Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

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Casual Observer
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Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by Casual Observer »

Between us, folks on this forum have prolly lived in most major regions of the country and have experienced the best and worst of food options in each region. I'm curious what you have found so I'll start with what I've experienced:

Chesterfield, SC: Only decent restaurant I remember is "Shiloh's Fish House" (whose owner I later worked for, doing everything from picking okra to cleaning his Cressida's alloy wheels with a toothbrush for $5/hour) which had an amazing secret recipe cornmeal breading for their fried fish. Best thing was their popcorn shrimp meal and their fried shrimp meal. Cole slaw was amazing, made it myself but he had a secret recipe for the dressing as well. Everything else here is hillbilly crap.

Rochester, NY:
Oh, God, the good food list goes on and on, here's what jumps out first.
- Garbage plates especially from Nick Tahous or Mark's texas hots. Going to RIT there used to be a place called GT Rocks in Henrietta and their garbage plate sauce was every bit as good as Nick's or Mark's. I had GT Rocks' recipe for awhile but no idea what happened to it. My wife makes a mean meat hot sauce using country sweet hot and tabasco.
- Country Sweet wing plate without the damn whitebread. What the hell was the point of a piece of wonderbread sitting under wings and sauce?
- McGregors. What can I say. Pitchers. Yummy pub food for cheap.
- Phillips European. Chicken French, Artichokes French, Steak Au Pauv, Viennese meringue Torte and dozens of other wonderful desserts.
- Wegmans Subs
- Charlies Fish Stand in Webster
- Don's Original hot dogs and onion rings
- Chen's Garden, really good and cheap chinese food, nice owner

Seattle, WA:
- Pike's Place Market is really one of the few best things here. Great fish stands with wild caught Salmon, Oysters, and Maine Lobster tails. Great fish and chips restaurant. Vegetable stands that put safeway and sometimes Wegmans to shame.
- John Howie's Steaks. Steaks are both wet and dry aged and taste amazing, hot shrimp appitizer is great.

San Francisco Bay Area:
- Nothing is amazing here. Everything is overpriced and underperformed. I hope every restaurant in this region goes out of business in the pandemic. Even their locally caught Dungeness crabs taste like shit. All of the oysters actually come from the pacific northwest. In fact, most of the local seafood tastes like absolute crap.

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Flack
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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by Flack »

I bought my DSLR camera right before we went on our cruise to Alaska. Before we left we spent an entire day in and around Seattle, and spent way too long inside Pike's Place eating, drinking, and taking pictures.

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by Casual Observer »

I hope you didn't buy those flowers that were behind your daughter. They're filled with bacteria that makes sure that they wither and die within 1.5 days #TouristTrap.

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

This is a great thread that I shall be contributing to when my shift is over. Having lived in Hilton, Rochester and Syracuse (NY) and Fort Collins, Longmont, Thornton and Denver (Colorado) I have important opinions on all of this. I also think that food is one of those neat characteristics about towns and societies.
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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by pinback »

Here is my list:

- DC area (MD/VA)
- Portland, OR
- New Brunswick, NJ
- Myrtle Beach, SC
- LA, CA
- Denver, CO
- Seattle, WA
- Albuquerque, NM
- Nashville, TN
- Cincinnati, OH

I left a couple places off because I have no enjoyable meal memories there. In Grants Pass, OR, I basically just went to Wild River Brewing during my entire time there. So that was the best and worst food I had there.
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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by Flack »

Casual Observer wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:51 pm I hope you didn't buy those flowers that were behind your daughter. They're filled with bacteria that makes sure that they wither and die within 1.5 days #TouristTrap.
We did not buy any flowers. I did buy a plastic cup full of crab meat which I ate as my family ate Taxi Dogs. Then we waited in line for half an hour for Starbucks which was just like every other Starbucks.

I have only lived in two places -- Spokane, Washington and (in and around) Oklahoma City.

As far as I know, Spokane didn't have much of an identity of its own. Downtown was very hipster, with lots of pubs and breweries. There's a lot of fish there (Spokane is four hours east of Seattle), a lot of potatoes there (Idaho), and a lot of apples.

