Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Off the Map: First of All, It's Not Yellow, and Second of All, It Doesn't Look Like a Submarine

Cheesesteak -- Yellow Submarine, Maple Shade, NJ
Yellow Submarine

Vodka has come to the realization that to an outsider, the Best Thing I Ever Ate choices from her home state would make one assume that all restaurants in South Jersey are dumps.
We Present Exhibit A
With no offense intended to the various Food Network-featured establishments, they almost all share a certain world-weary grunginess that a master real estate agent would refer to as "character."  From Carmen's Deli's once-white-but-now-beige stucco facade, to Ritz Seafood's narcoleptic employees; from The Jug Handle Inn's roosters to Panzarotti Pizza King's, well... it's in CAMDEN, South Jersey is not having a strong showing in terms of decor.
Party City Clearance Sale?
However, if one location has to take the prize on the "character" scale, it is the Yellow Submarine in Maple Shade, NJAaron McCargo, Jr. had chosen the place in a cheesesteak run-off with Carmen's Deli on the BETWEEN BREAD episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate, so Vodka calls ahead to place her pick-up order for one cheesesteak and a side of onion rings.

For the record, she appears to be Yellow Submarine's ONLY customer for the entire afternoon.
Cue the Crickets
When Vodka's chauffeur (her mother) approaches the Yellow Submarine parking lot, she is aghast.  "This can't be it, can it?" she asks with mild concern.  Unfortunately, the giant sign proclaiming "Yellow Submarine" perched on the roof of the gas station-shaped establishment confirms her fears.
Looking Remarkably Like an NYC Taxi Stand
A picnic table that appears as though it hasn't been used in decades sits outside of the building, and if it weren't for the proliferation of patriotic stars and stripes hanging on the front door and the various decals proclaiming the "Best in South Jersey Cheesesteak," one would almost certainly assume that the place were vacant.
Yellow Submarine: The Setting of the Next Goosebumps Book
Vodka wanders inside and finds nary a soul -- the booths are empty and the counter is bare.  Is this Maple Shade or the Twilight Zone?
Does No One Eat Cheesesteaks Anymore?!
Out of nowhere, she hears a voice call, "Someone's here!" and a not-entirely-pleasant-looking employee eventually meanders up to the front.  "Pick up?" she asks without affect.  Vodka nods, and in response, the girl dumps a heap of onion rings into the deep fryer.
Service With a Smile Is Not Exactly What South Jersey Is Known For
Once the rings are properly fried, Vodka pays her $15 tab, which seems rather lofty, and she and her mother make their way out of Maple Shade (ironically encountering a bright yellow building en route, which Vodka's mother insists is the way the Yellow Submarine should look).
And While They're At It, They May Want to Start Vacuuming Their Only Rug
When we arrive home, Vodka discovers that the "large" cheesesteak she has ordered is roughly the size of a party hoagie.  It seems Yellow Submarine's cheesesteaks come in mini, small, and large -- the large being a full, sixteen-inch gargantuan-sized feast.
Perfect Prop for a Future "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing" Commercial
Living Large
When Vodka tears into the packaging, she notices that the cheesesteak is still supremely hot, despite its wait and travel time, and that due to the ventilation hole that the ever-chipper employee had cut into the side of the styrofoam onion ring box, they remain deceivingly fresh.
Kudos on the Ventilation, Yellow Submarine
Why Is This Not Standard Practice? Genius!
Contorting the sandwich into a variety of shapes for picture purposes, Vodka eventually removes half of it and proceeds to cut it down the middle to share with her chauffeur.
And Ideally, About 85 Other Family Members
The first bite proves to be the ideal type of cheesesteak for Vodka's tastebuds -- finely chopped flavorful meet, oodles of provolone cheese, and soft, moldable bread.
Yellow Submarine's Portions = A Herd of Cattle's Worst Nightmare
Featuring a generous amount of steak melding itself perfectly into the roll, this cheesesteak is among the best Vodka has ever had, on par with Tony Luke's variety and much preferred to the version she tasted from Carmen's Deli.
Gold Medal Cheesesteak
In contrast, Vodka's mother is not over the moon with Yellow Submarine's creation for the exact reason that Vodka is: the bread.  Vodka hates hard Italian rolls (which had been featured at Carmen's Deli) and much prefers soft, pliable bread products; her mother feels the opposite.  Despite these differences, we are equally impressed with the lack of grease dripping from Yellow Submarine's sandwich, and though we are only able to polish off half of the cheesesteak in a sitting, we think it is worth the rather steep price tag.
And the Onion Rings Are Worth Their Weight in Scrumptious Gold
And while the Yellow Submarine may not have done much to disprove the Food Network's seeming desire to prove that South Jersey is comprised only of dumpy restaurants, it is an absolute notch in the post of Vodka's theory that the best Philly cheesesteaks actually come from South Jersey.
It Is, After All, From Where All Classy Things Come
Yellow Submarine's Cheesesteak: 4 stars

1 comment:

  1. Hello there, is this your only site or you in addition to that own others?