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Jul 27, 2008 06:50 PM

Regional Food Lingo

I was wondering if there is any kind of phrases that have been birthed locally in different regions to describe some element or process of making food.

The reason why I pose this question is because the people of Tijuana or Tijuanese seemed to have hijacked the word 'Campechana' to recieve a mixed order of something.

Campechana's original meaning is to describe a style of Mexican seafood cocktail that has not just one variety of seafood but many - scallops, octupus, shrimp, sea snail etc.

Case in point - streetgourmetla and I were at a taco stand that specializes in TJ style Breakfast birria de Res and Tripitas. We were standing chowing down on our tacos - one res and the other tripitas - when we hear this guy call it "Dame dos tacos campechanos."

The taquero then went on to compose a taco of both crispy tripitas and moist rich beef birria.

So the phrase has evoloved on the meaning of getting a 'mixed' order of anything in Tijuanese speak.

What about your area?

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  1. All dressed.

    In Montreal this means a pizza with cheese, pepperoni, green pepper and mushrooms (with the cheese on top of the other ingredients). An all dressed steamie or toastie (two preparations of hotdogs, wedged into a top-loading bun) has coleslaw, mustard and relish.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mrbozo

      Unless you're in a francophone setting, then its actually

      All dress ; )

      Even the hot dogs - you don't have to specify steamie, a simple

      deux all dress

      implies 2 *steamed* all dressed hot dogs

      but you'd have to specify toaste for a toasted bun...

      I've never been to Philly except for the airport, but the Food Network informed me that ordering a philly cheesesteak has its own jargon:
      1 wit and 2 wit wit
      maybe someone can add?

      1. re: porker

        I'm a homeboy and I was simplifying somewhat it's true. "All dressed" is an anglicism of "toute garnie" which in turn has been francisized into "all dress" (similiar to how roast beef became rosbif)..

        You're quite right on the assumption of steamie over toasted.

        1. re: mrbozo

          All tongue in cheek, mrbozo!

          I grew up with only english, learned sub-par, basic french as part of business.
          I am always amused overhearing food orders;

          deux all dress
          ur french fry
          ur up
          pi une autre hot dog, plaine

          but its difficult, at best, to explain this to people anywhere else but quebec!

    2. As any Canadian can tell you a double-double is a Tim Horton's coffee with double cream (not milk) and double sugar.

      16 Replies
      1. re: pengcast

        ...whereas down here in sunny SoCal it's a four-patty hamburger from In-N-Out.

        The worst example of food-term highjacking I can think of at the moment is "bruschetta", which properly means toasted or grilled bread, which then may or may not have some condiment or food substance smeared on. It is also pronounced broo-SKET-ta. Now we see toppings being sold, labelled "Bruschetta" and pronounced broo-SHET-ta. All wrong.

        1. re: Will Owen

          Not to nit-pick but for In-N-Out accuracy a Double-Double is a TWO-patty burger. A FOUR-patty burger is a "4x4".

          1. re: Midlife

            Sorry about that - my first In-N-Out experience (a 60th birthday present to myself) was a Double-Double, which I tried to eat in the car...I'm lucky to be alive! But that was - a-HEM - a *few* years ago, and I'd forgotten the details. Except that it was damned good.

            1. re: Will Owen

              Goodness..... that makes you a little older than me! Were you lucky to be alive from eating a burger while driving? or because burgers are pretty much cholesterol bombs?

              I still think In-n-Out is one of the best non-gourmet burgers there is. Thankfully, even the double-double isn't all that big. Though I do order mine "Animal Style" (which means grilled onions, etc.) so it's even bit less good for me than the original. But it is GOOD!!!!

        2. re: pengcast

          And to a Bostonian a regular coffee is one with cream and sugar.

          1. re: BobB

            Slightly off topic but that could explain why so many people order black coffee then ask where the cream and sugar are when I bring them back the black coffee they asked for. Mystery solved!

            1. re: Stillwater Girl

              Weird. In the UK, coffee with milk is a white coffee. When you get a refill on drinks, you "top up." It took me forever to figure out that "puds" were short for puddings.

            2. re: BobB

              But only at Dunkin' Donuts or similar-type coffee shops...

              1. re: purple bot

                In other words, any place that has waitresses, not baristas! ;-)

                Actually I see this as akin to the "sodaization" of Boston. Not that long ago all carbonated soft drinks here were tonic, a genuine archaic regionalism. The rise of the national chains brought homogenization of the lingo, as McDonalds and its ilk have taught the new generation to order sodas. Similarly, Starbucks (and the concomitant rise of high end coffee culture) has done away with the "regular."

                1. re: BobB

                  In Canada, a soda (a Coca Cola or a 7-UP or Mountain Dew) is a pop or maybe a soda pop. The tins they come in are pop cans.

                  1. re: pengcast

                    Actually, just to clarify, I think it depends what part of Canada. For example, here in Quebec they are more commonly called "soft drinks" - never pop. :-)

                    Wikipedia concurs:


                    I recall seeing a thread elsewhere about soft-drink naming conventions, it seems to vary a lot even across North America.

                    The most charming rendition I find is in the UK where I've heard it referred to as a "fizzy" drink.

                    Speaking of the UK, it took me a while to become unconfused when travelling there - for some reason maybe a Brit can clarify, they seemed to call drinks like 7Up "lemonade", and they call tea with milk a "cream tea." I kept trying to order "tea with milk" (as opposed to tea with lemon) and they kept saying "so you'd like a cream tea" and I'd say, well, I'd prefer milk, and it went round and round a bit before I eventually figured things out. ;-)

                  2. re: BobB

                    Yeah, I miss "tonic". I grew up with that term. Thankfully, both my grandfather and father still use it.

                    1. re: BobB

                      Tonic - wow, I haven't heard that word in a while. I was born in Boston, as was my mother, and when we moved to upstate New York, no one ever knew what my sisters and I were talking about when we asked for "orange tonic." Then they would say, "Ooohh, you mean 'paaaap' (with their flat Midwestern-style aaaaaccent) - and give us our...soda. (We've been living in CA now for too long!)

                2. re: pengcast

                  lol...yes! and you know you go through the drive through to offten when one of the first phrases in your childs vocabulary is I have a "Double-Double"

                  1. re: pengcast

                    Yep! In Buffalo, too. My friends from out of town never understand our orders when I ask for "One small double double and a medium regular" (small coffee with 2 creams and 2 sugars and a medium coffee with one cream and one sugar).

                    1. re: bflocat

                      where i am from, a double double. . . is not an order for food. :-o

                  2. "outside brown"

                    Jim Leff explains better than I could here:


                    1. A wedge. As in a meatball wedge. Not a hero it originates in Westchester Co. suburb of NYC where I grew up. After some research it's very specific to Westchester.

                      Also, a regional NY thing. "Regular" coffee is with milk and sugar.

                      1. In New York, a 'bagel with a schmear' refers to a bagel topped with cream cheese.

                        In New Jersey, Rutt's Hut has a lingo all its own on how to order their deep-fried hotdogs. Though most people seem to order the "Rippers", the dogs are also served as "In and Outers" (just barely cooked), "Wellers" (well done) and "Cremators" (cooked until charred). -- Anywhere else on the planet this lingo is probably incomprehensible.