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Regional specialties that really aren't (anymore)

hyperbowler Jun 11, 2013 05:52 PM

What are some "regional specialties" that visitors to your area bring up, but which were never a local favorite, are now mostly served to tourists, or are so globalized that they're no better at Denny's than in their region for which they're sought after?

As some examples, if you believed advertising, you'd think that Rice-a-Roni was served at every San Francisco restaurant (it was invented here for mass production, but never a local speciality). Likewise, it's common for visitors to grab the first sourdough they see, not realizing that the modal sourdough bread isn't any better than what they can get at Panera back home. There's also the pervasive "clam chowder in a breadbowl" concept, which was never a local specialty outside of tourist spots (e.g., see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892982 ).

I'd like to pre-empt my question by asking that this not become a "they don't make 'em like they used to" discussion about local specialties that have changed but which still are better than those found elsewhere. For example, lots of NY'ers complain about the decline in bagel quality, but realistically, even a low-tier NY bagel is still leagues above the top bagels in most other places in the US.

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  1. Will Owen Jun 11, 2013 06:10 PM

    Rice-A-Roni is just a dumbed-down and boxed knockoff of the Armenian pilaf my ex-wife's grandma taught her to make, which she then passed onto me. There was a lot of snorting around the living room when that commercial came on.

    I think a lot of "regional" items have been co-opted by the food processors, and too often not to the item's benefit. That extends even to ingredients: when Smucker's bought the White Lily brand and assets, they took a flour that had been made in just one mill, from wheat grown by carefully selected farmers, and they shut down the Knoxville mill, moved production to Memphis, and started buying wheat from anyone who grew the low-protein soft variety. And since their lab tests can't tell any difference, they claim - erroneously - that there isn't any.

    Aside from that, you know the commonalization of our foods really started with commerce itself, followed by preservation methods, all the way up to canning, vacuum-packing and freezing. My family's typically Midwestern fare got its Italian additions from Chef Boy-Ar-Dee and its Chinese from Chung King. And the beat goes on.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen
      hyperbowler Jun 12, 2013 08:10 AM

      Thanks for the insights. Food processors and the spread of people/recipes have certainly globalized food. But there still are foods that have stayed regionally superior owing to access to certain fresh ingredients, lack of global interest, or competition.

      1. re: hyperbowler
        paulj Jun 12, 2013 09:35 AM

        "Planet Taco" shows how Americans, and corporations in particular, spread Mexican food around the globe. And going back to 1900, canners, including Chicago meat packers, spread chili con carne, tamales, and tortillas (yes, canned tortillas) outside of enclaves like San Antonio and Los Angeles.

        Traditional Mexican cooking requires skilled labor. A lot of knowledge and skill goes into making the most basic item, the corn tortilla. Prefried taco shells were developed as a way of making a product that could be assembled by unskilled labor or home cooks, and had a long shelf life. Masa harina (tortilla flour) was another method of reducing the labor requirements.

        1. re: paulj
          BuildingMyBento Jun 13, 2013 09:50 AM

          I hardly think Mexican food has become a mainstay around the world. In the US, particularly over the past handful of years, yes, but the demographics of many cities and towns are changing too.

          OTOH, during previous ambles through various East Asian supermarkets specializing in imported foods, I've noticed canned beans, peppers and a few other Mexican products (that were also produced in Mexico). Restaurants are few and far between (though Bangkok has a small chain of generic taco/fajita eateries), but who knows what will open next.


          1. re: BuildingMyBento
            paulj Jun 13, 2013 12:25 PM

            Never heard of Tacofredag, Taco Friday? Apparently tacos (more of the taco-bell variety) have become common Friday evening fare in Norway.

            I didn't write that it Mexican, or Mexican-American, food is a mainstray around the globe, but that it has spread, in one form or other, around the globe. And in contrast to cuisines that spread via immigrants, this spread was more American and corporate.

            There is another thread about chilli competition in the UK.

      2. re: Will Owen
        Uncle Bob Jun 20, 2013 02:11 PM

        The J.M. Smucker Company purchased the White Lily brand from C.H. Guenther & Sons and that transaction did not include the Knoxville milling facility/plant. The C.H. Guenther & Sons Inc made the decision/chose to close that facility. Not Smucker.

