Let's be clear: Philly cheesesteaks are not good for you.  The beef is fatty, the cheese is fatty -- the whole thing is a heartburn waiting to happen.  On the other hand, they can be really good.  To make a proper Philly cheesesteak, you start with 6-8 ounces of thinly sliced rib-eye.  The beef is cooked on a hot grill, usually with two large metal spatulas that are used to chop, separate, and move the beef around until it is almost cooked.  At this point, mushroom, onions and green peppers can be added -- though I prefer just mushrooms.  The mixture of beef and vegetables is gathered together into roughly the shape of the submarine sandwich bread, and several slices of American or provolone cheese are laid across the top.  When the cheese has melted, a split sub roll is placed face down over the cheese, and the entire thing is picked up and flipped over into your hand with one of the spatulas.  Serve on wax paper.

I don't feel entirely qualified to comment on the best places to get a Philly cheesesteak as the only time I've ever had one in Philadelphia is at the airport.  If I do find myself in Philadelphia though, I'd certainly be interested in visiting Pat's King of Steaks, where the cheesesteak was invented in the 1930s.  Okay, we would visit the Liberty Bell, see the Declaration of Independence, and take in the history of the place.  We would also probably visit the Mütter Museum (of Historical Medical Artifacts).  But shouldn't we have a cheesesteak at the spot where the idea was conceived?

Let's talk about places I can recommend for getting a Philly cheesesteak.  About 25 miles north of Boston, past where Route 1 and the 128 meet, is a small town on the North Shore called Beverly.  I spent the better part of two years commuting to Beverly to work for a client there.  Surprisingly, there are a number of smaller high tech companies located in Beverly.  The other thing Beverly has is an enormous number (per capita) of small Mom-and-Pop pizza and sandwich shops.  You'll find them lining every street.  It's also where you can find Super Sub & Salad Shop on Cabot Street.

During lunch, the grills at Super Sub are constantly busy, cooking many pounds of beef for all the cheesesteaks they serve.  There's a constant scraping and whisking noise of the dual metal spatulas being wielded.  Cheesesteaks are practically the only thing they serves (aside from the reasonably decent "Super Salad").  The best part about their cheesesteaks is that they'll ask you two questions: Do you want your bread toasted? (Yes).  Do you want black pepper on it? (Definitely).  If, for some strange reason, you find yourself in Beverly, Massachusetts for lunch, and you're able to take on a cheesesteak, give Super Sub a try.

After moving to LA to work in Santa Monica, I was pleased to find two more places that make a decent cheesesteak:  Over and Under, which is a bar at 14th and Santa Monica, and Big Jo's, a grill on 18th and Broadway.  Both are good.  Over and Under even has curly fries.  But both neglect to slightly toast the bread.  If you visit either place, eat the cheesesteak there, instead of taking it to go.  Otherwise, you run the risk of having soggy bread.  Still, when you get a craving for a Philly cheesesteak, they're both decent places to eat.