I love to eat. I love to eat well.
I love America. One thing I have always shrived to do when driving distances is finding a mom-and-pop diner or even just a hole in the wall place to eat, instead of a Burger King. The best Pot Roast I have ever had did not come from my mom’s kitchen, or any relative, but a dirty spoon somewhere in Georgia that I couldn’t find if my life depended on it and I had a platoon of Army Scouts helping me.
So when USA Today put out a list of
BEST ICONIC AMERICAN FOODS
I got all kinds of excited. I was hoping this could fill in the blanks for some road eating.
Note: I take this to mean, if you want good (insert food) you gotta goto (insert city)
So grab a sheet of paper (or open notepad, you lazy Gen-Xers) and list me the cities you think of and its Iconic food.
I asked my wife to do that as we drove back from a family reunion, as well as my oldest daughter. My statement was think of a food and place that just fit together as the best you get- like New Orleans and Crawfish.
The wife first mentioned that Beignets as what should have been New Orleans. I disagree and would go with Gumbo, but of course, crawfish is acceptable.
The wife did come up with Brooklyn pizza, and Philly Cheesesteak, two foods you HAVE to think of when you think Iconic American Food and the city it goes with.
The daughter also said Philly, but had a hard time on the Hotdogs- deciding to move them to Chicago so Pizza could go with New York. She also thinks Gumbo over Crawfish for New Orleans.
Here is my list:
Since they listed 2 states, I guess that’s ok.
Alaskan King Crab
Kansas City Steak (on my personal bucket list)
Boston Clam Chowder.
New Orleans Gumbo
Now you do have Natchitoches meat pies and Zwolle Tomalles, I can see the Meat Pies since I’ve seen them miles from the city but Zwolle might be a little too local.
That’s about all I got. I’m sure there’s some Fish Taco city, and a half dozen others I can’t think of.
How does that go with your list?
Ok, let me do the next step a little different, let me give you the City, and then maybe you will get the food. I’m gonna give you a hard one in alphabetical order.
Green Chile Sauce. I have never heard anyone say we need to go to New Mexico for this dish. Maybe that’s just me.
Does the ATL have a signature dish?
Southern Fried Chicken.
I guess that they had to put Fried Chicken in the South, a place I have lived in for over 40 years- but I have never EVER heard someone say you want good chicken, you gotta go to Atlanta!
Ok, Boston is not on the list of cities, so I can give them this one.
Now keep in mind, I am a native (North) Carolinian, but I’ve never heard of Charleston as a foodie target.
Shrimp and Grits.
I’ll give you my next paycheck if you get this “right”.
Or better yet, a job writing about food on this very site.
Not Pizza- Italian Beef Sandwiches.
Yeah, I’m pretty comfortable saying I’m keeping my check this week. Italian Beef? Really? When you think Chicago food?
Other than its not Cleveland, has anyone heard the phrase “We gotta get to Cincy”?
Ok, this is the ONLY one of the 20 that has to rename to dish after saying what it is. You don’t say New Orleans for the New Orleans Shrimp. When I think Chili, I think Texas- San Antonio? I’ve never heard of massive goodness that is chili in a place that snows, EVER.
I can see this. I do eventually plan on getting to Dallas for my 40th, sometime before I turn 50, but still, isn’t Kansas City the place you think of for Steak?
Gotta be some Coconut and/or Pineapple dish right?
You got me. Never heard of any food for Indy.
Pork Tenderloin sandwiches.
Of all the places I think Pork, Indy is NOT it.
This is like New York, hard to figure out between the two right?
No Problem there. Gotta be Steaks or BBQ here right?
My wife and daughter immediately went Fried Chicken! Not Atlanta- Kentucky should have gotten that one. Kentucky is part of the South, in case you didn’t know.
OK, I lived in Kentucky for 7 months, not only have I never eaten this – I never heard of it. Anyone?
Kentucky should be up here for Whiskey, or is Burgoo USATodian for Oak Barrel?
Think on it.
Key Lime Pie.
If you miss this, you are either on a diet, or just wrong.
Let me give an aside- I don’t get into the whole 3 ways to Q. I’ve had great great Q made all 3 ways, and shit Q made all 3 ways. I’m from Carolina, and I do like vinegar, but as long as you don’t try and put slaw on my Q, we won’t have a problem OK?
Crawfish- I will also take Shrimp, Gumbo, Jubalaya and Benites.
Ok, we got another toss up, gun to your head- what do you take?
POW- dead man walking! I can see this, but isn’t it the Chris Bosh to the Pizza and the Hot Dog?
Not cream cheese, I could even live with the pretzel, but hell no- its the Philly Cheese Steak.
Uh, ok. I gotta go to Portland for what?
Never heard of Portland being the place you gotta go for Wild Salmon. But maybe that’s me.
Got to be Rice A Roni, right?
Ok, what the hell is this shit? Never heard of it- maybe its tofu or something.
Ok, its Dungeness crab, and I’m ok with that. I can see the whole NW crab thing as well.
Gotta be a dairy product, right? Is that enough of a sterotype? I mean I went Milwaukee for the Brats- but why say Wisconsin?
Fried Cheese Curds.
Ok, never thought that, but has anyone ever said we gotta goto Milwaukee for cheese curds? Someone get Dan Vachalek (Lower Canadian Native) on the line!
So how many of the 20 did you get with the name of the city?
The wife and kid got Memphis, KC and Philly.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta google WTF Burgoo and Ciappino are.
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