        Initially Smucker’s moved production of White Lily to a premier milling operation. A fifth generation family owned milling operation in Ohio that had served as a secondary miller of White Lily for many, many generations. Some production also went to a previously Smucker owned plant in Toledo Ohio.

        There is no flour mill in Memphis. ~ Memphis is a large distribution facility as well as a jelly, ice cream topping etc. production line last time I checked.

        1. re: Uncle Bob
          paulj Jun 20, 2013 03:00 PM

          Same White Lily story with some links

      3. Candy Jun 12, 2013 12:18 AM

        Being an Air Force kid I was introduced to many regional specialties. #1 in Savannah/Albany Ga. it was Georgia BBQ. It was not the gloppy sweet stuff.It is also where I first had pizza.It had lived in Japan and pizza. I had lived in Japan in the late 50's and mid-60's and the Officer's Club was really into being delivered flaming sirloin kebabs. Wen we were transferred to Northern NY state, Plattsburgh, we fell in love with the Michigan Hot Dog also labeled Red Hots. It is indigenous to that area to that area. and area. You might find a place Burlington, Vt.and I knew of a place in Montreal. But it was indigenous to that place in Clinton County NY. Luckily I married a local and we go back as often as we can. The first stop we make is always for a Michigan, also called a Red Hot, and then we eat our fill when when in the area.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Candy
          hyperbowler Jun 12, 2013 07:54 AM

          Assuming they're the same thing, I'm remembering red hots and white hots from my time in Rochester. Their presence on a garbage/sloppy plate is something definitely a regional specialty!

        2. RealMenJulienne Jun 12, 2013 07:31 AM

          I think that Philly cheesesteak is no longer a regional specialty, seeing as you can get one (albeit usually a lousy one) in almost every chain sub shop, as well as on top of pizza and inside calzones from coast to coast.

          12 Replies
          1. re: RealMenJulienne
            hyperbowler Jun 12, 2013 07:57 AM

            Good to know. So there's nothing even special about the bread? I've found that a few regional specialty sandwiches are unique if only because their type of bread isn't found elsewhere (Dutch crunch in SF/northern California, breakfast sandwiches and heroes in the northeast, po-boys)

            1. re: hyperbowler
              Will Owen Jun 12, 2013 11:03 AM

              One or two of the Philly cheese-steak outfits here in SoCal are importing the Amoroso rolls from Philadelphia (a mixed blessing). Some lobster-roll vendors here are also getting the proper top-split buns.

              1. re: hyperbowler
                RealMenJulienne Jun 13, 2013 08:40 AM

                Well no, cheesesteaks in Philly are made on a good crusty roll from Amaroso, so the bread is special. And I'm not saying that the real-deal sandwich in its hometown is no good. It's more that the term "philly cheesesteak" has almost come to mean a generic flavor of something, like "cajun" or "tuscan". I've seen philly style burgers, pizza, calzones, burritos, etc. The term is overused so it's kind of meaningless now.

                1. re: RealMenJulienne
                  hotoynoodle Jun 13, 2013 08:59 AM

                  gah! tuscan. i saw some DOG FOOD commercial for "new" flavors, one of which was tuscan something-or-other. really? DOG FOOD? mebbe cuz you can't bring your dog to olive garden for their "tuscan" bread stix?

                  have seen philly cheese steak egg rolls and spring rolls.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                    alliegator Jun 14, 2013 09:50 AM

                    I saw the Tuscan dog food the other day while buying normal dog food. I had a visual of my dog looking up and me and saying "Hey, thanks, lady. I feel transported to sunny Tuscany."

                  2. re: RealMenJulienne
                    caganer Jun 18, 2013 01:47 PM

                    Actually Amoroso rolls are not at all important (or very good). Here's a breakdown of who uses what:
                    John's Roast Pork - Carangi
                    Steve's Prince o Steaks - Vilotti-Pisanelli
                    Chink's Steaks - Liscio's rolls
                    Cosmi's Deli -- D’Ambrosio’s
                    Tony Luke's -- Liscio's
                    Geno's Steaks - Amoroso
                    Pat's King o Steaks - Vilotti-Pisanelli

                    1. re: caganer
                      monavano Jun 18, 2013 02:23 PM

                      So agree. I associate Amoroso rolls with WaWa, which is fine, but there is some good bread, better bread, in the area that lift the sandwiches to another level.
                      You need the right roll for the right sandwich.
                      Carangi and Dante's are my faves, next is Liscio's.

