HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


what can't you get?

Do you miss anything from your home town in the states or afar? I love Ashey's ice cream from New Haven--I don't even know if they make it anymore, and Pepe's pizza...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Michigan chili sauce, most especially like the one I grew up on (it was a sweeter version). Coney dogs from Lafayette in Detroit. Ranch-style beans, so easy to find in both Georgia and Maryland (sometimes I go on the internet, just so I can look at a picture of the can, and sigh to myself). Oh, Maryland, the easy availability of crabs and oysters (why did I ever leave the bay? There was a crab truck that used to drive down the route, and all you had to do was flash your headlights, and Mel would pull over to sell you a big bushel of crab right there on the side of the street). Zaxby's chicken sandwiches in Augusta Georgia (I hear it's a bona fide chain now, so it might not be the same).

    Ben and Jerry's Wavy Gravy, and Jello pudding pops. They stopped making them years ago. I try not to think about them too much.

    2 Replies
    1. re: onceadaylily

      Pork roll. All NJ vegetables, especially sweet corn, tomatoes and zucchini - still good, but they just don't taste the same in MA. Aljon's hoagies.

      1. re: pasuga

        Ah man, Taylor Ham ... even the store brand pork roll ... just thinking about it makes my mouth water like one of Pavlov's dogs.

        Wise onion rings, too. *sigh*

        A Sabrett right out of the oily water and a big pie from San Remo's. *double sigh*

    2. Water ice. Soft pretzels. Scrapple is very hard to find. Can you guess where I am from?

      3 Replies
      1. re: absurdnerdbird

        PA? Philly to Berks Co? I miss Wise potato chips and whoopie pies.

        1. re: absurdnerdbird

          I really miss soft pretzels and Rita's water ice. I also miss good hoagies and especially tomato pie.

          1. re: absurdnerdbird

            They opened a few Rita's up here in Dallas and my friend from PA makes the drive from downtown to the burbs for her Water ice...it must be good.

          2. Fresh chickpeas
            Fresh almonds

            Several weed type plants that grow wild in the mountains, picked, cleaned and added to dishes.

            Arabian truffles

            Sheeps meat (not impossible but harder to find)

            Heritage turkeys (again not impossible but will try to find it)

            GREAT watermelon

            Good sumac berries

            Sweet limes

            Good juicy minced meat kebobs

            GREAT tanoor flat bread

            Flavourful fruits and veggies..

            4 Replies
              1. re: BamiaWruz

                Bamia, you are making me very, very hungry. Indeed it is harder to find mutton (as opposed to lamb) in many Western countries. Not impossible here in Montréal, as we are blessed with large Middle Eastern (and Maghrebi) communities, but still, all that stuff fresh is just a dream. Do visit Adonis supermarkets if you should come to Montréal.

                1. re: lagatta

                  I do have a plan to visit Montreal, and when I do that's where I'll go, thank you so much!! I'll make plans to stock up on things we don't have here.

                  I heard there are a lot of algerian and moroccan/north african communities there.

                  1. re: BamiaWruz

                    Yes, there are many people here from the Maghreb - Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia (communities of Muslim and of Jewish backgrounds/faiths) as well as a large Lebanese community, and smaller communities from other Middle Eastern countries. You are welcome to ask any questions on the Québec board!

              2. Ashley's still exists, I was in the Hamden Plaza store on Sunday////////////////////

                3 Replies
                1. re: bagelman01

                  Hi, Mister Bagle Man! I know you are the smoked salmon expert, so here is what I can't get anymore since I moved away from NYC: nova smoked salmon trimmings, the nice fatty pieces (better than the expensive slices!) with no salt.

                  Years ago, when i still lived in NYC I used to get it at Zabar's, but then they stopped selling it. I was told that Japanese sushi places were buying it all up. But then I was still able to get it at Russ & Daughters. That's the kind of smoked salmon with no salt taste at all, zero salt.

                  Well, today I was at the big Todai Japanese buffet in Westminster, CA, and next to the prepared sushi they had that good old smoked salmon trimmings and people were eating it up! So then, my question: Do you know where I can I buy that? There's probably some place here in SoCal where I am visiting - but maybe Todai and other Japanese restaurants buy it all up. Any place online that you might know about?