As for Oklahoma, here are the things that come to mind:

Steaks: Cattlemen's is located in Stockyard City, and you can literally have a 16oz rib eye while looking out the window at next week's menu as it grazes. You can't throw a rock without hitting a steakhouse around here and many of those places have their own twists and gimmicks, but you can't go wrong with a big ol' slab of local beef with a baked potato on the side. Cattlemen's has a wall of pictures that include all the presidents of the United States that have eaten there.

Here's a clip from when Man vs. Food visited Cattlemen's



Onion Burgers: Onion burgers were invented in Oklahoma by padding meat patties with grilled onions during the dust bowl. There are half a dozen onion burger places around town and I took ICJ and Aardvark to one of the oldest, Sid's in El Reno located right off of Route 66. El Reno is also home to the annual Onion Burger festival.

Here's a clip from when Man vs. Food visited Sid's



BBQ: I know every place (Texas, Kansas, Missouri) claim to have great BBQ, but Oklahoma BBQ is fantastic. I took 'vark and ICJ to Swadley's BBQ which is pretty good (and conveniently close) but downtown you can't go a block without seeing smoke from a smoker rising up into the air. And then of course there's Mr. Spriggs' BBQ, the place that told my dad that their hot sauce was "too hot for white folk."



Buffalo Burgers: So technically there are no buffalo in North America (only bison) but they still call them buffalo burgers. Like Cattlemen's, I know of at least two places here where you can go eat a buffal burger while staring out the window at a buffalo -- er, bison. Buffalo burgers are pretty lean and not everybody likes them but I think they're tasty.

Honorable mentions: fried okra, white gravy, chicken fried steak, fried catfish, deer chili.
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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by Jizaboz »

I have only lived in NC for more than a week at a time. In 2 different towns. I will start with the best:

- Our 3 styles of pork BBQ; Pit cooked, Lexington, and Eastern. It just becomes a matter of which places you think makes an acceptable version of either.
- Sir Pizza; A local pizza chain that has neither changed their pizza style or restaurant interior since the 1980s. People either really like or really hate it.
- Seafood; excellent flounder and many other fish, shellfish, etc all can be caught yourself with some effort or bought from local markets at the coast.
- Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and common vegetables grow easily here so those are abundant and cheap. Sweet potatoes are huge as well as odd things like "ramps" (very strong plant that is a cross between an onion and garlic). Good apples grown in the mountains to the west and the best watermelons grown in the farms of the Bogue sound at the coast.
- Pimento cheese; my local butcher who has made it for years just won award for best pimento cheese in the state and all I thought was "Well duh."
- Cheerwine soda to go with hot dogs "all the way" (thought I would argue Pano's hot dogs in Calumet City IL blow most hot dogs here away.. but our at least the slaw on the dogs at our cafes have better slaw than that sorry shit they question if you really want at Peach's on the strip in Myrtle Beach, SC.
- Mexican food; you kinda have to watch it with the tourist-driven places in the category here. The best places are the ones known for consistency if you want plain stuff or the really small and kinda hard to find places that sell more authentic Mexican food at really good prices. Oklahoma probably has us beat there. Flack once told me a lot of places give you FREE cheese dip in OK. That shit is completely unheard of here. If you so much as ask for salsa verde instead of the shit from the jug they start charging you at these larger restaurants these days.

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by pinback »

DC area (MD/VA)

I lived the first half of my life here, so I must have had some decent meals, but when I think of what I remember the most, it is Mario's Pizza House on Arlington Blvd. Some of these are more, I cherish the memories more than the food, and this might be one of them, as I had learned that it is the exact place where my mother and father would go on dates, so when I moved to Arlington, I felt like going there was sort of a "circle of life" ritual. Look at that Yelp score! People hate this place! Everything is wrong there -- The pizza is rectangular, cut from large sheets of pizza made with provolone instead of mozzarella and reheated before serving. The famous "steak and cheese" is not reminiscent of any cheesesteak a Philadelphian would recognize. But nothing else tasted like anything you could get from there, and the ordering/buying ritual was straight out of Soup Nazi. There are tons of places around there called "Mario's Pizza House", just because this, the original, is such a local landmark.