                2. re: RealMenJulienne
                  mpjmph Jun 12, 2013 07:40 PM

                  From my experience in Philadelphia, roast pork and greens sandwiches are what the locals really eat.

                  1. re: mpjmph
                    monavano Jun 14, 2013 04:53 AM

                    x about 20 years now. Great sandwich.
                    Funny story (am from Philly). I was back home visiting in Philly and having breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market when i spied Adam Richman (man vs. food). He was scoping out RTM with production and I asked if he was going to feature the roast pork sandwich since he was at DiNic's. He'd never heard of it.
                    Well, long story short, that sandwich won his best sandwich in America competition and the lines have been insane ever since when.

                    1. re: monavano
                      mpjmph Jun 14, 2013 12:56 PM

                      Yep. I'm solidly Southern, but my parents moved to Delaware a few years ago. My mom and I like to take day trips to Philly for lunch and shopping. We went to DiNic's and were planning to get steak sandwiches. We started chatting with an older lady in line, and she convinced us to have the pork and greens. Amazing.

                  2. re: RealMenJulienne
                    aynrandgirl Jun 13, 2013 03:09 PM

                    Lots places don't use ribeye steak as the meat in their cheesesteaks. That's oh so wrong.

                    1. re: RealMenJulienne
                      prima Jun 25, 2013 09:33 AM

                      I think the Philly cheesesteaks still taste best in Philly, even if many of the locals aren't eating them, so I'd still consider them a regional specialty even if they're on menus nationwide. I can only remember having one tasty cheesesteak outside of Philly that tasted as good as the ones I've ordered in Philly.

                    2. p
                      pine time Jun 12, 2013 09:41 AM

                      Grew up in the south, so it's biscuits and sausage gravy to me. Seeing gloppy beige gravy over no-better-than-Grands biscuits makes me weep.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: pine time
                        RealMenJulienne Jun 13, 2013 08:49 AM

                        Just curious pine time, what do you think of Hardee's biscuits? I'm not a southerner but I've never had a better biscuit anywhere. I plug them every chance I get.

                        1. re: RealMenJulienne
                          pine time Jun 13, 2013 11:18 AM

                          I live in SoCal, and there are no Hardee's here. I've heard that our Carl's Jr. is a "cousin" of Hardee's, but not quite the same (and Carl's serves biscuits--I've not had them, though). So, can't comment. Had a relative who worked at a Hardee's in TN, and while her own scratch biscuits were wonderful, she raved about the Hardee's mixes--but since the mix came pre-made, she never learned their secrets. Best biscuits I ever ate (well, other than grandma's) was at a little no-name place in Pigeon Forge, TN, outside of the Smokey Mts., but then it got discovered and ruined.
                          I make a mean piecrust, but have never made biscuits to my satisfaction. Whenever I get back to KY and TN, I bring home multiple bags of White Lily flour. I can make decent biscuits with that, but not stellar.

                          1. re: pine time
                            Kalivs Jun 20, 2013 03:31 PM

                            Pine time,
                            Where do you go to get biscuits & gravy in SoCal?

                            1. re: Kalivs
                              pine time Jun 21, 2013 02:07 PM

                              We've tried most of the chains that advertise biscuits and gravy, as well as lots of Mom and Pops. Do you have a decent source??

                              1. re: pine time
                                mudcat Jul 15, 2013 04:48 AM

                                I an still looking for "The" biscuit and gravy eatery in my area. When I think I may have found it, the cook departs or the joint closes or they change the sausage they use, whatever. I avoid all chains and concentrate on Mom and Pop places and a couple Convenience stores. When I am not on the road I make my own. In a hurry, Libby's Sausage and Gravy is pretty good albeit on the salty side. I doctor it with a little whole milk and butter. It satisfies.

                          2. re: RealMenJulienne
                            NonnieMuss Jun 14, 2013 02:42 PM

                            As a border-line Southerner, we have terrible Hardee's in our town. The biscuits are heavy and salty. But once I went to a Hardee's in Montgomery, Alabama and it was one of the best things I ever ate.

                        2. juliejulez Jun 12, 2013 10:48 AM

                          Poutine might be one. While it's hard to find legit Poutine outside of Canada, lots of places are trying to make it now. I actually just saw this today... Pizza Hut (in Canada) making a beef poutine pizza http://eater.com/archives/2013/06/12/...