                  1. re: werewolf

                    Try Contacting Supreme Salads

                    They make/package lox bits and spreads for the industry and may have retail packaging, and know where the product can be found in your area.

                2. Plouts, sourdough bread, and abundant, inexpensive mexican food.

                  1. Hummel Bros. hot dogs, also from CT. And good, fast, cheap pizza or Italian pastries from CT or NY.

                    Steamer clams of any variety from CT/NY or NoVa. See also crabs, oysters.

                    ETA: This thread is torture. Out of all the things I miss the most... softshell crabs from the Chesapeake Bay. Not flash-frozen (and admittedly delicious) from Pappadeaux's, but fresh. Gahhh. I'm going to have to go out for Tex-Mex tonight and let some homemade tortillas and chile rellenos soothe my pain. (Also.. this is a cruel thread to come across pre-lunch.)

                    1. Sonoran food, both restaruant and grocery items. Spent a few years on the east coast and miss NY pizza, Philly scrapple and hoagies and real ethnic bakeries. Of course I left there 25 years ago and lost 50 lbs since!

                      1. Good fish tacos like they have a-plenty in Southern California from independent joints to tons of chains (like Rubios). In New England here, people don't even understand a fish taco and if you find a place that serves them, they're usually screwing them up by using iceberg lettuce instead of cabbage.
                        There is ONE place I know of that sells them in my neck of the woods but unfortunately it's not as convenient as the great hole-in-the-wall joints I've visited in San Diego.

                        Also, anyone know where I can get "all dressed" chips in Southern New England? They seem to be available in ME and Canada but not near me.

                        1. Matjes, good herring salad, Spreewaldgurken (pickled cukes, several variety, NON of them as over-dilled or overly-sweet as the ones available in the US), a variety of German cold cuts, quark that isn't ridiculously expensive (same goes for crème fraîche), GOOD and with that I mean REAL, actual blackbread (the imported stuff is stale), breakfast rolls.

                          I could go on, but you get the picture. Now guess where I am from. Haha.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: linguafood

                            linguafood, I very much miss blackbread, not only from Germany and parts of the Netherlands, but because there used to be a bread-bakery near me whose owner had trained in Germany and made it beautifully. I was very sad when he sold it.

                          2. Roast beef poboys, crawfish (not that I can't have them shipped, but I miss the fact I could wake up on any given day and go pick up a sack to boil if I felt like it), snowballs, Zap's Spicy Creole Tomato potato chips, Bud's Broiler, good hogshead cheese, jambalaya.... thank god I'm going home for a visit in a month.

                            1. Now in FL, I really miss the NYC Hard Roll.

                              1. Live in CT; Miss from NJ

                                NJ Hot Dogs deep fried and put on italian bread with onions, peppers and potatoes
                                NJ Sloppy Joe (not the tomatoey chopped meat)
                                Corned Beef
                                Red sauce Italian Restaurants
                                Hard rolls
                                Real cupcakes, not the $3.50 designer junk

                                Fortunately jfood discovered Mt Kisco Smokehouse so he now has a source for smoked salmon, sable, sturgeon, kippered salmon and herring.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: jfood

                                  Oh, a good N.J. Hard Roll, Poppy seeds or plain. Even better when it has a hard fried egg,Taylor Ham, tomato, lettuce..... In Florida, they have a big piece of cotton that they call a hard roll. It is good for cleaning your eye glasses !!!

                                  1. re: ospreycove

                                    Hampshire sour Cream, Bush's Ranch Beans, Seafood enchiladas, "coolie" Chinese food, California crawdaddies (the size of a small lobster) Basque food served family style

                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                      "It is good for cleaning your eye glasses" = Priceless

                                      you will nevr get that little nick on the inside of your mouth eating a "hard" roll in FL.

