It's hard enough for the Underground Gourmet to maintain his svelte and soigné figure given the gluttonous nature of the profession. When devious restaurateurs clearly in defiance of the proposed trans-fat ban tempt him with subtle and sophisticated marketing ploys, the challenge becomes immeasurably greater. Such was the case the other day, as the UG gamboled along University Place on his way to the Union Square Greenmarket for some healthful burdock root and lamb's quarters when a chalkboard sign outside Philly Slim's Cheesesteak shop froze him in his tracks. "Come in and try a Widowmaker — steak, Whiz, bacon, onion rings, BBQ sauce" it read in a Helter-Skelterlike scrawl. "Why would someone want to eat a sandwich that claimed that it would kill him?" wondered the UG, his mouth beginning to drool and his limbs starting to twitch, as if he'd accidentally stepped on an electric Con Edison plate. Within seconds, having regained his composure, he entered the brightly lit shack and decided to find out. A few minutes later, the sandwich in question — a kind of saucy supersized cross between a Manwich and a traditional cheesesteak — appeared before him. Although the foot-long monstrosity did not kill the UG, it might have scratched a year or two off his life. At the very least, it is the type of sandwich that should you finish it in a single sitting, the management, in deference to your stamina, should offer it free of charge. Either that or commemorate the event with an engraved bronze plaque mounted prominently on the wall.
Philly Slim's Cheesesteak, 106 University Pl., nr. 12th St.; 212-989-8281
— Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld