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Nov 4, 2007 02:10 PM

What's "the" food where you're from?

I'm curious about the food associated with different cities/states. Everyone know that Chicago is famous for its' Pizza and Clam Chowder is big in Boston, but what about the lesser known city/food associations? I live in San Diego, and you're not aloud to come here without trying our fish tacos. What food is directly associated with your city / state?

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  1. Here in Cleveland (and Northern Ohio in general) it's Lake Erie walleye or yellow perch for sure. Every corner bar/little neighborhood joint has it at least on Fridays, usually fried, and the "fancy" places do any of a number of variants on it. I think Michael Symon serves a pickled version at Lola. I like it super fresh (as in, was still swimming this morning), seasoned simply with some pepper, maybe a little citrus, and grilled.

    We also have a lot of folks of Eastern European descent here, so things like pierogi, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, etc are really big as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LeslieB

      I am a few miles south of you in Amish country, so it would have to be the German foods and sweets that the Amish are known for.

      I only discovered that Barberton style fried chicken was not universal after I moved away for a few years.

    2. Ottawa doesn't really have one. The closest thing to an It Food would be beavertails, basically a naan-shaped chunk of dough that's deep-fried and covered in toppings, usually sugar and cinnamon.

      Nearby Montreal has a few, and Warwick further up has poutine.

      4 Replies
      1. re: piccola

        Ottawa seems to have developed a reputation for shawarma. Though obviously not native to Ottawa, it is ubiquitous and people I know who have left here often talk longingly about their favourite shawarma place. Beavertails probably have the tradition, but I'm sure there's a lot more shawarma eaten in Ottawa than Beavertails.

        I'm originally from Montreal, and there the signature foods include Montreal-style bagels and smoked meat. Also the more traditional Quebecois food like tortiere or tarte au sucre (sugar pie). Also, having some history but often overlooked, is barbecue chicken (with dipping sauce, coleslaw and fries) - brought to the Canadian-masses by Swiss Chalet and St-Hubert, but done for years by local places like Cote-St-Luc Barbecue or Chalet Barbecue.

        1. re: PaulV

          One more for Montreal: poutine. Or is it more for Quebec?

          1. re: PaulV

            Ottawa and Montréal both boast a lot of Lebanese foods, yum! Both of the fast-food and more elegant versions. Our pet Lebanese fastfood (also available at slightly more upscale, sit-down restos) is shish taouk (chicken shawarma).

            Here in Montréal, all kinds of food, and good bread, but traditional Québécois food would include tourtière and its many variations - even vegetarian ones. Of course there is poutine, but that is originally typical of a rural region on the south shore of the St-Lawrence river between Mtl and Québec City. It has been citified in many versions.

            1. re: PaulV

              I've never had shawarma (I'm veg), but I agree that Middle-Eastern food is big in O-town.

              Re: BBQ - the St-Hubert sauce is classic. I still crave it sometimes - slightly spicier than gravy... Too bad they don't make a meatless version.

          2. I live in Nebraska, THE food here is steak. And I don't even like steak that much.

            I liked living in Wisconsin - there it's cheese. Mmmmmmm, cheese.

            8 Replies
            1. re: jnstarla

              I'd venture cheese curds as an even more specific "THE" than cheese. But whaddoiknow? I'm from New York.

              1. re: MaspethMaven

                perhaps you mean 'fried cheese curds', a wonderful delicacy I've only enjoyed while watching great concerts at Alpine Valley in good, ole Wisconsin. What an underrated state.

                1. re: roasted138

                  Oh man, fried cheese curds... I am at Summerfest right now when you mention fried cheese curds.

                  No wonder I gained so much weight in college...

                  1. re: jnstarla

                    haha, and the beer...don't forget about the beer.

                    1. re: roasted138

                      Oh yes, the beer.... ah, good times, Milwaukee.

                2. re: MaspethMaven

                  I grew up in Milwaukee and you are right. It's the curds that get the 'THE'.

                3. re: jnstarla

                  From a flatlander in Illinois who visits Wisconsin regularly perspective, I think of Wisconson for cheese, brats, fresh water fish(walleye, etc), and beer. Wisconsin is a great state.

                  1. re: jnstarla

                    How about runza? My husband went to UNL and runza was apparently the big deal.

                  2. Indiana here. Breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. I moved here about 4 years ago and never had one until about a year ago (at the cafeteria of an Indianapolis water company, of all places). And it was absolutely delicious! The person who took me to lunch ( who worked next door) said that the cook did really good tenderloins and he was right. I'd avoided them out of pure food snobbery on my part--I've learned my lesson!

                    Originally from PA Dutch country--home of funnel cake, scrapple, shoo-fly pie, and chicken corn noodle soup.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      That brings memories of my childhood! We used to live in Bedford Indiana, and there was a diner on the highway that made this delicious bread veal meal.I don't think it had any gravy or anything, but it was so juicy and tender. When we moved our last stop was at that place for a farewell dinner!

