Here's a fun slide show, the favorite local comfort foods by state. How does your state rate?
Here is a link that might be useful: Comfort foods in every state
That was fun. Some are more iconic than others. I haven't heard of a lot of them (haven't been to their areas either). Some have a much wider distribution than one state. I wouldn't call the one for California "comfort food", and it's really from Baja California (Mexico), rather than the state (Alta), but it is legitimately a regional favorite.
SC's shrimp and grits is a popular, upscale food here. Comfort food though? No, too fancy for the common folk, including me. Plain, buttered grits maybe.
Sausage biscuits with gravy or bbq would be more state appropriate. ( although I dislike both)
Thanks for listing this. It was fun. Made me wish for access to 50 local diners!
A few years back, maybe 5-7 years, I started putting together with the assistance of many other CF members a list of iconic regional sandwiches. Here's the result...I haven't cleaned up the wording or spelling so please excuse its poorly written composition. Still very fun to read and please feel free to add and I'll make sure your responses are kept.
New England - Lobster Roll (Maine is known for lobster rolls & Connecticut is known for clam rolls). Must be served on a top-split, soft, white hot dog bun. The first hamburger in America was also served in Connecticut. Connecticut is unique in that lobster & crab rolls are served hot with just seafood & melted butter (no mayo or celery). Flo's in Cape Neddick, Maine, serving hot dogs, is also a local iconic sandwich.
Philadelphia - Philly Cheese Steak & the Hoagie (The Hoagie was declared the "Official Sandwich of Philadelphia" in 1992. Originally created in Philadelphia there are a number of different versions as to how the Hoagie got its name; but all agree on the sandwich's origins. It is now a generalized sandwich available all over the U.S.)
Maryland - Fried Soft-Shell Blue Crab
Florida - Cubano & Grouper Sandwiches
Louisiana - Muffaletta but also Shrimp or Oyster Po' Boy as well as Roast Beef Po'Boy.
Kentucky - Hot Brown (created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky); there's also a sandwich called an Olive Nut that very popular in Kentucky.
New Jersey - Taylor Ham (aka Pork Roll). The product, as it is made today, was developed in 1856 by John Taylor of Trenton, New Jersey, though several firms produce their own versions.
Los Angeles - French Dip (created at Philippe's in Los Angeles)
Indiana - Breaded Pork Tenderloin
New York City - Pastrami or Corned Beef on Rye (deli). The sandwich must be over-filled to the point of being female unfriendly to eat.
Michigan - Pastie is the iconic sandwich but Chicken Salad with Dried Cherries is another local favorite. Michigan has a large Middle Eastern population and the falafel in a pita is widely available.
South Carolina - Pimento Cheese sandwich & Pork BBQ (mustard-based sauce)
North Carolina - BBQ Pulled Pork (vinegar-based sauce)
Texas - BBQ Brisket (ketchup-based sauce w/dry rub)
Buffalo - Beef on Weck (A beef on weck sandwich is made with roast beef on a kummelweck roll (similar to a Kaiser roll but with Kosher salt & caraway seeds on top) and is a tradition in Western New York. The meat is traditionally served rare, thin cut, with the top bun getting a dip in au jus. Accompaniments include horseradish, a dill pickle spear, and fries. It is believed that a German baker named William Wahr, who is thought to have emigrated from the Black Forest region of Germany, created the kummelweck roll while living in Buffalo, New York.
New Mexico - Green Chili Cheeseburger
San Diego - Fish Taco
San Francisco - Saigon Sandwich but anything on sourdough is also associated with San Francisco.
Chicago - Italian Beef & the Chicago Hot Dog (A steamed, boiled or grilled all-beef hot dog... topped with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish (often a dyed neon green variety called "Nuclear Relish"), a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled peppers, and celery salt. Some variants exist adding things such as cucumber slices, although ketchup is never included. The complete assembly of a Chicago hotdog is said to be 'dragged through the garden' because of the unique combination of condiments.)
North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, & Nebraska, German-Russian Bierock (aka Runza) made with a ground beef, cabbage, onion, and lots of pepper filling stuffing inside homemade bread . This was the only sandwich I ever had before moving out of my parents’ home at age seventeen.
Minnesota - Fried Spam Sandwich (Spam is made in Austin, Minnesota) is the most iconic but the Fried Walleye Sandwich (on an elongated bun with tartar or remoulade sauce) is also a local favorite.
