.

One of the bigger stories around the league is how Kirk Cousins is looking through two games. After leading the Skins to the playoffs they now face a divisional opponent in New York who could send them to 0-3 and really make their season look bleak. It’s still early and this can be another one of those classic too soon overreactions as the Skins still have a lot of weapons surrounding Cousins even if he really isn’t all that great as a quarterback. What’s more alarming is how bad their defense has played, giving up 65 points in two weeks.

Another potential letdown could be looming in Seattle. Seattle yet again fell to the Rams, losing 9-3. Look I get it, they played a team playing their first home game in a major city in years…still, you need to find a way to get something going as they are clearly the more talented team. The absence of Marshawn Lynch could really put a damper on things in Seattle, even with that stout defense. It’s hard to bet against Seattle in the long run but as of now it seems that there are clearly better teams than them in the NFC, including one in their own division.

One of those teams looks to be the Carolina Panthers. After a hard fought week one loss, they bounced back nicely and dropped 46 on the 49ers, something that is traditionally a sign of good teams. On the other hand, it’s still pretty hard to evaluate where the 49ers are at, although if one had to guess they would probably assume them to be just average and not a real threat going forward.

The Cardinals smacked the Bucs 40-7. It was a really disappointing showing from Tampa Bay after they received pretty much universal praise for their week one win. I still think they can be a dangerous team as the season continues and probably just got exposed by an even better one.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw three scores then got hurt in New England’s win against Miami. The Pats are 2-0 without Brady and are probably starting rookie Jacoby Brissett in week 3. I will continue to emphasize how amazing it is to see the Patriots play at a high level no matter who is playing on either side of the ball. Even with a rookie third round quarterback likely to start the next game, you still get the feel the Patriots will be just fine.

Speaking of rookie quarterbacks, Carsen Wentz again looked like a maestro in his Monday night debut. He continued to looked poised and smart against the Bears (although Chicago is pretty pathetic again this year). Still it’s an encouraging sign and we will have an even better understanding of where he’s as a quarterback in his tough week 3 matchup with Pittsburgh.

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The quarterback who started for the Eagles before Wentz led his new team to a hard fought 17-14 win against the Packers. Sam Bradford and the Vikings were impressive but they real story to watch is Adrain Peterson’s injury. He has a torn meniscus and his long term health this season doesn’t appear to be in real jeopardy although it is something to keep an eye on. Even with a strong defense and veteran quarterback, the Vikings will need AP if they want to be alive for the deep postseason they were hoping for before the season started.

UPDATE: Adrian Peterson will be getting surgery and his timetable to return is 3-4 months.

State Of The Eagles: Breaking Down The Chip Kelly Experiment And Looking Ahead

It’s finally over, thank God. The Eagles season came to a close this Sunday following a 35-30 win in a meaningless game against the just-as-hapless New York Giants in the Meadowlands. The conclusion of the game marked the end of a chapter of Eagles history and the start of a new one, hopefully one that will wipe the Chip Kelly era out of people’s minds like it was Rocky V. Let’s break down the past, present, and future of a once proud franchise, a franchise desperate for answers on how to get back to their winning ways that seem like eons ago.

The Eagles hired Chip Kelly three years ago after it was clear that it was time for the Andy Reid era to come to a close. Despite Reid leading the birds to multiple conference championship games and even a Superbowl, his inability to get over the hump followed by mediocre seasons and then a dismal 4-12 campaign was the final straw. There was no ill will, but it was clear that both parties needed a change of scenery and a fresh start. The Eagles hired Chip Kelly, who was one of the hottest names at the time because of how he transformed the Oregon Ducks into a perennial national powerhouse, with it’s prolific and unique offense that operated at breakneck speed that some believed could revolutionize the way the game is played. This isn’t an exaggeration, Kelly’s uptempo offense and unique coaching methods made some seriously believe he could literally change the game to some degree. At the time, it wasn’t a surefire bet that Kelly’s success would translate to the NFL, but above all else he was hired because of his “football mind”, someone who just really knew the game and dedicated all his time and energy to the sport. That was why he was such a hot commodity coming out of Oregon. There was a belief that even if his team wasn’t putting up 50 points a game, he would figure something out and adapt because of his deep understanding of the game and manic work and study ethic.