Portland, OR

Sweetwater's Jam House was a Jamaican restaurant named after Sweetwater, the dead cat whose skeleton was mounted over the bar. They had pepper poppers, but made with fresh habaneros instead of the traditional jalapenos. At the time it was the hottest thing I'd ever eaten. I had to run out of the restaurant to catch my breath. If I tried them today I'd probably handle it better, but it opened up a whole world of painful possibilities which I am still exploring to this day.

New Brunswick, NJ

I don't even remember the name of the place, which is shocking, because I went there almost every day. World... World Something Cafe? It was this eclectic restaurant in the middle of nowhere, run by a big ol' hardcore Russian dude. We got into a routine, I would come there, eat at the bar, and then the owner would come out with his backgammon set and I'd sit there playing backgammon and drinking vodka with this hulking, straight-out-of-a-movie Russian. I got so familiar the chef took me on a tour of the kitchen, and I even got to play the lounge piano for the guests a couple times. Again, maybe more cherished as a memory than as food, but the food was also excellent, because Russians apparently know how to hire chefs. Everyone called the chef "Chef". Drink vodka with a Russian, that's my advice to you.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Spring House, a breakfast place along the beach, makes the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had. Biscuits and gravy is the correct breakfast to eat in South Carolina, everyone makes it, and theirs was the best.

LA, CA

I ate a lot of meals in/around here. Fancy places, dives, and everything in between. Everyone talks about In-n-Out burger, which I think is vastly overrated. If I went to LA for only one meal, it would be a double-cheeseburger from Pier Burger on the Santa Monica pier. The perfect burger -- two patties welded together with cheese and burger sauce, right there with the waves crashing on the beach, the insanity of LA in the rear-view mirror. What's not to like?

Denver, CO

Denver's best food comes out of the freezer section at the local Kroger variant. Santiago's Green Chile is a must-have in every kitchen, and for me was my first hint of the glories of New Mexican cuisine that was to come. Oh man. Denver, culinarily, is basically Albuquerque North, and what a great thing to be.

Seattle, WA

Ivar's clam chowder, available everywhere, is about the best clam chowder there is. You can even get it while on the many ferries that you'll be riding if you have to go anywhere around the Sound. You have to get clams if you're up there. I demand it.

Albuquerque, NM

I mean. Can I pick "everything"? Is that a valid choice? Failing that, there is no question that the green chile cheeseburger from Santa Fe Bite (nee Bobcat Bite) is unquestionably the best green chile cheeseburger in the world, which means it's also the single greatest meal in the world.

Nashville, TN

I only had Nashville hot chicken once, which is shocking, given how much I love fried chicken and spicy things, but at the time, you know, I wasn't in a position to be eating fried chicken. Plus, it is a very time-consuming operation, and it was always easier to do something else. But the one time I did have it, it was the best chicken I'd ever had, and still is. Now you find "Nashville hot chicken" stuff everywhere around the country, but this is one thing I think Nashville does better than all of the imitators.

Cincinnati, OH

Everything is terrible here! I guess I have to say Skyline Chili, but if I could have only one meal here it would be at Mad Monk's Pizza. It might be my favorite pizza ever. Almost everything is terrible here!
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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Rochester, NY: The best food you can currently get from there in my opinion is the Pizza Shack in Hamlin. EXTRA CHEESE FACE

Syracuse, NY: I am not going to say this is the best, but the place I would go first should I find myself in Syracuse again would be Sabastino's Pizza, which was there when I was in college there.

Fort Collins, CO: Probably Big City Burrito? I was not a fan of burritos until I moved to Colorado. I made the mistake of getting a potato burrito the first few years from them. Big City Burrito, at least 20 years ago, was a dump.

Longmont, CO: Man, so many places went out of business. I lived there in the early 2000s. I liked places like Burrito Kitchen, Luc's Pizzeria and Shorty's Pit Bar-B-Q (which may still be there). If I were to go back I guess I would get a roast beef sandwich from Your Butcher, Frank.

Thornton, CO: The answer was Sal's Pizza but I think they are out of business. Yak and the Yeti is fairly close to Thornton, so that would be my pick.

