Ask a New Yorker about the quintessential NYC slice and be prepared for an earful. Southern BBQ sparks debates from Memphis to Kansas City, and the best Philly Cheesesteak is a hot topic in the city of brotherly love. When it comes to famous local foods, everyone's an expert, and no one can shut up. I've picked the top 7 that are completely talked out. Did I miss your city's specialty? Let me know!
(I've picked a BHG.com recipe inspired by every one of these culinary cult hits. Try one tonight, or add your own to the mix on our sister site, Mixingbowl.com.)
New York Slice. Some swear by Di Fara, others by Original Ray's. Some stand in line at Brooklyn Heights' Grimaldi's, while others wait at Morningside Heights' Koronet (below). Gourmet toppings and wood-fired ovens have no place here; a real NY slice is huge, five-napkin greasy, and most importantly fold-able. If you're more than a bridge and tunnel away, make your own Big Apple-inspired pepperoni pizza slice.
Regionally Roasted Coffee. Four out of five people drink coffee on a regular basis, and many of them are more passionate about their brew of choice than they are about their home team. The trend towards small-batch, regionally roasted coffee has created a bevy of boutiques in the Pacific Northwest and beyond (Blue Bottle, La Colombe, and Stumptown, pictured below) with exacting standards, rituals and staunch defenders. (Whether you're an artisinal purist or more of a cup-of-joe gulper, try our Coffee Coffee Cake made with your favorite beans.)
True Southern BBQ. Whether waiting on line at A&R BBQ in Memphis, tucking your napkin into your collar at Roper's Ribs in St. Louis. or hitting up the legendary Oklahoma Joe's in Kansas City (pictured), you've got to agree that there's a real art to southern BBQ. The right rub, smoking technique, and of course, superiority of sauce, can make or break an establishment's claim to BBQ fame. But don't let this stop you: Roll up your sleeves and try your hand at Pulled Pork Shoulder.
Gelato. This delightfully dense frozen confection enjoyed in piazzas all over Italy has comfortably landed stateside. With ardent fans from D.C. (Dolcezza) to San Diego (Cafe Zucchero) to Phoneix (Arlecchino, below) and flavors ranging from the familiar (chocolate, hazelnut, lemon) to the adventurous (lavender, cardamon, rose), the question of who does it best is one for the ages. Make your own So Good Gelato.
Authentic Cheesesteak. While Philly residents will voice their preference for Tony Luke's, Geno's, Carmen's, or Pat's (below), all will agree one of the finer points of Cheeseteak etiquette is the ordering process. Be assertive, don't trip over the menu, speak up, and always use the local lingo (example: specify whether or not you want fried onions by saying "Wit" or "Wit-out"). Want to skip the line? Make your own Philadelphia Cheese Steak at home!
Baja-Style Fish Taco. Fish tacos have long been a Baja delicacy, and among Pacific Coast fish shack lovers there's always been a (laid-back) debate about whose is best. While regional nuances may differ, the basic recipe is the same: Lightly battered white fish served with shredded cabbage, sour cream or mayo, and finished with a spritz of lime, all wrapped up in two corn tacos. Whether you live on the beach or just in a beachy state-of-mind, BHG's Fish Taco (below) will give you your fix.
Bánh mì. The latest hand-held, affordable, ethnic delicacy to hit hipsterville and beyond is bánh mì, a Vietnamese baguette sandwich. The light, crispy baguette is cut lengthwise and typically filled with shredded or bbq pork, grilled chicken or pork meat balls with homemade mayo, and pickled carrots and daikon. Whether you're a devotee of Silent H in Williamsburg, NY, Banh Mi Hoang Sandwich Shop in Houston or Saigon Sandwich and Bakery in Los Angeles, it's a bold and refreshing new lunch option. Next time you order, pair with your own homemade Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
Looking for something a little different? Check out BHG.com's most popular recipes. Or indulge your sweet tooth with one of these irresistible Christmas cookie recipes.