Iowa - Maid-rite Sandwich (A special cut and grind of meat with a selected set of spices which is not a traditional hamburger. Rather, it is called a "loose meat" sandwich. While the component meat is similar, the Maid-Rite sandwich's meat is not formed into a patty, making it similar to a sloppy Joe only without the tomato-based sauce.)
Ontario - Peameal bacon on a bun
Quebec - Montreal smoked meat on rye
Rochester, NY - White Hot (Rochester's hot dogs are often called "white hots" or "pop opens".) When you order a hot dog in Rochester you have to specify red hot or white hot. Otherwise they won't know which to give you. White hots are made with a white wiener which would compare to bockwurst except that bockwurst can also be red. White hots are iconic.
Saratoga, NY - Club Sandwich (originated in Saratoga). Potato chips were also invented in Saratoga.
Vermont - Sharp Vermont Cheddar on whole grain bread
California Central Valley - Tri Tip Sandwich (Thinly sliced BBQ Tri-tip with tomato-based BBQ sauce piled thickly in a soft French roll.) I don't know if this sandwich is really iconic or just popular?
Georgia - Homegrown Tomato Sandwich & also a Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato.
Binghamton, New York - The Spiedie (pronounced "speedy") is a dish local to greater Binhamton in the Southern tier of New York State, and somewhat more broadly known and enjoyed throughout Central New York State. Spiedie consists of cubes of chicken or pork, but it may also be made from lamb, veal, venison or beef. The meat cubes are marinated overnight or longer (sometimes for as long as two weeks under a controlled environment) in a special marinade, then grilled carefully on spits (if steel skewers are used, they are called "spiedie rods") over a charcoal pit. The freshly prepared cubes are served on soft Italian bread or a submarine roll, skewer and all, and sometimes drizzled with fresh marinade. The bread is used as an oven glove to grip the meat while the skewer is removed. Spiedie meat cubes can also be eaten straight off the skewer or can be served in salads, stir fries, and a number of other dishes. The marinade recipe varies, usually involving olive oil, vinegar, and a variety of Italian spices and fresh mint.
Oregon - Salmon Sandwich & the Crab Melt along the coast.
Hawaii - Spam Sandwich (ugh, more Spam!)
Spain - Spain - the bocadillo, a crusty small baguette sandwich. Filling can be slices of cheese or Serrano ham, or potato omelets. A favorite is a 'pepito' which has a thin steak wedged into the crusty roll, toasted in a sandwich maker so it's flattened and toasty top and bottom.
England - England - Chip Butty - fries inside slices of supermarket white bread with ketchup. (Comes from the north of England somewhere where it may also be served in pubs.)
Tennessee - The Elvis Sandwich (peanut butter, banana, honey, & bacon…12 slices…on store bought white bread). While not limited to Tennessee & stretching the definition of "sandwich", sausage gravy on a southern biscuit is very representative of Tennessee.
Mississippi - Fried Catfish Sandwich (Mississippi is calls itself the catfish capital of the world).
Oklahoma - Chicken Fried Steak Sandwich is probably the iconic but fried bologna is a runner-up.
Ohio - Shredded Chicken, warm, held in chicken broth and then piled on bread. Very bland. (if not iconic - at least representative)
Cleveland - Cleveland Polish Boy - Kibalsa with fries, coleslaw, and BBQ sauce.
Massachusetts - Fluffernutter Sandwich
Wisconsin - The Brat with or without kraut.
Virginia - Country Ham Biscuit
Memphis - BBQ pork with a tomato-based sauce
Nevada - Piperada Sandwich (Basque Omelette on a roll)
Wyoming - Kronski on a bun. Kronski is the manufacturer in Rock Springs, but the sausages and sandwiches - a really garlicky kielbasa-type sausage - are referred to as Kronskis.
Tricia, Thanks for posting that again! That's great fun too!
The French Dip is definitely the iconic sandwich of Los Angeles, but a heck of a lot more fish tacos are eaten, even though they're an import!
For that matter, while hamburgers may indeed have originated in Connecticut, they reached their zenith in the mid-20th century in Southern California. People from the East think mayo/thousand on a burger is foul, but we have it as a dressing for the obligatory salad inside the bun. There must be iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles. Avocado, chili peppers, etc., are optional. There's a current fad for fried eggs on burgers, but that's imported from Australia, where it has been the norm for a very long time.
Yep. I'd call the comfort food/most popular sandwich of Southern California, the hamburger as above. Tied with the bean burrito.