                          30 Replies
                          1. re: juliejulez
                            hotoynoodle Jun 12, 2013 03:03 PM

                            here in new england, poutine has become a darling item for gastro-pub type places, with many of them making their own cheese curds.

                            meh. it's late-night drunk food, not something i want topped with foie-gras or lobster.

                            speaking of... when mcdonald's and subway started serving lobster rolls a small piece of me died.

                            also: buffalo wings.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                              juliejulez Jun 12, 2013 03:58 PM

                              Haha yeah our hockey bar we go to here in CO has a bastardized version of poutine... just regular cheese, no cheese curds. It's still good with beer though.

                              1. re: juliejulez
                                paulj Jun 12, 2013 04:22 PM

                                That's saying something (bastardized) considering how high class poutine is in the first place!

                                1. re: paulj
                                  juliejulez Jun 12, 2013 08:16 PM

                                  Ha... but that is an appropriate description for this.... it's just shredded cheese that gets melted along with what I'm guessing is canned beef gravy.

                                  Euclid Hall, which is a "foodie" restaurant here in Denver has a few poutines... the first two sound pretty good to me. What is adolescent celery? haha:

                                  Wild Mushroom, porcini gravy, hand-cut fries, cheddar curds 9.00

                                  Carnitas Papas Fritas, tomatillo green chile, cheddar curds and goat cheese, cilantro, chile lime fries 12.50

                                  Chowda’ Fries, New England-style clam chowder, fried clam strips, adolescent celery 13.00

                                  1. re: juliejulez
                                    hyperbowler Jun 12, 2013 08:45 PM

                                    Is "adolescent celery" celery that's acting fresh?

                                    1. re: juliejulez
                                      paulj Jun 12, 2013 09:41 PM

                                      Poutines - our tributes to the Canadian classic – loosely adapted

                                      or how about this:
                                      Broccoli and Cheese Spaetzle, white cheddar spaetzle, broccoli, cheddar whiz

                                      Upgrade any sausage to a Currywurst and we’ll add Ginger Apricot Tomato sauce and a toasted Bretzel

                                      1. re: paulj
                                        hotoynoodle Jun 13, 2013 05:53 AM

                                        against my better judgement, i clicked on the link.

                                        first item and i had a"stop right there" moment:

                                        "Simple Salad, organic baby heads... "


                                        is this restaurant in williamsburg?

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                          juliejulez Jun 13, 2013 09:30 AM

                                          Right here in Denver... the executive chef is Jennifer Jasinski, who is will be on this next season of Top Chef Masters (she has other restaurants too, Rioja and Bistro Vendome which are decidedly less hipstery and considered some of the best restaurants here). But, if you watched this past season of Top Chef, her chef de cuisine, Jorel Pierce, was on it, he was one of the guys w/ the goofy hipster mustache and was eliminated quite early. http://blogs.denverpost.com/ostrow/20...

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                                            Tara57 Jun 14, 2013 12:03 PM

                                            What do they do with the rest of the organic babies?

                                            1. re: Tara57
                                              hotoynoodle Jun 15, 2013 07:51 AM

                                              EXACTLY!! and what sized heads? we talking brussels sprout-sized or softball-sized?

                                  2. re: hotoynoodle
                                    hyperbowler Jun 12, 2013 06:10 PM

                                    It's awesome to hear that poutine has descended across the border over there. SF's poutine attempts are all gourmetish, and aren't even as good as the MSG-laded low-tier places of Montreal.

                                    I had a McLobster about 25 years ago, but didn't realize that Subway was doing that now too. The key to lobster roll's seems to be the roll, which is quite rare, but obtainable elsewhere in the US. Even New England places that don't use a vertically sliced roll suffer in quality.

                                    Buffalo Wings are a good example, especially since the original recipe is well known and easy to make at home.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                      eLizard Jun 18, 2013 01:29 PM

                                      don't forget panera and d'angelos (which incidentally enough, is a regional darling to some)

                                    2. re: juliejulez
                                      alliegator Jun 14, 2013 09:55 AM

                                      The Butter Chicken one that PH Canada is also doing is definitely something I would give a try.

                                      1. re: juliejulez
                                        dave_c Jun 19, 2013 01:48 PM

                                        The Costco in Richmond BC serves Poutine. A couple Canadian friends claim only real Poutine can be found in Quebec. Anywhere else is just a bastardization.

