“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Joey Vento, Philly Cheesesteak King dead at 71

Joey Vento dead at 71

Philadelphia Daily News
and Philadelphia Inquirer

South Philly legend Joey Vento, who opened Geno's Steaks at 9th and Passyunk in 1966, died today of a massive heart attack. Vento was 71.

"We're a little tragic here right now," Vento's nephew Joseph Perno, manager at Geno's, said tonight. "We're doing fine. So far, so good."

Vento was a controversial figure, perhaps known best for signs at his steak shop requiring customers to order in English that prompted a lawsuit in 2006. Geno's Steaks also had a longstanding feud with Pat's King of Steaks, which claims to have invented the cheesesteak in 1933.

Perno, 50, said Vento had come to work this morning. When Perno came in for his night shift, he found out that Vento had suffered a fatal heart attack. "He was here every morning," Perno said. "He was here this morning. He was dedicated to his business and his family."

A longtime friend of the sandwich king, Domenic Chiavaroli, 65, of South Philadelphia, said at Geno's tonight: "I've been coming here since 1967. Joe was a good guy. He always tried to help everybody."

Chiavaroli said Vento was at the shop this morning, as he was every morning before it opened. Chiavaroli talked with Vento about a recent renovation inside the shop.

Vento went home later in the day to Shamong, Burlington County, where Chiavaroli said he had phoned in a bread order around 6 p.m. Vento then told his wife he wasn't feeling well, and went to lie down in his bedroom. His wife found him an hour later. "He wasn't feeling too good . . . an hour or so later his wife found him," Chiavaroli said family members told him.
"They are slanging them steaks all day long. you need to come try one" 


  1. Sounds like a hell of lot of work, no wonder the guy hearted out.

    Total Time:
    2 hr 15 min
    30 min
    45 min
    1 hr 0 min

    4 servings


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    2 to 2 1/2 pound strip loin, trimmed
    Olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Soft hoagie rolls, split 3/4 open
    Provolone Sauce, recipe follows
    Sauteed Mushrooms, recipe follows
    Caramelized Onions, recipe follows
    Sauteed Peppers, recipe follows


    Place steak in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes; this makes it easier to slice the meat. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice very thinly.

    Heat griddle or grill pan over high heat. Brush steak slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds per side.

    Place several slices of the meat on the bottom half of the roll, spoon some of the cheese sauce over the meat, and top with the mushrooms, onions, and peppers.

    Provolone Sauce:

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

    2 cups whole milk, heated

    1 cup grated aged provolone cheese

    1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

    1 teaspoon kosher salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the provolone and Parmesan until combined; season with the salt and pepper.

    Sauteed Mushrooms:

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (cremini and shiitake), coarsely chopped

    3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

    Caramelized Onions:

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    1 tablespoons canola oil

    3 large Spanish onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

    1 teaspoon kosher salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Heat butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly until golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

    Sauteed Peppers:

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 poblano peppers, thinly sliced

    2 Cubano peppers, thinly sliced

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Heat the oil in medium saute pan over high heat. Add the peppers and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper.


  2. And that's the easy level.


  3. I'm The Real Enemy

    Even though I'm not a real T Partier.

    I do like some of their ideas though.


    (I can cook a trout in under 15 minutes and that includes the gutting too, and it surely beats cheesesteak)

  4. Practicing up for the big sleep --

    BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) - Police in Tennessee were called to a funeral home where workers found two intruders sleeping inside caskets.

    The employees at Weaver's Funeral Home in Bristol called police around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday after finding two men asleep in caskets. The men fled through a window after police were alerted, the Bristol Herald Courier reports.

    One man escaped, but police caught and arrested Barrett Lance Hartsock, who was charged with burglary and vandalism over $1,000.

    Police said there was more than $9,000 in damage done to the caskets the two men were sleeping in.

    On that absurd note I'm going to bed - and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.


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