Brian Hickey is a foodie who includes old-fashioned, populist items in his interests. He heard that an authentic Philly Cheesesteak sandwich could be had in Orangeville. Should we try it for lunch?
Brian drove us in his zoomy car, through rolling hills and verdant countryside, choosing a route for scenery, not speed. It didn’t take long to get to Orangeville but my hope to see a pretty little Ontario village looked unlikely on the outskirts. Boring food chains and franchises, built yesterday. Could have been anywhere. But wait!
Orangeville has a heart, a central core that surprised both of us with its charm. There are classical old storefronts, sidewalk cafés, planters and hanging baskets of flowers. Great sums have been spent restoring original civic buildings, all very typical of small town Ontario. To their credit, Orangevillagers have even created a landscaped boulevard for a few blocks of their main drag. Very civilized.
Before I get to the point of our trip, let me say that I would like to go back and spend more time. There’s a nature conservancy nearby that a local proudly told us was complete now. A boardwalk goes all the way around. It cost bundle. I’d also like to complete a tour of Orangeville’s unique, colourful wood carvings. They are stationed around town, commissioned by the city and executed by local carvers. Each piece, heroic in scale, preserves an old town tree trunk. The ones I saw are painted figures of townspeople … a postman, a beloved school teacher, musicians.
Enough! What about the Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches? 8 bucks. The original Philly is made with shaved beef, onions and cheese on a fresh-baked, nicely crisp bun and there is a choice of cheese. Cheez whiz or mozzarella. We ordered one of each, cut in half and both tried both.
The verdict: Very good! One sandwich is satisfying enough for a lunch (but we split some excellent fries, too). The texture of the beef is very nice. Our cashier said the cook was curious about which cheese I preferred. My answer won me a big smile and a thumbs-up from the cook. Cheez Whiz!
Oh, and go to the chocolate store for an ice cream cone.