100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes: Philly Phanatic from Large Marge's

Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalogue more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached in 2012. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something in particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at [email protected].

No. 81: Philly Phanatic from Large Marge's Philly Cheesesteaks

I went to junior high school -- or, as it's called now, middle school -- at Everitt, smack-dab in the middle of Wheat Ridge, which meant I was born and raised in the culinary sticks. Back then, there sure as hell wasn't anywhere in close proximity for students to eat, save for the school cafeteria, but since my lunch was always the plot of my mother, I have no idea what the school cafeteria served. But knowing what I do about school cafeteria slop, I'm betting that those awkward middle schoolers happily forgo the mysteries on their plate to make a beeline for Large Marge's, a Philly cheesesteak joint that lurks just beyond the school gate.

See also: - Pride of Philly hits the streets of Denver with authentic cheesesteaks - The Sandwich Solution - Reader: If you see "Philly cheesesteak," what you're ordering is not authentic

In all honesty, I've never had an affinity for cheesesteaks...until, that is, I discovered Large Marge's, which is no longer owned by a woman called Marge, although the guys that now run the joint haven't tinkered with the concept (or the recipes), which means that the bread, procured from Amoroso bakery in Philadelphia, is still the squishy, chewy canvas for the griddled and chopped ribeye -- cooked to order -- onions, mushrooms and peppers, all of which are sheeted with a choice of cheeses: provolone, American or Whiz that melt into the meat like hot lava. My personal favorite is the Philly Phanatic, an exemplary cohesion of the essentials, plus a collision of sweet peppers, long hots, and, for an extra bump of heat, pickled jalapenos. Is it an authentic Philly cheesesteak? I don't know, and I don't care, but there's no doubt that the crew has mastered an excellent, sloppy sandwich -- drip factor and all -- that tastes like magic.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:

No. 100: Foie gras oysters from Sushi Sasa No. 99: Porchetta from Parisi No. 98: chocolate caramel sea salt tart from Spuntino No. 97: Nachos from the Pioneer No. 96: Fried pickles from TAG Burger Bar No. 95: Breakfast burrito from Jalapeños Mexican restaurant No. 94: Jajangmyeon from Yong Gung Dragon Palace Chinese Restaurant No 93: French fries from Jonesy's EatBar No. 92: Fried rice from Benihana No. 91: Lobster macaroni and cheese from Mizuna No. 90: Schezuan beef in numbing chile oil from Chef Liu's Authentic Chinese Cuisine No. 89: lamb tartare from Epernay No. 88: Reuben from the Bagel Deli No 87: Wood-fired chicken from Pizzeria Basta No. 86: Watermelon and frisee salad from EDGE No. 85: Chicken-fried eggs and smoked buffalo hash from Sassafras No. 84: English pea agnolotti from Harman's Eat & Drink No. 83: Sushi - any sushi - from Land of Sushi No. 82: Sopressata pizza from Kaos