Contrary to what Philadelphia residents and Wikipedia may tell you, the best Philly Cheesesteak is not to be found in Philadelphia. As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the cheesesteak, I can speak with some authority. My first experience with this hallowed sandwich was in Philadelphia and it was good, it did set the bar high. But little did I know that almost two decades later in the desert of Arizona I would discover:
Dazzo’s Desert Oasis
During my 12 state road trip with Spencer Spellman, there were periods where we drove through country that truly seemed forgotten and abandoned. There were times I worried that if we broke down we’d never receive help, that we’d die on the side of some forgotten highway. Sometimes, we had to settle for food and rest stops that were less than gourmet simply because there wasn’t going to be another option for another 400 miles. Give or take.
During one such period of driving, we happened upon Dazzos and I seem to remember Spence not wanting to give it a try but I had a feeling. Call it women’s intuition. Desperately hungry was probably more accurate.
This small, unassuming general-store-like-establishment in Wikieup serves Chicago Style hot dogs and Philadelphia Cheesesteak sandwhiches and french fries that make my mouth water even now. It claims to be “the best in the West”. The owner is welcoming and funny. Folks, I haven’t visited every square inch of the West … but their cheesesteak was without a doubt THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD!
The atmosphere was fun too. It’s a tall drink of water in a dessert of nothingness. Don’t pass through Wikieup without stopping by Dazzos! Hell, don’t drive through Arizona without driving through Wikieup. Just don’t blink, you might miss it if you do!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I genuinely loved Dazzos and just hope you will too.
That cheesesteak does look very good – but as I am from Philly and also love cheesesteaks I find it hard to believe there is a place outside Philly that does it better ! But what a fun trip – I’ll have to go see for myself 🙂
I couldn’t believe it either! I really couldn’t at first. But the sandwhich truly changed my life. Hence writing an entire blog post about it. Definitely worth a trip in the desert of Arizona.
I long for another Philly Cheese Steak – whenever I try and make one it ends in an a epic fail.
I have a feeling if you went here Mike, you’d find you’d love it. However, it might also be that this sandwhich just isn’t for you. That’s ok. We can still be friends 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
Pay no attention to the guy in the aviators. Boy does he need to shave.
scruff = brings all the girls to the yard
In other news, I’ve never been to Philly, but this was the best cheese steak I’ve had. AND, I was reluctant to stop there. It looked like one of those places you see someone walk into in a teen horror movie and all you hear is the narrator say: “And we never saw them again.” It’s in the middle of jack ass nowhere. Well like on the other side of it. There’s actually a location on Foursquare that can confirm that. I don’t see any reason why anyone would be in that direction, but a sweet lunch spot.
For what it’s worth, I’m glad we did stop and I’m glad you gave in and ate there with me and I’m glad we did that road trip. It remains one of the most fun trips I’ve taken with another person. And yes, I remember FourSquare basically telling us “You are in the middle of butt freaking nowhere. Good luck.” hehe Thanks for the comments Spence 🙂
I have to say I tried Philly Cheesesteaks twice on US trips and was very disappointed! They had been really talked up by my friends, a “must try” they said, and they sound like the sort of food I love, so I was expecting a lot. Maybe it was the first one which put me off. It was in Florida and I can see why someone from Philadelphia might snigger at that idea. There was a lot of fat. I mean a lot. Is that normal? I like beef – lots, but lean! I can eat fat when it’s crisped on lamb or pork, but not when it’s stringy and soggy and I might choke on it! So hanging around, as it happened, Philadelphia airport on the way back to Europe, I thought I’d try again. Now, I would never judge any form of food by what I ate in airports, so I’ll just leave that there!
Hmmmm…….now I expect to be put straight!! Maybe I need to go to Arizona to try it! Your photos have certainly stoked my wanderlust!
Linda Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches are probably not for everyone. I expect you need to have a properly cooked one with the fat burned off in cooking, some lean meat, the right cheese and a good bun. You’d find that at Dazzos. And in the truly great places in Philly. Hope you one day have a great experience ! Thank you for the comment 🙂
Any post about food captures my attention! I’m currently building a list of places to visit on a USA road trip (hopefully happening in the next two years) and this one seems to have LOADS of character. I love the age, the colors, the writing from wall to wall. Thanks for adding it to my list!
You should DEFINITELY add it to your list. For two reasons: 1) See above blog post. None of that is made up. 2) It may be the middle of nowhere but the middle of nowhere around there is GORGEOUS if you like arid places. It’s the most unusual dessert topography and the sky there is a blue I haven’t seen in other parts of the USA. Add to that red dirt and green plants and the color there ends up being unreal. I have these desert images from that part of the trip I still need to blog that still blow me away. It’s a gorgeous, even if deserted, area.
The photos alone make me want to eat there. I love places with a lot of character.
Thanks Stephanie! It’s pretty awesome! Hence getting its own blog post 🙂 I love food places with character too. Always enhances the dining experience. I think I could do a whole blog just on places to eat around the world.
Amazing photos!! They’re so colorful and wonderful. Really makes the American southwest feel special. The food looks incredible!
Thank you Abby!!!! The American Southwest is special. So special. I loved my time there. I loved the heat the most. And yes, the food was incredible. And this was our last stop I think before we pulled into Las Vegas to see you!!!!!
I started reading this post as ‘cheesecake’ – Then I saw the word ‘sandwich’ and was like, “Wait, what?” Hahaha.
Haha! Thanks for the comment Ceri. Glad you at least got a laugh!!
Kirsten – nice meeting you last night!
Yo! I’d have to eat it to believe it, but I’ll take your word for it. I love it when outsiders can produce authentic food. I’ve normally been disappointed when someone serves up a Philly cheesesteak in another part of the country, so it’s a delight when someone does is right. Sometimes, they just have awful bread. BTW, the bread in the your pic looks nice – flakey and crusty on top.Chris and I lived in Philly for 20 and 10 years, and just before we moved to Seattle, we lived in the Italian Market neighborhood, so we were surrounded by the cheesesteak and general hoagie culture. Tourists will normally go to Pat’s and Genos down at the south end of the Italian Market, and rightfully so – that’s where it all started. They’re good, but in my opinion, I prefer Jim’s Steaks – most are going to know about the one on South Street, but the original Jim’s is surprisingly in a pretty bad neighborhood in West Philly – it’s possible the neighborhood went down hill since the time it first opened – I just know you wouldn’t want to go there at night. Anyway, this location has this unique hot sauce in a stainless steel container on the counter – they have all these little black dried chilis just stewing in this concoction of olive oil and what looks like stewed/chopped up cherry peppers – it’s so good the woman behind the counter told me that someone stole it when I was looking for it during one visit.To many Philadelphians, the real cheesesteak should be served with Cheese Whiz. I know it sounds gross to have this orange neon fake cheese stuff on your hoagie, but to tell the truth, I’ve tried every cheese that is normally available at cheesesteak shops and I have to admit that I prefer the whiz (with fried onions). For some reason, it’s just more pungent and gives the steak a great creamy flavor. Otherwise, I prefer provolone.Tip: next time you are in Philly, try the roast pork hoagie at Dinic’s in the Reading Terminal Market. I think this is equally as good. I always ask for the pork, with aged provolone, broccoli rabe and a “long hot” on top (long green roasted chili).