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Jan 28, 2009 08:48 PM

What is your city's specialty and why is it the best?

I am from Kansas City and I believe that we have, overall, the world's best barbeque. From all the restaurants to all the backyards, no place can beat our barbeque. I am not looking to start a fight, I am merely looking for spirited opinions about your city/regional specialities and why you feel that they are the best. Thank you, fellow Chowhounds.

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  1. There are lots of threads on this topic, but I always think it's a fun one. Especially when people bring out the hidden specialties. I live in Western New York state, near Buffalo, and while we of course have the best Buffalo chicken wings on the planet, we also have 2 other specialities that are hard, if not impossible, to find elsewhere:

    Roast Beef on 'Weck: Sliced roast beef served on a kimmelweck roll(kaiser topped with coarse salt and caraway seeds), best topped with a healthy dose of horseradish.

    Sponge Candy: Light honeycomb candy, made from sugar, vinegar, and baking soda, covered in chocolate. Other places call something very similar "seafoam" candy or "honeycomb" candy, but sponge candy is lighter, and more delicate.

    10 Replies
    1. re: RosemaryHoney

      Western NY also has white (hot)dogs and whistlepigs (which are francheezies) -- additional to some Canadian specialties, like that 7 gazillion types of fudge -- the cranberry opera fudge is haunting.

      1. re: SGFoxe

        Back in the 80's I was introduced to white hots and Italian sausage (I had never heard of it), and would import them to Texas. They came from a meat market in Rochester, while the white hots were quite good, I was blown away by the Italian sausage. We would grill it over mesquite, add bell peppers and onions, and serve on tortillas with hot sauce. Don't knock it until you try it. Also, the best pizza I've had to this day was in a mom and pop place in downtown Oswego. About the same times Buffalo wings started to become popular nationwide, fajitas were popularized, not invented, at Ninfa's on Navigation in Houston. Why were they the best, superior meat, marinade, grilling, tortillas, and hot sauce, plus an anything goes atmosphere with super potent and delicious margaritas.

      2. re: RosemaryHoney

        White Hots are hard to beat, but how can you forget to add the Garbage Plate to your list?

        1. re: JungMann


          tell me what these things are!!
          I have never heard of white dogs or whistlepigs...or a garbage plate!!!

          and cranberry fudge sounds incredible!!

          1. re: NellyNel

            White Hots are a type of uncured/unsmoked sausage made of pork, veal and beef with a rich taste vaguely reminiscent of a light weisswurst.

            The Garbage Plate is the most disgusting and at the same time the most amazing dish I've ever eaten. It is a tower built upon a base of home fries and macaroni salad, topped with 2 cheeseburgers, a gravy made of ground beef and your choice of condiments. It's mostly popular with University of Rochester students looking for something to soak up the alcohol after a night on the town, but I have to admit that even while sober, I somewhat enjoyed eating a week's worth of carbohydrates in one siting.

            1. re: JungMann

              In Hawaii we have the LocoMoco, two scoops of rice in the bottom of a bowl, top with one or two hamburger patties, a fried egg on top of that, all smothered in brown gravy.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                I loved the LocoMoco when I was there. Was in Hawaii for 11 days and ate it 12 times

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  There's something to be said about that wonderful smell that blasts me in the face when I arrive, fresh off the plane from the mainland, and the swaying palms directed by the trade winds.
                  Then driving directly to pick up just all makes sense collectively.
                  Love Hawaii.

          2. re: RosemaryHoney

            And Ted's Hot Dogs, Anderson's Curly-Q fries (without that powdery seasoning other town's drench theirs with).

            1. stamford, connecticut is the home of the hot oil pizza.
              imagine a cracker thin crust topped with a spoonful of sauce of indeterminate origin, mozzarella and splashed with peppery/spicy hot olive oil and baked (incinerated?) in a pizza oven. add pepperoni and you'll agree that this pie is both tasty and unique.
              the colony grill is the only place in the world where you can get this gem. cash only. keep the napkin dispenser in front of you.