Despite going 4-12 the year before, Kelly didn’t inherit a bad team, at all. After starting 1-3, the Eagles finished the season 10-6, good enough to win the division. They lost to the Saints in a close first round game but hey, not a bad start at all for a coach with virtually no NFL experience. People were excited, things were looking up. The Eagles had a coach committed to bringing a winning culture (more on that in just a bit) and attitude to Philly and the results backed it up on the field.

Following that year, something strange happened in the offseason. The Eagles cut star wide receiver DeSean Jackson after having over 80 catches and 1300+ yards. Why? There was no real explanation, just speculation that his attitude and perhaps demeanor didn’t fall in line with the kind of culture Chip Kelly was trying to instill in the locker room. Sounds kind of crazy doesn’t it? Especially after a great year? No big scandal, or suspension, just “rumors”, whispers of “gang affiliations” and such. In retrospect it really was pretty crazy. At the time, Chip Kelly was perceived as a potential guru since he just lead us to the playoffs in his first year. We thought we could be even better if we did things Chip’s way. Philadelphia wasn’t crazy for buying into the hype, at the time it made sense, even if we still had our lingering reservations about the whole thing.

The next season the Eagles went 10-6 again, however this time that wasn’t good enough for a playoff spot. Nick Foles was the starting quarterback after lighting it up the previous season, but got hurt and the team wasn’t able to overcome with Mark Sanchez. This was the offseason where things got weird. 10-6 wasn’t terrible by any means, just a little disappointing after making the playoffs the previous year. During the offseason Chip Kelly met with owner Jeffrey Lurie to discuss his role and responsibilities as head coach. Kelly wasn’t satisfied with just calling the plays, he wanted to be the general manager and pick the players too, have complete control over the roster. Despite only having two years of NFL experience, Kelly was given what he wanted. People were behind it. The reasoning was that Kelly had a vision and that (then current) GM Howie Roseman was holding him back from taking that vision to the next level. Nobody knew Chip Kelly’s system like Chip Kelly, so shouldn’t he ultimately be the one who decides on player personnel? Again, hindsight is 20/20 but at the time one could justify it. Philadelphia was all in with Chip Kelly.

Then Chip Kelly traded away one of the best running backs in LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso, a former Oregon linebacker who was coming off tearing an ACL for the second time and only had one full year in the NFL prior to that. Again, in Chip we trust. It was bold, but there was an aura of confidence around the Philadelphia area. Chip being the offensive minded guy he is could certainly find a replacement to carry the rock and he got a great talent on defense in the process. Keep calm and in Chip we trust.

Then this past season happened. I’m not going to detail every move because I’d rather discuss the future than recap the past. You know what happened. Long story short, Chip signed a bunch of new players, drafted some encouraging young guys, and the whole thing just crashed and burned to the ground like it was set ablaze by a pyromaniac comic book villain. DeMarco Murray (the league’s leading rusher from the year before) was brought in to replace LeSean and couldn’t get going, at all. Byron Maxwell was brought in to help the secondary and even though they knew they probably overpaid for him, he didn’t even come close to the difference maker they needed. Poor production from draft picks (besides Jordan Hicks, who got hurt) and an aging and just out of it offensive line all were big factors in the flub. The one bright spot was Sam Bradford. The injury prone quarterback was brought in to lead the offense and while there were many questions about his durability, he took a shaky start and actually played pretty well down the stretch, despite not getting much help at all from his receivers. Still, the season was a wreck and STILL they had a chance to make the playoffs because the NFC East was dreadful but they were eliminated once again by DeSean Jackson and the Redskins in a primetime drubbing at home.

Jeffrey Lurie had enough. Kelly was fired before the Eagles even played their final game of the season. The Chip Kelly era was officially over, a massive failure. I would still defend the hiring, it was a bold move but his perceived football knowledge and passion for the game is something you want in your head coach. Apparently his people skills were hard for players to connect to. In the end it just wasn’t working, simple as that. It was the right move, once you lose control of a locker room it’s nearly impossible to get back. It’s time to start yet another chapter in Eagles history.

