The Daily Ping

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May 2nd, 2005

The Food Your City is Known For

Growing up in Chicago there were a lot of foods I took for granted. Hot dogs, for instance: there are hot dog stands everywhere here, from the really good to the really mediocre (but at least no one puts ketchup on a proper Chicago dog.) Once we moved out to Denver we started, naturally, missing some of the foods we grew up with.

Some of that is rooted in pride, as you can imagine. Chicago does a lot of foods right: deep-dish pizza, Italian beef, hot dogs and cheesecake are all pretty much “Chicago foods.” Even my hometown was (and still is, somewhat) known for its food. I’d like to know, then, what foods Pingers associate with their cities and towns.

And if anyone comes from the Land of Oreo, we need to get in touch.

Posted in Food and Beverage

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 8:17:49 am
Unless you want to count Carl's Custard Stand, I'd say we got nothing here.



FROM: Joseph
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 8:51:15 am
Hartford, CT? Are you kidding?

Off the top of my head . . . Taco Bell.



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 9:11:33 am
If we are talking about my hometown now, that's easy: CHEESESTEAKS. (Philly...duh)

As for my birthplace, Wilmington, DE...good question. The region is kinda known for Italian Water Ice, but even that is stretching it a little bit.



FROM: Monica
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 11:26:31 am
Madison has an Oscar Meyer plant...



FROM: dave
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 2:04:46 pm
In DC we are best known for...pork?

I'll be here all week folks!



FROM: Ken
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 4:05:17 pm
Primantes, can anyone even say what they are? Well, take a normal hoagie or hot sandwich, then cover it in fries, coleslaw, and tomatoes.



FROM: Courtney
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 5:07:02 pm
I'm a bit of a lurker here. But I had to jump in on this one. I'm from Springfield, IL. We're known for the horseshoe or the ponyshoe if you're not that hungry. Basically, it's a piece of toast covered in crinkle cut french fries, some sort of meat (ham, hamburger, turkey, bacon, etc) and a cheese sauce. The secret to making good cheese sauce for the horseshoe is beer. I love horseshoes, but I never could understand the purpose of the piece of toast on the bottom. I always avoid it.

I lived near Chicago last year. Two things I miss: Portillos and Lou Malnati's (sp?).



FROM: jk
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 5:50:00 pm
Welcome Courtney! That actually sounds really good, especially if you use beer in your cheese sauce. The bread just gives it a sold platform.

What are we known for in Central PA? Bland pasty food.....but also Whoopie Pies which I don't particularly like because the cake part of it is never of good quality and sticks to the roof of your mouth.

We do have several ice cream, pretzel, and chocolate factories, not to mention a Kelloggs plant. Mmm, the smell on Pop Tart days is marvelous....

Boy am I starving.



FROM: Dee
DATE: Monday May 2, 2005 -- 9:02:03 pm
Baked Beans and Chowdah - Boston



FROM: David July [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday May 3, 2005 -- 3:08:01 am
I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, probably known best for those flavoured chicken wings.

Hot dogs are also a big deal to locals, as are many Polish-inspired specialties like pierogies (eastern European ravioli), golabki (cabbage rolls or "pigs in the blanket") and kielbasa (sausage). Oh, and lest I forget the Beef on Weck sandwich.

Come to think of it, the only thing I really miss about living in western New York is the food.



FROM: Barbara
DATE: Tuesday May 3, 2005 -- 3:53:49 pm
I've lived in Georgia for 4 years and a local favorite is boiled peanuts. I've only tried them once and I'm not a fan.



FROM: Kate
DATE: Thursday May 5, 2005 -- 3:31:20 am
I grew up somewhat close to Battle Creek, MI... which is of course famous as the home of Kellogg's Cereal. My home town was more famous for it's lumber, which is only food if you happen to be a termite or a woodchuck.



FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Tuesday May 17, 2005 -- 5:00:48 pm
Great ping as always...

