When I think baseball, I think egg rolls. Don’t you? OK, it’s a stretch, I’ll give you that.

Back about four years ago, I had the opportunity to take a baseball trip with my son. Philadelphia was one of our stops. Obviously, The City of Brotherly Love, has a lot of things to do and food to eat.

I know there are great culinary adventures in Philly, Le Bec-Fin, Parc and Morimoto come to mind. But, my main interest was a little, shall we say, more pedestrian. Pat’s The King of Steaks.

That’s right. How could I trek all the way to Philly and not sample the wares of one of the greatest food stands in the country. The answer, I couldn’t. So, right before the ballgame we made a quick trip to South Philly for a steak.

We hit Pat’s around noontime. It was busy. It’s open 24 hours a day, so, I’m guessing it’s busy most times. You’ve probably seen Pat’s on a Food Network or Travel Channel show. Nothing fancy, that’s for sure. Just great, simple street food.

I ordered a steak, wit (step 1), cheez whiz (step 2) and paid (step 3). I made sure to practice (step 4), knowing how long I waited, the back of the line seemed an unreasonable punishment. No need to worry.

When we got our steaks they were nothing short of amazing! Tender, juicy and full of flavor, just like they had been serving them for the past 77 years. That was a food side trip that was well worth the detour.

Stomach full and Philly Steak Sandwich craving satisfied we were off to Citizen’s Bank Park to catch the Phillies in action.

What does all of this talk of Philly, baseball and  Pat’s have to do with Libby’s Cafe + Bar here in Sarasota? Here goes. I’m at Libby’s having a drink at the bar for their happy hour. I glance over at their bar menu and nestled between the Truffled-White Cheddar Popcorn and the Carolina Pulled Pork, is the Citizen’s Park Cheesesteak Egg Roll. That explains the Philly flashback (somewhat).

I had to have one. I mean how could I not. This could either be a crazy good combo of flavors or a deep fried food nightmare. If you could take all of the goodness of a Pat’s steak and wrap it an an egg roll, you would have a fantastic bar snack that would be hard to top. I ordered one up.

It came delivered on its own little platter accompanied by a nice dish of Sirachai Catsup. Interesting pairing. I thought maybe they would have a bowl of cheez whiz for dipping (it’s a thought, right?).

The egg roll was fried to a perfect golden brown, perfect. The wrapper was crisp and crunchy. Not at all oil soaked and soggy like some egg rolls we’ve all eaten.

Inside was combination of tender beef and cheese (that explains the missing bowl of cheez whiz). A really nice amount of both. I thought going into this that the finished product would be heavy and filling, but, that’s not the case. You wouldn’t want to down a half dozen of these, but, they were pretty light and bursting with flavor.

I usually relegate catsup/ketchup to french fries and french fries only (OK, it’s great on top of a meatloaf too). Rarely do I make an exception to my unwritten rule. But, this wasn’t your average Heinz Ketchup. This stuff had some zip. It worked really well with the egg roll and gave the whole thing a little kick. Not that a cheese steak really needs a kick, but, in this “mashup” preparation it worked. A hit for sure!

The Bottom Line: You have to travel some 1,100 miles to get an original Pat’s steak. Not practical most days. I’m not suggesting that a Libby’s Citizen’s Bank Cheesesteak Egg Roll is a substitute for the real thing, but, it sure makes a fantastic, tasty bar treat. And, as a bonus, if you make a mistake in ordering, they probably won’t send you to the back of the line!

Click here to see what other things Libby’s Cafe + Bar has on the bar menu.

Libby’s Cafe + Bar
1917 Osprey Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34239

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