Regional favorites that lived up to expectations once you got to try them
Since the other thread is so long, I thought it was time for a new one that would accentuate the positive.
So I'll start with a few:
1. Steamed crabs in Baltimore.
2. Eastern NC barbecue.
3. Western (AKA Lexington) NC barbecue
4. Poutine (LOL). Perhaps because my expectations were low, but the Dairy Bar in Dania FL (run by Canadians for Canadian tourists) met them.
5. Peanut soup (VA)
6. Fried soft-shell crabs in Baltimore.
7. Pit beef (Baltimore)
8. White clam pizza (New Haven)
First off, thanks for all the Baltimore shout outs, Bob. I'm Baltimore born and bred, and I'm so happy to see so many local favorites being enjoyed by others! (Especially after the beating Old Bay took on that other thread...)
Anyways, my additions are:
1. Philly cheesesteak (Philly)
2. Texas ribs (Ft. Worth)
3. Cedar-plank salmon (Seattle)
Dungeness Crab and good coffee in Seattle.
Fresh lobster from a dock and, lazy lobster rolls (the butter kind) in Maine.
Green Chili sauce on about anything and Blue Corn Burritos in Pheonix.
NC BBQ (but not NC cole slaw)
Sweet Tea and real biscuits pretty much anywhere in the south.
Sourdough bread from Boudin bakery.
Deep Dish Pizza- Chicago (I know many people on the other thread disagree, bless my heart I love it)
Tacos in L.A.
Po-boy, Mufaletta and Beignets in NOLA. (Pretty much anything in NOLA)
NYC Pizza- depending on where you go.
I'll second the NOLA choices. With po-boys, my favorite is roast beef, and I've had a couple that were not so good, but when they are at their best -- that is "hot n sloppy" -- they are fantastic.
Muffaletta -- absolutely. When my brother and I went to NO for a Pats-Saints game, we got muffs at Progress Grocery (which no longer has a retail operation, sadly). One quarter of a muff for each quarter of the game. Perfection.
Beignets -- totally.
And also boiled crawfish. I even suck da heads.
Chicago - Char dogs, gyros, and both styles of pizza (deep dish and cracker crust). Does al pastor count as a Chicago specialty? It's delicious and I've never seen it anywhere else.
Philadelphia - cheese steak
The South - slow cooked greens, and Waffle House
Cincinnati - Chili 5-way
New Orleans - real Creole gumbo. When I make it myself I can never get it that dark and flavorful.
Johannesburg - Boerewors... the most delicious sausage I have ever had!
1. Upper Peninsula of Michigan Swedish pasties--This is basically beef stew wrapped in baked dough and was eaten by Swedish iron miners around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior in the first part of the twentieth century.. Sometimes it is onion-heavy. They've done something with it, though, that makes it taste different than beef stew. Delicious!
2. Chicago hot dogs--Long, thin steamed black poppy seed bun; a long, thin steamed hot dog; a 6" long wedge of cucumber with the mooshy seed part removed; coarsely chopped white onion; pickled sport peppers; coarsely chopped tomatoes, bright yellow ballpark mustard; neon green pickle relish. (I don't think I've forgottten anything.)
3. Muffaletta sandwich from Central Grocery in New Orleans. I've eaten them many places in other parts of the counrty, but they're just not the same. The bun is different and the olive salad is different.