                                  2. My husband & I both grew up in the MidAtlantic; he in NJ, me in Baltimore. We now live in the western 'burbs of Chicago.
                                    We both miss: Cheesesteak sandwiches; NY-style pizza; good NY-style bagels (available on the North Shore of Chicago, so we make a special trip and buy in bulk).
                                    He misses: Taylor pork roll
                                    I miss: Utz potato chips, steamed crabs

                                    1. Italian beef. (dipped)
                                      Neon green relish.
                                      Poppy seed hot dog rolls.
                                      Munchee cheese.
                                      Lake Michigan yellow perch.
                                      Canfield's 50/50 soda.
                                      Real apple cider, unpasteurized.
                                      Fresh off the stalk sweet corn.
                                      Anybody's Chicago deep dish pizza. Really. Anybody's!
                                      (Moving from the Chicago area to rural Georgia 8 years ago has been a real culinary education.)

                                      1. I miss Graeter's ice cream, having grown up in central KY. They started in Cincy, and have grown, but none in KC. MO yet. Boo hoo. Nobody does chip flavors like Graeter's.

                                        2 Replies
                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            "Graet" news, GHG! I tried Graeter's for the first time last year when visiting a cousin near Cincinnati and loved it!

                                        1. Olathe corn and Palisade peaches from Colorado

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: septocaine_queen

                                            Just had an amazing Palisade peach a couple hours ago.

                                            However, after 10 years in Boston, what I miss are lobster rolls, steamers, chowder—I can get all those things here in Denver, sort of, but it's not the same—and the sheer range of "ethnic" cuisines I could get there.

                                            On the other hand, I couldn't get Mexican in Boston, and now I've got that galore.

                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                              I am so jealous. Since we have moved back to CA the produce has been amazing but no peach I have had, week after week scouting the farmers market here in Sacramento, has yet to compare in the peachy goodness, flavor, and juiciness of a Palisade peach.

                                          2. Mikesell's potato chips. However I discovered that I've been so long without them that I got used to "regular" chips (like Lay's) and now these no longer taste good to me.

                                            Kind of sad.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                              I remember those from the seventies or eighties, was it? I'm not sure if I'm mixing it up with Schwan's, but there was a truck that came around and delivered snacks. Our family never ordered, but some of my friends' did, so we'd go to their houses for snacks. Of course, my best friend's mom still had milk delivered daily back then, too. There was an insulated box near the front door.

                                              1. re: amyzan

                                                Yeah, that was Schwan's. Mike-sells is a regional brand. I don't know how they're different from run-of-the-mill chips, but they are. It used to be the only chip I would eat. WHen I moved away and couldn't get them anymore, apparently (so gradually I didn't realize it) I lost the taste for them in favor of the run-of-the-mill chips that are available nationwide. Now I find I don't like the Mike-Sells anymore.

                                                All of which goes to show that everything is a matter of taste, rather than an actual "quality" issue, much of the time.

                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                  here on Long Island there was the Charles Chips man. drove around in a large tan truck and refilled the tins.

                                                  we never got it but a friend of mine did. Haven't seen that in ages.

                                                  1. re: magfitz

                                                    Yeah, that was it: Charles Chips in tan cans is what I'm remembering. I think they made these apple cookies, too? I enjoyed those as a kid. But, Mike-sells were sold where I was growing up in central Kentucky, starting sometime in the late seventies. I remember the bags. They had a reputation for not having any burned or broken chips, from what I recall.

                                                  2. re: amyzan

                                                    I remember getting Schwann's ice cream in the tin cans. We still have a couple of them but I suppose it's too late to get the deposit back. I was in high school before my mother ever bought milk and other dairy products at at the grocery store. If she wasn't going to be home when the milk man came she just left the back door open and he put the milk into the refrigerator.

                                                2. Fiddleheads - every season I ask (here in Boise) every year the answer is "no"
                                                  Dukes mayo- I'm just curious

                                                  1. From Atlanta: Varsity hot dogs, hamburgers and onion rings.

                                                    1. NY-style pizza, bagels, bialys and Chinese food...though since i can't eat any of it anymore, i'm better off not having it taunt me nearby!

                                                      Jersey beefsteak tomatoes and sweet corn.

                                                      Jersey diner cheese fries with gravy and home fries.


                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Is Zabar's somehow like an Abba Zabba? '-)

                                                        Now, there's something to miss!