                                        1. re: juliejulez
                                          almond tree Jun 20, 2013 11:48 AM

                                          It's been a year or 2 since I heard that poutine had become trendy and I'm still in shock.
                                          I grew up in Montreal and to me, elevating poutine to cult status is like glorifying, say, Wonderbread spread with margarine. Cheap and filling but not something that people say breathlessly of: "Oh, I've always wanted to try it."
                                          Colline de bines ... poutine!

                                          1. re: almond tree
                                            hyperbowler Jun 20, 2013 11:59 AM

                                            Despite their gourmet status and expense in the states, it's funny to thing that izakaya, tapas, and poutine are essentially the buffalo wings and french fries of their native places.

                                            1. re: almond tree
                                              BuildingMyBento Jun 24, 2013 08:44 AM

                                              Not sure. I've always wanted to try poutine, because there's no other food that came to mind when thinking of Canada. Actually, there are a few (Tim Horton's, Coffee Crisp, dim sum, and horse...what a team), but the description of poutine made it stand out. I finally tried it in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and know that for the next time, have an avocado ready to sacrifice itself.


                                              1. re: BuildingMyBento
                                                hotoynoodle Jun 24, 2013 08:50 AM

                                                erm, dim dum is not canadian...

                                                1. re: BuildingMyBento
                                                  prima Jun 25, 2013 09:38 AM

                                                  I'm surprised you'd list horse as a food that would come to mind when thinking of Canada. Not too many Canadians like to eat horses. Horsemeat is more popular in France or Russia. I'm pretty sure I read that Russia is the country that buys and eats the most Canadian horsemeat.

                                                  1. re: prima
                                                    kpaxonite Jul 15, 2013 02:32 AM

                                                    its at every large grocery store in montreal... people definitely eat it

                                                    no clue about the dim sum-canadian connections or the avocado comment tho..

                                                    1. re: kpaxonite
                                                      prima Jul 15, 2013 07:22 AM

                                                      Horsemeat might be found in every large grocery store in Montreal, but I've never seen horsemeat at any large grocery stores in Ontario, Saskatchewan or Alberta. There are only around a half dozen restaurants in Toronto that serve horsemeat, and I've rarely seen it on menus in other parts of Ontario. I haven't done much grocery shopping in the other 6 provinces, but I haven't noticed horse on too many menus in BC, Manitoba or the Maritimes.

                                                      I'm not surprised horsemeat is more common in a city like Montreal,taking into consideration that horsemeat is quite popular in other parts of the Francophonie.

                                                      Even if you can find horsemeat in large grocery stores in Montreal, I wouldn't consider horsemeat to be a popular food for Canadians in general, or a typically Canadian food.

                                                      1. re: prima
                                                        kpaxonite Jul 15, 2013 08:44 AM

                                                        True I dont consider it typically Canadian either, I just figure if it widely available it must be because someone is buying it.

                                                        I think Bento might just know that it is legal here and since it is not in the US, that in itself might make it appealing.

                                                2. re: almond tree
                                                  NonnieMuss Jun 24, 2013 12:47 PM

                                                  Kind of like how PBR got all trendy and cool a couple years ago?

                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                    almond tree Jun 24, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                    Don't know about that trend. In fact I had to google PBR :).
                                                    But maybe like shakshuka in the Middle East (where I moved to from Montreal). That's a hot dish of eggs baked in tomato sauce which has become very faddish in certain circles with dedicated restaurants etc.
                                                    I spent 5 weeks in the hospital years ago and they served shakshuka for supper EVERY SINGLE DAY before it was cool -- because it's cheap and filling I guess. I might be willing to eat shakshuka again, but there's no way in the world I would pay for the experience.

                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                      mpjmph Jun 25, 2013 10:14 AM

                                                      I live in a college town, and took my mom out to dinner a few months ago. The restaurant had PBR "on special" for $5/can. My mom was stunned that 1) people still drink it and 2) anyone would pay more than $1 for a can, even at a restaurant.

                                                      1. re: mpjmph
                                                        monavano Jul 15, 2013 04:19 AM

                                                        $5 a can is highway robbery! Shameful.
                                                        I think I remember kegs being around $20-$25 back in the day.