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Now the Eagles are back with Howie Roseman as the GM and are in need of a head coach. There are a lot of potential candidates out there and this decision will most likely have a significant long term impact on the team either way, good or bad. Let’s take a look at some of the names that are floating around out there:

Sean Payton: I think this would be a fantastic acquisition. While he’s struggled with the Saints of late I think it really comes down to him needing a change of scenery, just like Andy Reid did. He’s a great offensive mind who has shown he can really bring a quarterback along and get the most out of his skill position players. He won a Super Bowl. He’s an outside the box thinker that can rejuvenate this team and salvage some of the promising talent that remains on the roster. However, there’s two potential problems. First, he’s still under contract with the Saints and the Eagles might have to trade for him. It’s rumored that it would take a second round pick to acquire him, which is something the Eagles don’t have this year. Second, Payton could want a great deal of control over the team, similarly to Chip Kelly. Ownership might be hesitant to award that to someone seeing how that just went with Chip but this is a little different. Payton is a proven winner and has much more NFL experience and a history of successes. If it’s feasible to get him, Sean Payton would be an exciting and promising head coach for the foreseeable future.

Adam Gase: Gase has grown on me immensely recently. If you look at his resume, it’s just stacked. The current offensive coordinator is young and if successful could be the Eagles head coach for a long, long time. He was able to take Jay Cutler (who has a reputation for being difficult to deal with) and have him deliver a career year. He’s worked his way up around the league and has commanded a great deal of respect around the league. TheEagles have talent on this offense and Gase could be able to get production from it. However, he’s still young and has no head coaching experience which is risky. It could be a Josh McDaniels type situation where he doesn’t cut it and goes back to being a coordinator.  Still, I guess I’d support this because his track record has been darn good and if he’s ready to take the next step then whoever gets him will get a great foundation for years to come.

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Doug Pederson: The current OC for the Chiefs is an Andy Reid guy and was actually on the Eagles coaching staff before as a quality control coach and then as the quarterbacks coach. He’s been doing a remarkable job with the Chiefs who are scalding hot right now going into the playoffs. In his one year as Eagles head coach the team amassed 6386 total yards with Mike Vick and Vince Young leading the way. He played in the league as a quarterback himself. This would be a solid move, but do you really want an Andy Reid guy after all those years? I’d support it I just think the Eagles need a fresh start and some new ideas. If he can bring back the Andy Reid esque glory days though, then it would be totally worth it, just have to consider if the risk outweighs what the other candidates can bring to the table.

Sean McDermott: Another former Eagles coach, this one was in Philly for a long time. The Eagles were his first job away from his college and he was here all the way until he was fired in 2010 as the teams D Coordinator. Since, he has been the defensive coordinator for the Panthers who have been extremely tough on defense over the past few years. Finishing up the year 15-1, the Panthers D is one of the key reasons to their historic year. Additionally, McDermott has hinted that he wants to be here. He also seems to have a lot of local support. Still, this would scare me. I don’t know exactly why but he struggled here. Sure he was younger and has probably gained a ton of knowledge since but those dark days of defense still linger in my mind. He’s young, no head coaching experience. I also wonder how much of the Panthers success on D is attributed to him and not defensive minded head coach Ron Rivera. If the Eagles reach out to McDermott, I will get on board with it. I just have a gut feeling that there are better candidates than him available this year.

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Duce Staley: A fan favorite running back for the Eagles and current coach of said position, the birds already interviewed Staley to be their head coach. It would appear to be a formality and just a respectful conversation but it’s probably not realistic to think he’ll be the head coach next year. Having said that, I’d love for him to stick around,hopefully finding a spot on next years coaching regime.

Pat Shurmur: Shurmur finished the year as the interim head coach after Chip was fired. Previously, he was the Offensive Coordinator under Chip Kelly. It was interesting to see how the team exploded for 35 points in the final game with him calling the shots. Shurmur has had a failed head coaching tenure before with the Browns and that’s tough to hold against somebody. Having said that, Shurmur doesn’t figure to be a serious candidate to take over full head coaching duties for the following season.

John Harbaugh: If John Harbaugh became available he would instantly become my number one choice to be the next head coach. The problem is that he probably won’t be available. The Ravens had a forgettable year but they don’t appear to be considering firing him, which is probably the right call. It’s wishful thinking, but as of now this is a Hail Mary, and not one being thrown by Aaron Rodgers.