                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              i figured, but thought i'd post it just in case :)

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          I'm with you GHG...I'm from NY, now live in NC by way of New Mexico so if I listed everything my mouth waters for, I'd need my own thread!

                                                          In NY, good old NY style pizza with the charred bottom & thin crust and melted cheese strings up when you take a bite with that o' so bit of oil sheen. REAL bagels & bailys, REAL Italian bread & seeded rye, Really good pastrami, a fabulous knish with mustard, really good (dirt water hot dogs that snap when you bite into them with red sauced onions & mustard. JUNIOR'S CHEESECAKE (yes, I know you can get them frozen but to me they're not the same as going to the restaurant). Also miss Jamaican beef patties with coco bread and REAL Italian ices.

                                                          In NM, I miss all Mexican food and the availability of Mexican ingredients. In NC, you can get a lot of ingredients but in New Mex. there is emphasis on the quality and variety of the ingredients. I wish I could buy already made green chile sauce here but I have to make my own which is difficult when I can't find NMexico Big Jim chiles.

                                                          Hey, here's a thought: why don't we have a thread where we could list what we're looking for and pay (I'd gladly pay for some chiles) someone who lives in that area to buy & send to us? I grew up eating Drake's cakes (hard to get here) and mentioned it on another thread. One of the poster's there offered to send me the cakes. I happily sent her the money and now she's my source for that item. It worked out very well...thoughts anyone?

                                                          1. re: Cherylptw

                                                            i forgot to list knishes. definitely knishes. good potato ones.

                                                            when i lived in ATL for college, any time i went up North to visit my family, my friends used to make me stock up on various Drakes cakes - Devil Dogs, Yankee Doodles, Coffee Cake, Ring Dings - and NY bagels, and bring them back to school!

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              You could have made a fortune selling those valuables (lol). Oh, and I forgot to list beef hot links from New Mexico (which is beef country). What we get here is a pork mixed with fillers so I don't buy them.

                                                              Whenever I go visit NY, I always bring back some bagels, Italian Bread, hard rolls, Drake's coffee cakes and whatever else I can lug back. I spend a lot of time scouting out ingredients to bring home. I need to make a trip soon...

                                                              Anyone out there in New Mexico, Texas or Arizona that would be willing to get me some Hatch Green chiles? If so, post here & we can work out the details!!

                                                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                You know we've got 'em in Colorado too... :)

                                                                Labor Day generally marks the official start of the chile roaster stands; we'll be buying a haul this weekend. I think it's not kosher to post my e-mail address here but you can go to my blog from my profile page to get it...

                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            Why can't you eat Chinese food, goodhealth? (Obviously, exceptiong breaded things). Because they aren't careful about identifying gluten, or because they use the kind of soya sauce containing wheat?

                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                              the soy sauce, AND i get wicked migraines from concentrated doses of MSG. to be safe, i end up having to order plain steamed vegetables & steamed seafood or meat. ugh. there's no point!

                                                          3. From my native state of California, I greatly miss fresh-caught-that-morning abalone three or four times a week. I'm talking 8 to 12 inches in diameter critters that my husband would pick up in the ocean on his way home from work (scuba diving), and sea urchins fresh from the ocean floor. I miss citrus and apricots straight from the tree and avocados. From my San Francisco years, I miss Dungeness crab. Yes, I can buy it here, but it's rather like fat free mayonnaise on a sandwich. It's just not the same.

                                                            From afar I miss the mutton and lamb of Turkey, along with the amazing bread, the mind blowing apricot ice cream unavailable in any other part of the world, the street kabobs in hot pida with mint and onions and yogurt, and shrimp that were nearly a foot long when the head was still on. Incredible flavor. From Greece I miss olive oil freshly milled from my friends' olive trees and so rich it was green. I miss the foods of both countries cooked over true charcoal at small country "eateries" with a glass of wine from small local vineyards.

                                                            But I am also incredibly blessed, just by the very fact that I have the luxury of missing these wonderful things. :-)

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              Abalone, is almost extinct now, too bad!!

                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                actually, not so for most species, including the species that Caroline's husband likely caught diving (Red Abalone). In California it is sustainably farmed in several locations, also farmed in parts of Baja. I believe they are also farmed in NZ, and not sure they are endemic to any other areas other than the west coast of Canada and SE Alaska perhaps (? not sure about those areas, but they do require temperate, ie cold, water).

