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Mar 20, 2008 06:32 AM

Terrific Local Foods You'd Never Want to Vanish

I thought this would be a fun topic, hopefully it hasn't been posted before. I'm interested in hearing about great local dishes/foods that folks love from all over the country. Here in humble NJ, we have the tomato pie. Pizza, but made with tomatoes, not sauce, and includes parmesan on the dough, thin crust, less cheese. Tangy and delicious. Some favorite purveyors are De Lorenzo, Pappa's (the second oldest pizzeria in the U.S.) and Top Road Tavern. Just as New England has their fried clams, Louisville has its hot browns, each region has its own unique, terrific food that you crave if you move out of town. Which foods or cuisine do you love from your city or state?

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  1. I'm from NJ originally, and boy do I miss Pork Roll! Especially every local deli having pork roll, egg & cheese on a hard roll for breakfast. yum!

    1. I don't like seeing ANY of the regional quirks that define our little hamlets and havens die off. There's more than just the emblematic foods like a cheesesteak, fried ravioli, chili 5-ways or Italian beef I want to preserve (emblems of Philly, St. Louis, Cincy, and Chicago), but more foods that really define a people as unique, like:
      Minnesota Hotdish (tater tots casserole over what looks like Alpo)
      Horseshoe sandwiches in Springfield, IL (open face ham sandwich on sourdough topped with horseradish cheddar sauce and french fries)
      White Hots in the Buffalo-Rochester area (uncured sausages)
      Garbage Plates in Rochester (fries and mac salad topped with cheeseburger patties, mustard, onions and a beef-based gravy)
      Green River soda in Chicago (a vaguely lime-flavored soda more properly termed a HFCS delivery drink)

      1 Reply
      1. re: JungMann

        Ahhhhhh Green River floats. The perfect end to a hot (non-air conditioned) summer day for this baby boomer kid. Is Wayne's Red Coach in Springfield still open?

      2. Lifelong Chicagoan:

        I would hate to lose the Italian Beef Sandwich, the Beef and Sausage Combo, and the Chicago Style Hot Dog.

        I personally could care or less about allegedly "Chicago Style Pizza"(I have lived here all my life, and we eat thin crust pizza) & wouldn't mind if it vanished, give me a coal fired "New Haven Style Pizza" anyday.

        3 Replies
        1. re: swsidejim

          I live in NYC but I have been eating beef and sausage combos all week thanks to a to the Jewel with my carry-on luggage during my last visit to Chi. Now if only I had remembered to get some Green River, my lunch today would be complete.

          1. re: JungMann

            I dont think I have ever had Green River, I see it at the soda fountain at a beef shop I go to, but have never tried it. I will now.

            1. re: swsidejim

              It's very much an acquired taste. For some reason it also seems more popular on the North Side than on the South Side.

        2. The fish in the gulf of Maine have basically disappeared. The once plentiful cod will never return. The lobstermen are afraid that a virus in the Long Island area will move north, wipe out the lobsters and end the generational fishing culture. Boy I'd miss the lobster, clam, crab, scallop or shrimp rolls. Salt fish w/ pork scraps have disappeared from restaurants and fish cakes and beans are hard to find.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Passadumkeg

            Our local Fraser river spawning salmon and their cousins; the Kumamoto oysters raised just down the road from me, served raw (no cocktail sauce!!!); and our wonderful local coffee culture! I think the Stumptown latte should be on the state flag eventually... I'm proud to live in Western Washington.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              The area was being overfished when we lived there a decade ago. It's really sad. No more codsteaks. When I started living there in the 80s, Legal Seafood served everything. The seafood is still high quality but it often comes from far away. I miss the Old Boston. I wonder if Union Oyster House still has their stellar clam chowder.

              1. re: bistro66

                Yes, and they recently (the last year or 2) their hundredth anniv. and oyster prices for the day were the same as 1807!

            2. here in wisconsin, we have our cheese, beer, and brats, and i'd hate to see any of that go (the good stuff, not the mass produced stuff they slap a "wisconsin" label on to make it sell). i'd really hate to see any of the microbreweries go - they're making some great stuff. wisconsin also makes some great mustards (our silver spring mustards have won many world wide awards -, and is also the one of top producers for the world's horseradish supply (