TODAY’S LUNCH: CHICKEN CHEESE STEAK FROM CARNEGIE JOHN’S CART

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After the long holiday weekend, I didn’t have a lot of time for lunch today.  While there aren’t a lot of great street food vendors near my office, one of my favorites, Carnegie John’s, is only 2 blocks away.  After learning the business from Tony “The Dragon” Dragonas, John has been on his own for the past 9 years.  His cart is located just inside the NE corner of 56th St & 7th Ave, right behind Carnegie Hall.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that Carnegie John only uses marinated chicken breasts, so the chicken is top-quality and cooked fresh while you wait.  He also transfers the chicken between a charcoal grill and the griddle, so it gets that great charcoal grilled flavor.

Lately I’ve been enjoying chicken cheese steaks, so that’s what I asked for.  I guess John doesn’t get too many requests for chicken cheese steaks because he gave me a slightly quizzical look and asked what I wanted on the sandwich.  I said chicken, onions and peppers with bbq sauce on it.  He makes many cheese steak sandwiches during the day, but this seemed like a new dish for him.

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Well, John turned out a chicken cheese steak sandwich like he’s been making them for years.  In reality, he has – only this one had chicken instead of beef.  There were tons of peppers and onions, plenty of cheese, and that delicious grilled chicken that gets some time on the charcoal and some time on the griddle.

Today’s Lunch gets a 9 out of 10.  It started a little slow, but by the time I got to the middle of the sandwich, it was a wonderful, gooey mouthful.  The cheese had melted and mixed with the still crisp peppers, onions and grilled chicken.  He also toasts the bread, which is gives it a nice crunch.  And to top it off, the sandwich only cost $5.  Try getting a chicken cheese steak at a deli in midtown for $5.  Never gonna happen!

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