                                                                The farmed ones won't be 8 to12 inches in diameter (it can take many, many years to grow to that size) but the taste is there. In the wild, only recreational take is allowed (in CA) and it is very closely regulated (biggest threat is from commercial poachers).

                                                                US farmed abalone is a Seafood Watch 'best choice':


                                                                And for Caroline: anytime (in season) you want some of the wild stuff, email me. You'll have to join us for a camping trip in CA, but if you help clean it, and bring a bottle of wine, we'd be happy to share even if you don't get wet....:-)

                                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                                  Me too, me too!!!!!!!!!!! I don't dive but I clean damn well and could be C1's assistant.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    anytime....(in season). Thinking of mid-October for our next trip; will be here before you know it. oh, and some of our group have been known to cheat and get hotel rooms near the campground. :-)

                                                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                                                      Aren't you kind? This year is pretty full so the future hopefully. I still remember the last time I DIDN'T have abalone. It was in downtown Oakland at lunch about 30 years ago. The price was $32 THEN.

                                                                  2. re: susancinsf

                                                                    OOooh! Thanks for the invitation! I will dream about it!

                                                                    Rick caught about every species of abs known to man. Red, green, white, smooth, whatever. I still have a bunch of shells I cleaned with muriatic acid so they are gorgeous! They hang on the wall in the guest bathroom. I have a couple of greens that are 10" across. We ate our share of turban snails too and their shells (and feet) got the same treatment. I used to make a "Pacific boulliabase" with sea turbans, sea cucumbers, keyhole limpets, mussels, and whatever else followed DH home. Such a decadent lifestyle! '-)

                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                      don't think I've ever eaten sea turban... (though I've certainly seen them). do they taste similar to mussels?

                                                                      I've put a bit of abalone in cioppino before, but it doesn't really work. I prefer abs prepared the traditional way: cleaned, pounded to death, dipped in egg and bread crumbs, and sauteed in butter with a bit of lemon. At our ab dives, making the fried version is usually my job; I seemed to be blessed with an eye for knowing when they are just right and ready to eat. Every trip, we argue over whether they are better grilled over coals, or sauteed....however, the arguments cease when we get a chance to taste another friend's smoked version: heaven!

                                                                      ok, I guess I gave you enough to dream about already.... :-)

                                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                                        The problem with sea turban (at least as I remember it) is that the "innards" are on the outer side in the shell, so you have to par boil them enough to ease them out of the shell to get at the edible parts. Or at least that's how I remember it. Google doesn't tell me anything about the anatomy of sea turbans! No chance of scrubbing, pounding and sauteeing as you would abalone. I wouldn't say they taste much like abalone. Their flavor isn't as distinct. Which is why they went into a stew. Some of the sea critters took much longer to tenderize through cooking than others. Sea cucumbers can't be pounded to tenderize the way abalone can, so it's loooong slow simmer for them, but not as long for the turbans.

                                                                        But you're right. Abalone are best by far scrubbed, sliced, pounded to smithereens, egg washed, pankoed and into the hot butter and oil so the breadcrumbs will brown before the abs re-toughen. I think my biggest failure with abalone was trying to make an abalone pate. It was bizarre! They did gain that smooth texture in the food processor (or blender, whichever I used), put in lots of butter and cooked shallots, some cognac and set the pate to cool in the fridge until serving time. They congealed! Like vulcanized rubber! It was as if all of their little fibers had knitted themselves back together. Most strange. I did not pursue that experiment further. Flavor wasn't all that bad, but it was like thick peanut butter on steroids! Sauteed is the only way to fly!

                                                                        Made some decent barnacle stews though. When we moved from Del Mar to El Paso, what an incredible shock to my food bill. I had to BUY all of the protein we ate!!! hmmm... Didn't think of it at the time, but I suppose we could have just gone native and ate jack rabbits and snakes? Nah. I went beef and chicken. Obviously the real chicken was me! '-)

                                                                2. re: Caroline1

                                                                  And we're blessed that you share those memories with us. You always get my mouth watering :)

                                                                3. Good thread! I miss Conejitos guacamole, Real hot italian sausage, sunday ham with shred your mouth crusty rolls, feta cheese from a crock, chinese food that isn't smothered in overly sweet brown sauce, peanut squares, nut rolls, really anything from a decent bakery, serbian or hungarian food...Florida was (and remains) a serious food shock to my system when I moved here.