                                                  2. re: juliejulez
                                                    Bob W Jun 25, 2013 07:13 AM

                                                    Non-gourmet Poutine can be had in Dania, FL (big Quebecois vacation spot):


                                                    1. re: Bob W
                                                      almond tree Jun 25, 2013 09:13 AM

                                                      That "an hard boiled egg" is proof of their Quebecois origins. That and the fact that they have pogos on the menu.
                                                      Wonder if pogos will ever achieve the fame that poutine has?

                                                      1. re: almond tree
                                                        Bob W Jun 25, 2013 11:31 AM

                                                        Is a pogo like an American corn dog, which got some fame during the 2011-2 campaigns?


                                                      2. re: Bob W
                                                        aynrandgirl Jun 25, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                        There's a "Canadian" burger joint up the road on US1 in Ft. Lauderdale, across the street from a Russian deli/grocery store, that serves poutine.

                                                    2. ipsedixit Jun 12, 2013 09:03 PM

                                                      Clam Chowder (NE and Manhattan style)

                                                      Boston Cream Pie

                                                      Whoopie Pies

                                                      Cobb Salad

                                                      California rolls

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        eLizard Jun 18, 2013 01:30 PM

                                                        good clam chowder, not the gluey stuff is a thing people take pride in. and you forgot rhode island style......

                                                        my son calls whoopie pies "wookie pies" aprospos of nothing, but cute, i think.

                                                      2. NonnieMuss Jun 13, 2013 08:40 AM

                                                        I'd say lots of Louisiana dishes - gumbo, jambalaya, etc. While there's not, like, a McGumbo's yet, my little city has three independent places that serve anywhere from meh to great Cajun food.

                                                        1. l
                                                          laliz Jun 13, 2013 10:07 AM

                                                          Have to LOL about Philly cheesesteak. I grew up in NW PA about as far from Philly as one can get and still be in the same state.
                                                          We knew Primantis from Pittsburgh, but never knew Philly Cheesesteak.

                                                          I live in So California and just because I grew up in PA someone I work with was astonished to hear that I don't get cheesesteak when I go to PA. I tried to explain that its regional, but that is not registering with her.

                                                          Kind of like when Sarah Palin landed in Erie PA (where I'm from) during her failed campaign. She said it was "great to be here in the state of the baseball world series champs" (the Phillies had won the world series). People in Erie are Pirates fans or Indians fans. What Phillies?

                                                          It woudl be the same as landing in L.A. where I live now and congratulating a world of Angel and Dodger fans because the (hated ones) SF Giants won the world series.

                                                          Regional folks. Regional.

                                                          1. a
                                                            aynrandgirl Jun 13, 2013 03:18 PM

                                                            I've found that sourdough bread made outside the SF Bay Area just isn't that good, probably owing to the fact that the bakers just don't have the combination of yeast variety, humidity, airborne yeast nutrients, and other factors unique to that region. SF Bay Area sourdough is notably stronger than sourdoughs I've had made from elsewhere, which tend to have very weak flavor.

                                                            Rather annoyingly, there's a brand of sourdough bread calling itself "California Goldminer" that's manufactured in Illinois. Lame stuff.

                                                            1. Karl S Jun 14, 2013 04:32 PM

                                                              New England clam chowder mostly qualifies: it's difficult to find one in a restaurant that's not thickened with roux or cornstarch (an adaptation for trade service that keeps a delicate soup from curdling), though there are surprising exceptions that tourists will think are simply bad because they don't know the real thing.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Karl S
                                                                eLizard Jun 18, 2013 01:34 PM

                                                                exactly. one someone would say "it's so thick you a spoon would stand up in it" my grandfather would go berserk. he'd say "you can stick a spoon is a pile of $#!t, but that doesn't make it good."

                                                                i hate that gluey stuff

                                                                1. re: eLizard
                                                                  Karl S Jun 18, 2013 02:18 PM

                                                                  I live in infamy among my friends for an incident at the Lobster Pot in Provincetown, where I received a chowder so thick it formed soft peaks (I am not kidding). When the server asked why I wasn't eating it, I said it was far to thick and inedible (to the horror of my dining compansions); the server didn't bat an eye, and said their customers preferred it that way. (Shudder.)

                                                                  1. re: Karl S
                                                                    eLizard Jun 19, 2013 06:03 AM

                                                                    i went there. exactly once. meh.