Denver, CO: Lemme think on this one.
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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

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Ice Cream Jonsey wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 4:46 pmPizza Shack
Sabastino's Pizza
Luc's Pizzeria
Sal's Pizza
You would say you are fond of pizza?

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by gsdgsd »

Boulder, Colorado - Egg Burrito at the Village Coffee Shop. The standard by which all other breakfast burritos are measured.

Tucson, Arizona - Hot and Spicy Bean Curd at the Golden Dragon. I was vegetarian/vegan for 90% of my time in Arizona so most of my culinary memories are convincing myself that "this tastes like chicken!" but few foods have brought me as much as the Golden Dragon's tofu, all these years later.

Atlanta/Decatur, Georgia - Fox Bros BBQ. I'm not a barbeque snob so can't say anything intelligent about this other than it's the best I've had and everything on their menu is a winner. They even take a stab at pork green chile, brave in these parts. It's not as good as mine (ahem) but at least they know what it is.

Mainz, Germany - Kinder Eggs? I dunno, I was five.

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

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Buffalo, New York: BEEF. ON. WECK. Weber's.

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

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pinback wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 6:44 am Denver, CO

Denver's best food comes out of the freezer section at the local Kroger variant. Santiago's Green Chile is a must-have in every kitchen, and for me was my first hint of the glories of New Mexican cuisine that was to come. Oh man. Denver, culinarily, is basically Albuquerque North, and what a great thing to be.
This was the wrong choice. I was later reminded by my wife that the correct choice is the burger at the Cherry Cricket.

Sorry for misleading you earlier.
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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

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The Happiness Engine wrote: Mon Feb 01, 2021 5:33 pm Buffalo, New York: BEEF. ON. WECK. Weber's.
I don't get the weck thing! When I go back the object is to toss as many burgers on hard rolls into my face as I can.

When we drove my uncle's car back west in September, I bought two packages of hard rolls. And they were amazing. I will never understand why someone doesn't want to make a million dollars from me and ship them.
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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by Jizaboz »

Best green chili/ground beef/refried beans/cheddar cheese burritos come from Gomez Burrito in Denver, CO for some damned reason. I had to try to simulate the recipe at home I liked it so much. Was not as good as the cute, yet mean-as-shit gorditas at Gomez's made them at all. Don't live there, but just adding to the Denver thing.

Pinback: You may have happened upon a magical place. We generally have better biscuits and gravy in Best Carolina. I will show you sometime..

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by The Happiness Engine »

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote: Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:01 pm I don't get the weck thing! When I go back the object is to toss as many burgers on hard rolls into my face as I can.
Do you mean kaiser rolls? Those are pretty common. I'd think you'd have them in your fresh bread bins at any local supermarket, but then American regionalism is Weird.

Weck is just kaiser roll, roast beef sammich, add salt cause it make every damn thing taste better, and then caraway seeds because FUCK IT. Jus and horseradish. It's not HEAVEN but it's a nice thing to have available! What else do they make in Buffalo, Cheerios? Maybe the hot dogs and sausage but that's more of a Great Lakes thing.

You honestly can make the same roll anywhere by brushing a kaiser roll with water, and dumping kosher salt and caraway seeds on it.

EDIT: sponge candy?

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by AArdvark »

Shredded Wheat, the Niagra Falls cereal.

Hard rolls are a little different from a kaiser roll. Not a whole lot, but life without them can lead to nostalgia, excessive cats and occasional outbreaks of interactive fiction

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Re: Best (and/or worst) foods of where we've lived

Post by AArdvark »

I haven't lived anywhere else and y'all already know my favorite foods. I got nothing.

But I'll throw up a list anyway

Garbage Plate...Stone's Countryside does a better plate than Tahou's ever did but props to Nick for inventing it.

Giuseppe's pizza in Gates. Best ever. It ain't New York style and it aint Chicago style but it's awesome.

Sahlen's hot dogs from Buffalo are better than the local Zwiegle's. The owner of Skip's meat market told me Zwiegles been cutting corners since they got so industrial.

Chicken wings. Homemade wins. Jerimiah's moves to second place.

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