                                                                  1. Im originally from the UK and now live in NY so finding Im missing the availability of CHEAP nice wine and crusty bread, marmite mmmmm! Smoked peppered mackerel..the kind vac packed and ready to eat haven't seen it anywhere where I live :-(

                                                                    1. Not my hometown, but my mother's- persimmon pulp. From Illinois, southeast quadrant.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                        You can buy it mail order from various sources. Neither one of these is familiar, as we have them growing wild here, so no need to order. You can probably find others, as well: http://www.agriseek.com/market/p/Pers...
                                                                        Red Rosa Farm in Spencer via the localharvest.org website: http://www.localharvest.org/store/M6368

                                                                      2. Luis' Deli Italian sub, from Troy, NY. It's not my hometown, but my college town. Never had such a good sub. Looks just like any other sub, but there was something about the bread and the perfect ratios of meat. Even though Luis was a notorious curmudgeon, he had a bit of soft spot for me. Didn't even yell at me for wanting mayo on my sub, which most East Coasters saw as sacrilegious.

                                                                        That and Turkish vegetables. They taste like vegetables there still. Especially the green peppers.

                                                                        1. Fried clams with the soft bellies from the Boston area. So much more delicious than the rubbery strips that are called fried clams elsewhere.

                                                                          1. I used to make pepper and steak sandwiches with Lovitt's Shaved Steak when I lived in Annapolis, Md. It came frozen and didn't even need defrosting, just pop in a pan. I loved that stuff. No way can I slice beef that thin.

                                                                            1. I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area (population over 4,000,000) to a small mountain town (entire county population under 86,000) a couple years ago. I can't get any Asian vegetables except the large white-stemmed bok choy and nappa cabbage. Bean sprouts, of course, but supply is unreliable.

                                                                              And of course, no Indian grocery closer than 40 miles away, so pay $4-5 a jar for chutney or rely on daughter's boyfriend. And no Indian restaurants at all. There's one decent Chinese restaurant in town that recently switched to "pan-Asian" to increase business. Haven't been there since the change.

                                                                              Compensations: this is a garden-savvy town with a contingent of retired professors who have taken up farming with great dedication. There are a couple of active local sustainability groups; one has gotten farmers to grow grain in the county for the first time since 1969. The farmers' market is the highlight of my week - we buy local goat cheese, odd herbs like purslane, and superb heirloom produce, often at prices only a little higher than the supermarkets. The local high school has a community garden. There's a gardening group that gives away edible plants every year. Gardening is the main topic of conversation at the farmers' market (a tip from a local grower saved our pepper crop this year).

                                                                              And for some reason, even supermarket vegetables taste better up here. Well, except the tomatoes of course.

                                                                              So, yeah, you win some, you lose some.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: gentlyferal

                                                                                Would love to hear your pepper tip here or on gardening board. Our peppers have something eating them from the inside out.

                                                                                1. re: amyzan

                                                                                  Are you getting beige thin spots in the flesh, mostly near the blossom end? Everybody will tell you it's "blossom end rot" due to overwatering, but no. It's a calcium deficiency. Garden stores have calcium supplements for plants - just buy and use as directed. Haven't had a single beige spot this year -- whereas last year we had those spots on ALL our peppers and didn't get to eat a single one.

                                                                                  1. re: gentlyferal

                                                                                    Thanks so much. That's it exactly, and nothing I'd tried was solving the problem. We grow organically, with lots of compost, but obviously the peppers needed something else. Calcium! Thanks again.

                                                                                2. re: gentlyferal

                                                                                  Sprout your own bean sprouts! If you have even the tiniest plot of land, or a big planter on a balcony, those Asian cruciferous vegetables are very easy to grow.