Hmmm, personally, I think the bean burrito or the French dip is more iconic for CA than that hamburger you describe. :) Even the fish taco is a fairly recent thing. Don't remember any from, say, the 50s? I was born and raised in CA (San Joaquin and later SoCA) and have only been in New England for 20 years +/-.
We're still missing several state sandwiches.
Tricia, I agree about "iconic". It's just that not very many people eat French dips. They're the Los Angeles sandwich, but still only served in a few places. Fish tacos have been popular in SoCal for at least 40 years but didn't become an on every corner thing until the last 20 years or so, so I guess you missed the uptick. They've been a favorite in Baja probably as long as they've had tacos. :)
Perhaps the hamburger with everything, as it's sometimes known, (or its cousin the cheeseburger with everything), aren't as big North of Bakersfield, but until the whole "gourmet" hamburger craze, most restaurants that weren't ethnic or very fine dining had them, at least at lunch, more drive-ins that have come and gone (hamburgers in SoCal were a big part of the car culture), and the inordinate number of burger chains that have originated here, most of which have a version of said burger, and I feel comfortable with my pronouncement. For volume eaten, and comfortness, the bean burrito is right up there, though. :)
You should add Pittsburgh to your list, since you have Philly. Cathy in SWPA was just talking about the "ham barbecue" in the sourdough discard thread.
The burrito is definitely a San Francisco staple, from the Mission.
And burgers? Just give me an In-N-Out single cheeseburger, animal style, light on the spread!
Some of those things i've never heard of. And some are dead-on favorites. Crab cakes, lobster rolls... have never like a Buffalo wing. (soggy wet/soft chicken skin, with a sticky sauce, ick)
Delaware might be a scrapple or oyster fritter sandwich. (scrapple and oyster festivals near my hometown).
Finger Steaks (with fry sauce)
Scones (What the rest of the country calls Indian Fry Bread) with honeybutter
Fun list. Yours, too, Tricia, I remember when you started that thread.
No state list will ever be accepted by all, which is a good thing. I'd hate to think how it would be if diversity was limited to 50 dishes! Only problem I have with this list is the name; as Bumblebeez points out they're not all "comfort food" at all.
Sleeve - Soggy skin and sticky sauce? Your bar needs a new cook! Closest I can recall to that description would be soggy breaded white meat "boneless wings" at chain restaurants. Yeah the sauce can get messy, but I've never experienced sticky in my 45 years!
I agree with sushipup - CA-style burritos, not fish tacos, are the comfort food of most Californians. One of my cousins spent his college years out here and when he moved back to Atlanta, he missed the burritos so much, when he comes out he freezes them and brings them back home!
I would sooner agree with Tricia than what they picked for Tennessee on the list. Um, my family has lived here pretty much since the founding of the state, and I have never ever even heard of, much less eaten (found comfort in!), a Nashville hot chicken sandwich. Huh?! What is that? I might like to try it, but it isn't even close.
I don't get the coney dog thing for Michigan either. Sure, we have coney dogs which you can get at practically any ice cream stand, snack bar, drive in, or country fair, but I always thought a coney dog originated at CONEY ISLAND in New York, and represented the kind of fast food you got on the boardwalk at the beach. I would hardly call that iconic Michigan comfort food. We do have a lot of beachy touristy parks with food stands though, that is iconic!
Some might say fudge is our comfort food, but only tourists buy it, and who eats fudge on a regular basis?! You can't find it to buy in MI in any places other than tourist towns anyway.
Here's what I would say, pancake breakfast with Michigan maple syrup. There seems to be a pancake breakfast fundraiser going on here practically every weekend some months. Not that other states don't have these, but we have a lot of them! Also fruit pies. I know other states have those too, but we have so many great fruits available locally. Particularly blueberry and tart cherry. I know when I'm home and it is in season, I want to go get some fruit and make a pie. The other thing would be, for me since I am from West Michigan by the Lake, is a Lake fish dinner. I want a Friday night Lake perch fish fry, or grilled whitefish. Or at the very least, a walleye sandwich, although that is more of a Lake Erie fish. Also, when it comes to down home comfort food restaurants, the mom and pop places, we have way more Mexican and Middle Eastern places here in MI, even in the boonies, than they do out east. Out east, it's Italian, Chinese, (even Thai) and PA Dutch. Here's it's Mexican or Middle Eastern for the mom and pop ethnic. The comfort food of Michigan, when the season is here, is what you can get at your local farm stand. In the winter everyone is going to be holed up eating pot roast, chicken soup and mac and cheese, and drinking beer, just like everyone else in the north country!