Teryl Austin: This is my secret underdog that I’m rooting for. Currently the D Coordinator for the Lions, Austin has impressed recently. The reason I like this guy is that he had a tough job this season, being in charge of a defense that lost its best player in Ndamakong Suh. They still faired alright this year, despite missing the post season. They almost beat the Packers twice and the most impressive part to me was how they played hard even though they were already eliminated from the playoffs. That says a lot. Austin would bring a tough, defensive mind to Philly with no former ties to the Birds. His resume is impressive and has been a part of Super Bowl winning units. I’m not saying this is definitely the guy the Eagles should hire, I’m saying he is an intriguing candidate worthy of the teams due diligence.

Dirk Koetter: The Eagles are reported to have interviewed or plan on interviewing Koetter. He spent this past season as the Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator. His work with rookie Jameis Winston was impressive, especially their demolishing of the Eagles this year. He has a lot of experience in football at different levels of play but I just don’t think his resume stacks up to the other available candidates.

Hue Jackson: Jackson has been the Offensive Coordinator in Cincinnati since Jay Gruden left to torment the Eagles. He’s done great in that role and has a wealth of football experience under his belt. He even did well as the Raiders OC and was promoted to their head coach and went 8-8, not terrible for Oakland standards. He was still fired and eventually made his way to Cincinnati. He’s definitely worth interviewing and investigating, although right now he seems totally focused on his teams playoff game.

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John Gruden/ Bill Cowher/ Brian Billick/ Mike Shanahan: All these guys have rings and all these guys are long shots. Shanahan has been linked to some openings but the Eagles do not appear to be one of them. I’d love to see the Eagles throw a fat bag of money at John Gruden. I just want to see some passion back in Philadelphia football and you know Gruden brings that. It’s unlikely he walks away from his current dream gig at ESPN though. Brian Billick called the Eagles vacancy the most attractive but I’m not sure if he’s a candidate to return to coaching. Bill Cowher? Who knows.

What does it all mean? While it’s frustrating to be back to square one, I must say I’m excited for a new chapter. There are some great names on this list that have a lot of potential for continued success as an NFL head coach. Once a coach is hired, then we can start evaluating the roster, seeing who stays and who goes. When a coach is picked, we’ll have a better idea of the direction this team is headed and the steps it will take to get there. There is a lot of pressure to hire the right guy, and even with the failed experiment with Chip Kelly I have enough confidence in Eagles management to make a sound decision this time around.

Gratzfood Presents: The Top 5 Cheesesteaks

I’ve been wanting to make this list for a while and I mean a while. Definitely a list I thought about making before Gratzfeed was even the premier online blog it is today. Growing up I spent a lot of time with my single dad which led to, lets just say…”ill advised” food trips (if you’re looking at it from a health standpoint). However, if you’re looking at it from a purely pleasurable/magical/sensational standpoint than these food excursions were anything but ill advised but rather well advised, extremely. Living in South Jersey and with my dad being from Philly, cheesesteaks became an instant go-to for us, going late night, before games, after games and just going to the city simply for the sake of eating a good fucking cheesesteak. With that said I’ve had enough cheesesteaks in my life to kill Andy Reid, one for every Sixers loss, one for every dollar in Ryan Howard’s contract (OK maybe not that many but you get the point). Simply put, I’ve tried a good chunk of em and while it may not be something to brag about, at all, it does make me qualified in a world where  my resume comes up short just about everywhere else. Here are the top 5 cheesesteaks

5. Tony Lukes- Anyone worth their weight in cheese whiz will tell you that the key to a good sandwich is the bread. Tony Lukes uses Liscio’s rolls which are pretty damn hard to beat. Put a generous helping of rib eye steak on those bad boys and you’re in business. Tony Lukes is a staple, it’s close to the sports complex and even in the stadiums themselves. To be fair though not all Tony Lukes are created equally, since it’s rise in popularity they’ve expanded at a rapid pace across the tristate area and while those sandwiches are serviceable, they can be underwhelming in size and overwhelming in price so make sure you go to the original on Oregon avenue if you want the true experience.