                                                                                3. Lordy, I live in western South Dakota, so there's TONS I can't get. Here's only the short list:

                                                                                  ANY kind of fresh seafood
                                                                                  Most frozen seafood (groceries only carry frozen shrimp/crab/lobster, and that's about it)
                                                                                  Peppers and a variety of tomatoes (groceries carry red-green-yellow peppers and jalepeno)
                                                                                  Trader Joes
                                                                                  Whole Foods
                                                                                  Aldi's (or ANY discount grocery)

                                                                                  If anyone reading this wants to get into the gourmet grocery business, please move here and open one!

                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: natewrites

                                                                                    I remember walking into a grocery store in Custer 10 years ago to get groceries for the dinner my husband and I wanted to make for our hosts. We went through the whole store and had to change our plans radically - there was nothing to buy!

                                                                                    Thankfully over the last few years it seems to have gotten better (at least in Custer), the produce seemed much, much fresher and varied when we visited this summer (but, still, thank god for the guy selling Iowa sweet corn out of the back of his pick-up at the True Value).

                                                                                    1. re: sebetti

                                                                                      Summer is easy to get produce but come back in the winter when all the produce looks horrible like last stop on the truck bad. The produce guy at the market told me that he was embarrassed to put some stuff out. Green beans would look like raisin and other leafy vege were dried and withered out. Last year when we lived in NE Wyoming I started buying frozen vegetables just to cope.

                                                                                      1. re: septocaine_queen

                                                                                        It's nice to know my assessment of the grocers here isn't alone. I'm VERY surprised an "Aldi's" or Trader Joe's or even a simple Whole Foods has not got their acts together and opened here. They'd pretty much take over and make huge profits. What with the large air force base here and two colleges, there is A NEED for this.

                                                                                        1. re: natewrites

                                                                                          there's actually a page on Whole Foods' website where you can send an e-mail request for a new store location. the more people that do it, the more likely they are to listen...


                                                                                            1. re: natewrites

                                                                                              you're quite welcome! i hope they respond to your plea :)

                                                                                              1. re: natewrites

                                                                                                I don't know if we will ever see a Whole Foods or Trader Joes in the Black Hills esp Rapid City. The demographics aren't there. Whole Foods likes certain incomes and or college towns hence the nearest WF is Fort Collins or Omaha which are college towns. Same as Trader Joes.

                                                                                      2. re: natewrites

                                                                                        I'm always surprised by the lack of good seafood inland. In coastal cities, almost all (all?) fish is pre-frozen, so it's not like it would be hard to get good fish to South Dakota. The truth is, the vast majority of inland populations have never had good fish, so aren't willing to pay a premium for it. And it becomes a chicken and egg problem. No store will carry it until consumers are willing to pay for it. Consumers aren't willing to pay for it, because they've never had it and don't know that it's worth it.

                                                                                        Very sad, but repeated across the U.S. and Canada in inland towns and cities.

                                                                                        1. re: Indirect Heat

                                                                                          This has been my experience too. I spent 11 years further inland and was frustrated beyond belief with the lack of acceptable seafood. I am so much happier being in an area which has good fish markets!

                                                                                      3. the real-deal sourdough bread

                                                                                        1. Another one from New Haven??? You prefer Pepe's to Cappy's or Farrell's on Dixwell??

                                                                                          1. Dry cottage cheese curds. I've never seen it in any city I've lived in in the U.S. Baltimore, Houston, San Diego. It's easily available in several parts of Canada.

                                                                                            1. i miss not being able to go to a grocery store and have any selection fo craft beer.

                                                                                              1. in rural US it's miso paste, when I found this vile instant miso and udon soup I broke down and bought it...I'll wait until the next visit into the 'big' city. y'know tofu doesn't really freeze dry well. even after longer than recommended soaking still had the texture of "astronaut ice cream"

                                                                                                1. I spent many years in Fl. and miss real Cuban bread, smoked mullet, Minorcan chowder and Datil peppers. I also miss friends being so overwhelmed with the bounty of their trees that there would be huge bags of citrus, banana and papaya on the doorstep when you arrived home from work!