LP - Your reasoning would make too much sense, but apparently it's not so. A couple years back when I first heard of Coney Dogs I read up on them, and as I recall this wiki quote pretty much sums up the general concensus:
The "Coney Island Hot Dog" preparation did not originate with Coney Island, New York; the name merely refers to the origin of the hot dog itself, and also refers to the kind of restaurant that features them. The style originated in the early 20th century in Michigan, with competing claims from American and Lafayette Coney Islands in Detroit, Michigan, and Todoroff's Original Coney Island in Jackson, Michigan."
More discussions on what that style is, on the link.
Here is a link that might be useful: Wiki Coney Dog
LPink, my father is from Michigan, and what he talks about is definitely the sour cherries. :)
My lunch companion today ordered a burger in a moderate restaurant (sit down, good food, accessible prices). It was exactly as I described above, mayo on the bun, iceberg, tomato slice and onion slice, ketchup and mustard on the side, but the pickle was a spear rather than sliced, which is a common variation. I told her about this discussion and she wrinkled her nose at the bean burrito, since her preference would be for tacos, but when I brought up that a workman filling up his car can get a burrito at any gas station, and every non-ethnic (and may of the ethnic ones) grocery store and convenience store and snack stand and the kind of food truck that feeds workers rather than foodies all have bean burritos, she had to concede. :) Tacos have to be fresher. :)
When my mother was young in the country, the kids used to go into the ranch kitchens, where there was always a pot of beans or chili on the stove, grab a tortilla with a smear of beans and roll it up into a burrito, to keep them warm waiting for the school bus, or on their way from here to there.
I still think it's a tie between the burger with veg and the bean burrito for California. :)
By definition, "Comfort Food" means "Guilty Food".
In NYC, it would be Cronuts.
I thought they were dead on for New York State's comfort food being Buffalo wings; at least upstate NY.
There were quite a few things I've never heard of.
Maine is a whoopie pie with a moxie chaser!
Never had a cronut or want one. NYC, NY, 30 yrs...a slice of pizza.
Established comfort food.
I bet a burger would be the entire NSEWest comfort...and how they are 'dressed' would be interesting.
A good burger and dog any favorite way is comfort. BLT when the first tomato ripens...
Memorable burgers across the states...
But all those reviews and published 'comforts' are just good fun and not really necessary to debate. Interesting, at least the stuff i've never heard of....
[abashed and hanging head] I thought the debate was supposed to be part of the fun.
Head up Pillog ! It's a fun read ! I'm third generation native Californian and it's not burritos, it's hamburgers like everywhere else. Or kinda everywhere else.
I stopped tonight to get a "Coney dog" at the local "Coney and Swirl" which is the ice-cream/hotdog stand in my small town, very typical of what was in almost every small town in Michigan at one time. Anyway, while "suckin' on a chili dog outside the Tastee Freeze," I was reflecting on what someone told me once (from NY) that Michigan hot dogs were better than most other states because we had higher standards about what kind of meat could go into them. Not sure about the truth of that story though. When I got home, while googling "Michigan hot dogs" to find out more, I discovered this funny article from the Smithsonian magazine called, "The Annals of Geographically Confused Foods" lol! Apparently "coneys" in NY are called "michigans!" That really cracked me up!
In my adopted hometown of Allentown, PA, apparently Mr. Yocco "invented" the chili dog too, and made it world famous to boot. ;) To me, a chili dog is just a chili dog, and little stands with root beer or ice cream and hotdogs do mean summer in Michigan, although for me coming home to MI will always mean, "let's have a lake fish fry!" There are three things I miss when I am away from my home state, one is all the fresh fruit, (but then my ancestors settled in an area just north of "Fruitport" Michigan), maple syrup and lake fish, either pan fish from the inland lakes or Great Lakes fish. I do miss walking down to the diary queen or root beer stand with my best friend and spending my allowance on some kind of junk food, but that kind of pleasure isn't quite what it used to me for me now. What can I say but, "Life goes on, long after the thrill of livin' is gone."
Here is a link that might be useful: Michigan hot dogs from New York
This post was edited by lpinkmountain on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 10:09
Well, it was spot on with the VA country ham biscuit! I would add to that potato salad and macaroni and cheese! Now that's comfort and nothing healthy!! :)