                                                                2. re: Karl S
                                                                  paulj Jun 19, 2013 12:54 PM

                                                                  Are you talking about chowder elsewhere, or in the heart of New England. I've gotten the impression from other threads that the only place to find 'real' thin chowder is in the homes of Maine fishermen.

                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                    Karl S Jun 19, 2013 02:49 PM

                                                                    Even in New England, it's the common expectation among restaurant patrons is that thick=good. There are places that don't meet the expectation, but they are uncommon.

                                                                3. i
                                                                  INDIANRIVERFL Jun 19, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                                  Regional specialties now global blah.

                                                                  Southern fried chicken. Cooked in a cast iron pan with lard or bacon grease. The Colonel has made it go global. With local adaptations. Like kimchi in Korea or beer in Germany.

                                                                  The American diner hamburger. Individually made and cooked on a flat top. The golden arches is conquering the world.

                                                                  Cooking with wine and sauces. French haute cuisine is still the gold standard for restaurants world wide. Thank you Catherine de Medici and Escoffier. Not to mention Julia and Jacques.

                                                                  Fish and chips. Cheep white fleshed battered fish deep fried in neutral oil with chunks of potato. A rendition of this can be found from the Friday fish fries in Wisconsin to little stands in the Greek islands. Samos for me. The condiments, if any, can still be regional.

                                                                  When Taco Bell reaches Perth Australia and New Delhi via Nairobi, then I will agree with Mexican.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                                    paulj Jun 19, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                                    not quite Taco Bell, but there are Mexican restaurants in Perth

                                                                    7 Perth Mexican restaurants in 7 days.

                                                                    Sanchos in New Delhi
                                                                    " It was like being in an east coast city Tex-Mex restaurant in the States."

                                                                  2. c
                                                                    chileheadmike Jun 20, 2013 11:01 AM

                                                                    Burnt Ends from Kansas City. I'm sure they will show up on a Subway sandwich next week.

                                                                    1. prima Jun 25, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                      (edit- sorry, I didn't read the poutine discussion above)
                                                                      Poutine. 25 years ago, poutine was something that was hard to find outside of Quebec, and there seemed to be only a few restaurants in Toronto that served it. It was a novelty, but it never seemed to taste quite as good as the real deal in Quebec.

                                                                      By 2000, it seemed poutine could be found at Canadian outposts of big chain fast food, in food courts across Canada, and upscale versions popped up on a lot of menus in Toronto and beyond. Now, poutine can be found pretty much everywhere. I know it's on some menus in LA. I still think the poutine at ski resort cafeteria, made with brown gravy, frozen shoestring fries and cheese curds, tastes like the real deal, and better than any food court or upscale version.

                                                                      Fish tacos are now found all over North America, but I'd take the fish tacos found in Santa Barbara, Morro Bay and other parts of Southern CA over what passes as a fish taco in Toronto, any day.

                                                                      Re: Fish & Chips.
                                                                      Sure, fish & chips are found in fish & chips take-out shops, and on every Irish or English pub menu from Miami to Yellowknife, but I'd still consider the fish & chips in Halifax, Cornwall and Devonshire, to be regional specialties. Their fish & chips are so much better than anything else I've ordered elsewhere.

                                                                      There are certain regional specialties I don't bother ordering when I see them outside their region, because I always end up underwhelmed. I only order lobster rolls when I'm in the Maritimes or New England, and mostly order crab cakes when I'm near the Outerbanks (edit: I'd order them if I was in DC, Virginia, Maryland, etc, but I haven't had too many opportunities to visit the other States that do crabcakes well in the last decade).

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: prima
                                                                        Bob W Jun 25, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                                        "There are certain regional specialties I don't bother ordering when I see them outside their region, because I always end up underwhelmed. I only order lobster rolls when I'm in the Maritimes or New England, and mostly order crab cakes when I'm near the Outerbanks."

                                                                        +1 for this, generally, but if you want good crab cakes you must come to the Mid-Atlantic, AKA The DMV, AKA The Land of Pleasant Living. Crab cakes down here are made with blue crabmeat, as they should be.

                                                                        I will say, though, that we discovered Maine crabmeat rolls last summer, and they are not bad at all as a less-expensive alternative to lobster rolls.

                                                                        1. re: prima
                                                                          melpy Jul 15, 2013 04:17 AM

                                                                          Should listen to that inner monologue that warned me against the lobster rolls in Central PA this weekend. Just awful although they did have a top split roll.

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