                      1. re: danhole

                        An even more specific Indiana specialty is found in Northwest Indiana. The specialty is lake perch which is best pan sauteed and served with drawn butter. The other idiosyncratic food is the relishes served prior to the main course. Usually these are 3 bean salad, coleslaw and cottage cheese. This is less widespread than it was at one time but is still served at old school restaurants.

                        1. re: fryrose

                          If you replace the coleslaw with pepper cabbage and add apple butter on the cottage cheese, I'd swear I was in PA Dutch country!

                          1. re: fryrose

                            I'm not sure if this is a specialty or not, but when we lived in Holland, Indiana (Southern In) people would go mushroom hunting, and then bring them back, bread and deep fat fry them up in a big vat. They were enormous, the size of chicken livers, but so very good. I have no idea what kind they were but it is the only time in my life that I embraced mushrooms and wanted more! Had a meaty taste. Kind of like the Northern version of a crawfish boil, come to think of it!

                            1. re: danhole

                              Those mushrooms are the highly prized and very expensive Morels. I have seen them selling fresh for up to $50/lb. Many of the locals in the Bloomington dredge them in an egg wash and bread them with cracker crumbs and then fry in butter. Pretty darn good. Now if i could just get giant Puffballs like we used to have in northern NY state.

                              1. re: Candy

                                So that's the name of them, Morels? You know it may have been in Bloomington where I had them. We lived in Holland, and dad managed a bowling alley in Huntingburg, but then we lived in Bedford and he managed a bowling alley in Bloomington. Sometimes I get them confused. Whichever one it was our bowling alley had a little coffee shop in it with a woman named Vi who was the cook. Locals came in early for her pies! The best in town! Always ran out of pie, no matter how many she made! Thanks for the info!

                        2. re: nofunlatte

                          I am originally from Evansville, IN and the first thing that occured to me was the brain sandwich and German food in general. It's very very popular in the area and was the reason Evansville was featured on Alton Brown's show.

                          1. re: ArikaDawn

                            I was never brave enough to try the brain sandwiches at the Fall Festival. My favorite was the huge pork chop sandwiches and the funnel cakes.

                            But the pork tenderloin sandwich is king. As well as sweet corn on the cob and tomatoes from the garden.

                            Edit - Persimmon pudding! I totally forgot - my Grandmother's was the best.

                          2. re: nofunlatte

                            Amen to the Indiana tenderloins. When I moved away to the southwest, I had no idea that they weren't everywhere.

                            1. re: sausagefinger

                              I'd kill for a tenderloin, pork fritter whatever you want to call it but alas they do not exist here in TX. Makes me miss home in the midwest.

                              1. re: pickychicky1979

                                They are really simple to make. I use real pork tenderloin but most commercially produced ones are sliced from the loin. Which ever you choose to use pound the meat out thinly then flour, dredge in an egg and milk wash and coat thoroughly with bread crumbs, I use panko. Some people prefer to use a batter as one might use to make fried chicken. So however you want to coat it do it thoroughly and pan fry turning once until golden on each side.

                                If you give it a thought it is a pork schnitzel, and with all of the Germanic roots in southern Indiana it is kind of a logical dish to have.

                          3. Essex County NJ born and raised:

                            1 - Sloppy Joe Sandwich - not the ground meat "Manwich" style but Corned Beef, Turkey, (maybe tongue), cole slaw, russian dressing and three thin slices of rye bread
                            2 - Taylor ham grilled on a roll. At breakfast add cheese and egg
                            3 - Hot Dogs - jfood did not realize how great the hot dogs in Jersey were until he went to college. Only places that conpare are CT and Chicago
                            4 - Bagels - Second only to some in NYC
                            5 - Pizza - Top five with NYC, New Haven, Chicago and you can add your hometown

                            That's the top five jfood can think of.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: jfood

                              You left out the Jersey Tomato. Best eaten directly off the vine while swatting away our state bird the moskeeter.

                              1. re: Eric in NJ

                                I thought moskeeters were from eastern New England...the land of the Law of Conservation of Rs.

                                1. re: Eric in NJ

                                  Don't forget NJ blueberries..........

                                2. re: jfood

                                  Essex County here too. Agree with everything, except you forgot about the Diner. I have more diners per capita in my hometown than probably anywhere else.

                                  1. re: ESNY

                                    Blue crabs and soft shell crab sandwiches are NJ too.

                                  2. re: jfood

                                    jfood...when I think of Essex County, I think of all those wonderful Portuguese Places in Newark. I had never heard of Taylor ham until I started working in NJ but quickly learned to love it.

                                    Just two bridges/tunnels away on in the Land of Saturday Night Fever it was always Brooklyn Pizza, Brooklyn Bagels, Nathan's hot dogs, Mrs Stahl's knish's, Junior's cheesecake, and the romanced Egg Cream. My family was unique they hated Mrs Stahl's and we never went to Junior's for cheesecake (we went for sundaes).

                                    1. re: MrsT

                                      cudo's to jfood...exactly what I was thinking about with the above additions that others about Jersey Sweet Corn or Strawberries...both very seasonal....