Exploring Regional Cuisines

America is known for many things, and one of them is the wide variety of food available within our borders. The country is a melting pot of all sorts of people from many cultures, which means we have access to foods created in other countries and brought here. We also have plenty of dishes that were first served right here in the United States, from biscuits and gravy to California sushi rolls and New England clam chowder. It’s one thing to take a tour of the country’s sights and sounds; it’s another, more delicious thing to take a tasting tour of the food that makes this country so special.

Southern Food

If it can be fried, there’s a cook in the South who will fry it. There are fried mainstays, like chicken, pickles, and mozzarella sticks. Then, there’s the more adventurous stuff, commonly found at local fairs. We’re talking deep-fried candy bars, fried alligator, fried Coca-Cola and, yes, even fried beer. If you ever wonder why Southern states have some of the highest obesity rates in the country, look no further than the variety of fried foods that are available.

Not everything is greasy and fried, though. The South is also home to some of the best seafood in the country. That fact becomes truer the closer you get to either the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts. Proximity to the water matters, because it means people can eat the seafood while it’s still incredibly fresh. Freezing the food and shipping it to places further inland often means the food loses some of its flavor. If you want to consume freshly caught crab, look to a place like the Rustic Inn Crabhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There’s an ongoing debate about whether Florida should be classified as part of the South or the Southeast. Either way, the seafood is hard to beat. Start with some fried calamari or fresh oysters for the table, then move on to some Alaskan Queen Crab Legs or broiled flounder.

West Coast Dining

There’s a never-ending rivalry between the East and West Coasts when it comes to things like sports teams, music, and, perhaps most importantly, food. The West Coast is generally a bit more experimental, because it’s “newer” and less established than the cities all along the Eastern seaboard. You may have noticed that a sandwich with the word “California” in its name often includes avocado, because avocado is a big crop in the Golden State. California residents love to start their meal with some chips and guacamole, followed immediately by a burrito that’s the size of a small toddler.

The East Coast is more about tradition, but that doesn’t mean the food is boring. Comfort foods, such as casseroles and stews, are a bigger deal in places like New England. New Yorkers can get downright defensive about the quality of their pizza, maybe because of the strong history of Italian food that exists in that part of the country. There’s nothing like some good wine with your pasta or pizza, either. New Jersey has a ton of great Italian restaurants with servings so big you’ll probably need a to-go box. Make sure to stop by Joe Canal’s liquor outlet on the way home for a merlot or riesling that pairs well with the leftovers. Remember not to overindulge on either pasta or wine to avoid being sick the next day.