Hey Paul, ever been to Ricobenes? When you were mentioning Chicago foods it came to mind. Their huuuuge breaded steak sandwiches were as much a staple in H.S. as was the first encounters of El Famous' (football-sized) burritos which literally became famous throughout the area. Much like Portillos did, both Portillos and El Famous literally overran the area with new locations due to their immense popularity. I can remember when El Famous only had 2 locations and few people knew of the small Mexican fast food place in Summit.

El Famous' owner once told me that his goal was to give people an authentic-style Mexican food for cheap that was made with better quality goods than what you could get access to back in the old country. I love their steak tacos, Mexican chili, steak nachos, rice, and usually get whatever I order with a nice large Horchata.

As far as Berwyn... which we both grew up in, have you ever been to Vesecky's bakery and gotten their hot dogs in a bun Paul? If not... might need to give it a shot. I think you were close enough to that area though that you probably know about it. My dad's family when they were growing up (moved here from MO when my dad was 6) used to live in the apartment upstairs from the bakery on 22nd St. not too long after the moved out of Cicero.

A lot of people in Chicagoland revere Gene and Jude's hot dogs. Personally being in Lyons, I've got a hot dog place nearby in Brookfield I prefer to Gene and Judes that's called Hey Viv's (formerly Hey Bud's) on Ogden Avenue just past Custer Ave. Their garden dogs are awesome (still no ketchup [as meant to be]) and I actually prefer their fresh cut fries to Gene and Jude's.

Then there's Tom's Carryout in Lyons (also has awesome home-cut fries), off of Harlem Ave. (Rt. 43) between Ogden Ave. (Rt. 34) and Pershing Rd. (good Gyros, Italian Beef, etc.) in Lyons, right next to another notorious Chicagoland food chain... Brown's Chicken. I think their breaded mushrooms are the best I've had thus far.

Then of course Chicago without pizza? Salerno's in Paul's and my old backyard (2 locations) is pretty good with an almost beer-batter style thick crust. Paisan's is pretty good with a unique sauce and 3 types of cheeses. I love Gepetto's pizza, especially their deep dish. And of course Paul will likely bring up Al's pizza which is also quite good. I like Connie's and Giordano's as well but the nearest locations are too far for me to hit very often.

As a fan of both schools of pizza... there's some New Yorkers that moved to Columbus, OH (ordered from them while attending OSU briefly in '97) that opened a place called "The Flying Pizza" that serves a good NY Style pizza. It's probably the best pizza in Columbus IMHO. If you're ever in the OSU area of Columbus, they were located right on High Street down near the campus (I lived off of 9th and High while out there). Might be worth a stop-in. There's also a bagel sandwich place in the nearby vicinity that I forget the name of. Their steamed bagel deli-style sandwiches were amongst my favorite foods in the area and something I dearly missed after moving home.

For Italian Beef... I still have to rank Carm's Beef #1 (the Berwyn location is long gone but Chicago and I believe Westchester still have locations). Salerno's has a pretty good Italian beef (had it with mozzarella and Giardineras) though after stopping off there recently and having one. Portillo's and Buona Beef are both not too far off of the pace themselves.

It's funny on how intrinsic food can be to an area. A friend of mine from Decatur comes up often when we attend dirt track races or trek to various concerts. Everytime he's come up here I've tried to take him to a new place. Whether that be a Mr. Submarine (great local submarine place) or a Portillos or Salernos or El Famous. So far I've not hit on a bad one yet, and anytime I'm hit up on the cell while out to eat... if I tell him where I'm at I usually get subjected to pouting on the other end. My relatives in Missouri are the same way when it comes to Italian Beef. We took it down there for a family gathering one time and it was the first any had ever seen or heard of it... and it was so popular that everytime one of us goes down there to visit we end up bringing a few pounds of it down for them. A few of them will even fight over it. LoL

Anyone have any similar experiences with their local food places with friends/family from abroad? I'd love to know. Might even peak my curiousity enough to give it a try if I'm ever in or around the area.



FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday May 17, 2005 -- 5:32:47 pm
No trip to Chicago was complete without an exciting, and some say dangerous, trip to El Norte for their football size burritos. Don't know exactly where it is/was since I'm not a native and generally just sort of rode along in the passenger seat in a drunken stupor until we got there.

But size isn't everything. Sounds like El Famous and El Norte were similar, size and quality. God, football size, awesome taste, and for all of like $2. Amazing.

Here in New England, they advertize big portions as a sign of a good deal, but, really, when they give you schlock, why do you want more than less? Having more doesn't make crap taste better.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday May 17, 2005 -- 5:39:37 pm
Marcus, you must try Johnnie's Beef in Elmwood Park. It's easily the best beef I've ever had in Chicagoland - ever.



FROM: Jawstaysun
DATE: Saturday September 24, 2005 -- 3:05:14 pm
I must agree... JOHNNIE'S is the best around! They also make a great Italian ice!



FROM: Smizzle
DATE: Tuesday January 17, 2006 -- 11:39:54 am
Bmore- Crabcakes.........bitches haha jus playin



FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday January 18, 2006 -- 2:29:04 pm
Apparently, Woody Allen knows what I'm talking about. In Annie Hall he tells the following story:

"There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, 'Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.' The other one says, 'Yeah, I know; and such small portions.'"

The New England cure? Larger portions.

Actually, I've found out that there's a big pizza war in Hartford between Barb's Pizza and Harry's Pizza. Locals have sharply divided loyalties to one or the other and the word is that Barb and Harry were actually married to each other, back when there was just Harry's. In the divorce, she got the recipes and opened Barb's. Others say she stole the recipes. I don't know. I've eaten at both and I think they both suck. Anyone who gets so excited about this pizza has never been to Chicago for deep dish. Besides, everyone knows that the best pizza in Hartford is at the First and Last Tavern--not that it's awesome pizza or anything, but it is the best here.



FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday January 18, 2006 -- 2:31:27 pm
How about the food your city isn't known for?

For Hartford, just think of anything good.



FROM: Steve A.
DATE: Wednesday January 18, 2006 -- 3:49:32 pm
The area I live in is well known for it's Eastern [North] Carolina barbecue. For the uninitiated, that's slow roasted pulled or chopped pork. In Eastern Carolina we use a vinegar and hot pepper flake 'sauce.' Western Carolina is the 'red stuff' and South Carolina has a thin mustard sauce.

Obviously they are all regional delights and any Carolian, East/West/North or South will gladly share their favorite eatery with you.

By the way, none of those sauces are 'wrong.' However Eastern NC's is more 'right' ;-)

Ciao, or should I say CHOW?!



FROM: Eek
DATE: Tuesday May 2, 2006 -- 5:53:11 pm
Eek, here representing western new york state.

Olean, NY: best Pizza! Tasta Pizza, Napoli, Renna's! all different, all great!

Buffalo, NY: sure there are the chicken wings (which Olean had covered pretty well) and everyone goes to the Anchor Bar, but I think Lafeyette Tap room has the best wings. And LOGANBERRY! You only see that in Buffalo.

Rochester, NY: People claim they eat 'the garbage plate': bugers or dogs over beans and macaroni salad covered in meat sauce...but I'd rather eat thumb tacks. I don't think they make any food here better than anywhere else. If I'm wrong, please let me know where I should spend my cash.



FROM: dave [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday May 16, 2006 -- 4:37:59 pm
I'm from Olean too. I don't care for Tasta - too thick - Napoli and Renna's are good but I'd hardly say that Olean is "known for" them. Buffalo wings in Olean typically used to be breaded before the sauce was applied but you don't see that much anymore.
I haven't had a garbage plate in years but at 3 a.m. after a night of drinking they hit the spot. You'll regret it in the morning though. Rochester is best known for "white hots," which are hot dogs made of pork, veal and spices, served grilled.



Joe June 11, 2008, 4:15 am

Minnesota, knows for our….

SPAM!

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