                                                                                                  1. When I went to school in southern Ohio, I couldn't wait for my parents to visit because they brought Tasty Cakes--butterscotch krimpets, peanut butter candy cakes, chocolate juniors. My roomates and friends were just as happy to see them. Nothing like packaged cupcakes made with real butter, eggs, milk, etc. The poor non-Philadelphians thought all packaged cupcakes were like Twinkies or Little Debbies--all chemicals and processed ingredients.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                      have you read a Tastykakes label lately?

                                                                                                      Butterscotch Krimpets: Sugar, Bleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate-B1, Riboflavin-B2, Folic Acid), Water, Eggs, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening (Canola, Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oils), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Butter Skim Milk, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate), Whey (Milk), Tapioca Flour, Salt, Isolated Soy Protein, Mono and Diglycerides, Food Starch-Modified Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Pectin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sorbic Acid (to Preserve Freshness), Propylene Glycol Monostearate, Citric Acid, Nutmeg.

                                                                                                      so much for the good old days.

                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                        Wow, don't think I've had a Tastycake in decades . . . very disappointing. I guess to market to a wider geography, they went to a wider array of chemicals.

                                                                                                        sigh . . . .the good old days.

                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                          In the good old days, the ingredient list would have been much shorter. Sugar, not corn syrup and HFCS, lard and not the parially hydogenated veg shortening. Most of the stabilizers would not be there, as the item was in local distribution only.

                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                            In the good old days, tastykake ingredient list read more like a home made recipe, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, etc... I don't eat things that have ingredients I can't pronounce anymore so TastyKakes' are sadly off my list

                                                                                                      2. I rather desperately miss Italian beef sandwiches from Chicago. Grew up eating them in all their drippy, spicy, beefy glory and had no idea that is was such a local food. The Toronto food scene has its own charms, but damn, I miss those sandwiches.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                          Hey TorontoJo...I saw this stuff in a grocery store and bought a pack but have yet to try it. I wonder how authentic it is.


                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                            Nice! I doubt it's available in Canada, though. :( Even if they shipped here, I don't think I could replicate the whole experience: the perfect chewy bun, the thinly shaved beef, etc.

                                                                                                        2. Hebew National Beef Salami. I drive far to buy some and it's annoying.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. I miss just about anything you can find in NYC down here in Triangle area of NC. I guess I'm looking for more along the lines of good Kosher Deli or good bake shops (Italian/French) though I know I'm not the only one.

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                              So agree, Burge... I live in Wasp New England Hell where the tastebuds are numbed by alcohol. Opps, did I say that? Oh yes I did...

                                                                                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                                                                I have this dream of opening something along the lines of a good Italian Deli, GOOD Pizzeria or something along those lines down in the Carolinas... it's hard for me to believe that you just don't have anything like that.

                                                                                                                1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                  Not in my area. As far as Pizzerias I'm not going to comment. It is like burger joints.. everyone has their own favorite or ones they prefer better than others.. but there isn't like a Daniel's or even Co. here in the Triangle. I can't speak for the whole state. There are some decent Italian Deli in the state, but again not in the Triangle area to my knowledge. There definitely isn't say.. a Russ and Daughters or a good NY (like) Delicatessen. I'm talking one that does their own meat and had good rye. or great bagels. There are some places that do alright and are better than the competition though.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                    Giacomo's in Greensboro is a very good Italian Deli. They cure their own meats. Worth a drive from where ever you are in the Carolinas.


                                                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                      Yes that I know but keeping it in the Triangle I'm not familiar with any (meaning I"ve not visited any). Giacomo's I've done though they were super slow with a bulk order.

                                                                                                                2. I have yet to get an espresso anywhere in Southeast PA like I had in Italy.

                                                                                                                  It was amazing that even in gas stations and the air port, the espresso was... perfect with that beautiful crema on top...

                                                                                                                  every espresso I've had ever since has paled in comparison.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                    a good espresso is hard to come by, even in europe.

                                                                                                                  2. UTZ chips
                                                                                                                    old-school Chinese pastries, the kind sold at places like Ho Yuen in Boston
                                                                                                                    flavored seltzer
                                                                                                                    good quality Asian vegetables
                                                                                                                    stinky cheeses of the soft, runny variety
                                                                                                                    Goya products