4. Steve’s Prince Of Steaks- Steve’s has everything you want in a cheesesteak: great tasting meat, lots of cheese, a solid roll, and late hours. If you’re looking for the quintessential Philly cheesesteak vibe then this is your place. Neon signage illuminates the divey atmosphere and nothing screams cheesesteak more than going up to a counter (ripe with every topping you could possibly want) and ordering one. Also, can’t stress the importance of the late hours. Eating a late night steak (sober or not) can be likened to a religious experience. Actually scratch religion, it’s more like marriage, seems like a great idea at the time but then you wake up questioning why you made this life choice that will haunt you forever. Not to scare you though, Steve’s is worth any gym session, guilt trip or self loathing you may endure.

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3. Leo’s Steak Shop

The hidden gem. Another dive, the Folcroft, PA spot has virtually no indoor seating and only a handful of weathered benches outside. Here’s the deal with Leo’s, their steaks are HUGE. Unlike the two aforementioned  places Leo’s chops their meat up real fine and piles it high on the roll. These suckers are juicy and tasty, with just the right amount of delicious cheese. This is definitely the least known entry on the list and with small wait times, I’m not exactly complaining about it. This tiny shop packs a heavyweight punch that can go toe to toe in the ring with just about anywhere else in Philly.

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2. Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop

Since 1949 Joe’s was known as “Chink’s” but with everything having to be all politically correct and shit nowadays they changed the name to Joe’s in 2013. Well, being perfectly honest this place could be called Horseshit Steaks and Slop and I’d still eat it because these are some of the best tasting creations the city (or anywhere else in the world) has to offer. For real, the quality of the meat is probably the best of anywhere in the city. Joe’s slices their meat down from a ribeye roll and pairs it with a great roll to make for a truly heavenly match. They also have real, authentic milkshakes which is just what you want to pair with a cheesesteak to show that you really give zero fucks in life. The original on Torresdale Avenue has the old school vibe going too, a big grill right in front of the window piled high with meat, a long counter, some tables, old jukeboxes that I don’t think work, this place has it all. There’s a reason this place has been in business since 1949, can give up it’s name, and still be one of the most popular places. One bite of these and you’ll understand exactly why.

  1. Dalessandro’s

This is the best cheesesteak. The best Philadelphia, or any other place in the world has to offer, hands down. I usually try to not sound so definitive on something opinion based but I’m pretty confident this is fact, science if you will. Navigating this corner shop (which is a total dive, albeit clean), can be likened to a crowded fraternity basement, rubbing elbows with the locals and a lot of “excuse me, excuse me”. Seating is at a premium with really one long “L” shaped counter (they have some tables to the side but the people waiting for takeout essentially take that option away). There are a few tables outside too, but as I write this in December, weather can obviously be a factor. So what makes these the best? It’s really just the perfect combination: the meats amazing, great bread and just the right amount of cheese. The portions are also generous, to say the least. OK, I’ll put it to you this way, they literally stick a fork in it because it’s so packed with meat that you can basically have a second meal just from what falls off the bread. I also like to call this a “cleaner” sandwich in that it’s not overly greasy and the breads never soggy. If you’re looking for the best cheesesteak in Philly, this is your place, without question.

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Takeout Titleholder: Cosmi’s Deli

This place is a little deli in with virtually no seating, so takeout is the move here. Packed with flavor and located in South Philly, this makes for a great pit stop on the way to a game.

All Underrated Team:

Campo’s Deli- Campos just has a delicious cheesesteak, plain and simple. Probably the first honorable mention of the top five. They have locations on Market Street and at the sports complex (and Liacouras Center). Not the biggest sandwiches in Philly but the high quality and taste alone cement it’s top ten standing in a competitive circuit.

Ishkabibble’s

While Jim’s on South Street is an undeniable powerhouse, Ishkabibble’s is more than a worthy alternative if you want to avoid absurd wait times and still get a delicious steak. Ishkabibble’s also has some of the best fries around so you can have the ultimate combination of indulgence.

Chickie’s And Pete’s

Sure you know about their out of this world crab fries but their cheesesteaks are also a standout on their big time menu. Great meat and they top it off with their crack injected (i think that’s the secret ingredient?) cheese sauce. True gluttons (like myself) can even dunk their sandwich into their cheese cup sauce from the fries, now that’s a pro tip right there.