              7 Replies
              1. re: steve h.

                I would try the white hots.... but um...not so keen to try the garbage plate!!

                However the hot oil pizza sounds AMAZING!!!

                I live in Jersey City, but grew up in Brooklyn.
                The big thing in Hoboken and JC is Hot roast beef sandwiches with fresh mozzerella and brown gravey!
                I grew up in an Italian area in Brooklyn - but I never heard of this "Italian" specialty till i moved to Jersey!
                People line up on Saturdays to get 'em when the mozz is still warm.
                I had to try it -so I joined the line one day...and sadly I was quite disappointed!
                Yuck actually> I can't see the big attraction but there it is! If you're ever in Hoboken or JC - try one for yourself!

                1. re: NellyNel

                  hot oil pizza with pepperoni is addictive.
                  it gets into your head. one visit is interesting but not special. the second is satisfying. after the third visit, you're hooked. be sure to eat the stingers. beer is essential.

                  1. re: steve h.

                    Middletown, CT was once a great place for scacciata--a.k.a. spinach or broccoli (or potato) pie--pizza dough wrapped around a filling of the veggies, with or without sausage and/or sauce, garlic, capers...yum! It is a Sicilian specialty--Melilli, Sicily is our sister city--and something I took for granted as there were two really fantastic places in town that made it until recent history. Now that no restaurant in town makes it anymore, I had to learn how to make it from my hairdresser (who is also Sicilian, of course). So, we "were* the home of the scacciata, but now are only so in the kitchens of home cooks!

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      MIddletown was at one time famous for steamed hamburgers. Are there any still around?

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          You got that right, Passdumkeg. I still need to have one over at Brian's. My uncle used to make them at Alfredo's Riverside...he's gone now, so is the restaurant. But those steamed cheeseburgers were kick@$$.

                  2. re: NellyNel

                    I live in Hoboken and have to agree. I'm from New Orleans, home of the roast beef poboy, which in my opinion is the greatest sandwich in the world. When I moved to Hoboken everyone told me I HAD to try the roast beef and mozz from Fiore's. I tried it and have not had one since, I just don't get it.

                    So to answer the OP question, I would put a New Orleans Roast Beef Poboy as my submission to what my hometown does best, along with red beans and rice.

                2. Maine (we're only a million). Red hot dogs and beans (B&M is in Portland) w/ brown bread.
                  Lobster, fried clam, fried shrimp and fried scallop rolls. Chowders. Bean hole beans.
                  Canned sardines.

                  New Mexico: stacked enchiladas, soppapillas (stuffed too), posole, Frito pies and Navajo tacos.

                  1. Do they serve Kansas City BBQ with sauce on the meat?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      It is smoked dry, then sauced. you can hold the sauce if desired.

                      1. re: bbqboy

                        My brother moved to Kansas City and sent some sauce from Arthur Bryant's, pretty tasty indeed.

                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          Calvin Trillan write eloquently about KC BBQ.

                          1. re: James Cristinian

                            What'd he do, eat the meat and send you the sauce? Tell him to send you a couple of racks of ribs next time!

                      2. In Honolulu Plate Lunch is King. Definitely more foodie than houndish, it still captures the history and culture of the islands as much as amost anything else and is the foundation of much of the present day Hawaiian cuisine at places such as Roys, 3660, etc. A blend of cultures, a blend of foods, simple, complex, and satisfying.

                        While there are many variations the traditional plate lunch is based on a simple formula:
                        2 Scoops White Rice (Calrose, medium grain)
                        1 Scoop Macaroni Salad (macaroni and mayo, not much else)
                        A meat/fish/chicken preparation
                        hamburger patties (hamburger steak)
                        chili con carne ,with or without a hot dog (chili or chili dog plate)
                        chicken katsu
                        mahi mahi (breaded and fried)
                        roast pork
                        etc., etc., etc.
                        Sauce (most often brown gravy, generously ladled over all or parts of the dish)