Nothing says New York to me like a slice of pizza at 3am after a night of drinking. And nothing says Philadelphia like an oozing, dripping Philly Cheesesteak when I wake up with that hangover. I can’t think of Paris without the baguette, or the whole state of California without the avocado. To me, when I arrive somewhere, it’s the local fare that offers the best insight into the city. When I travel, I want to know what the homegrown cuisine is, and where the locals go to get it.
Lucky for me (and you!), I got the inside scoop, and will now give you REAL recommendations from REAL natives.
“Poutine” by Jonathunder – Wikimedia Commons
Our kind neighbors to the north have an epic dish called poutine. If you haven’t come across this down in The States, it’s a mountain of French fries with cheese curd and brown gravy. Are you drooling? If you make it up to Montreal, and you want to know where to get this genius combination of flavors, it’s not at La Banquise (the classic everyone knows), but rather Restaurant A.A. on Rue Notres Dame. A hole in the wall Quebecois diner that makes poutine the right way. Magically, the fries stay crispy under the gravy soup. Ch’te dis!
(Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The couple whacks I’ve had at Tex-Mex have not disappointed (despite my devotion to Cali-Mex). Nothing says Houston Tex-Mex like Tacos al Carbon, or steak fajita tacos without the sizzling platter to contend with. A straight shooter, this dish from the Lone Star State. One native swore by Ninfas on Navigation for her tacos al carbon, while her fiancé insisted that Teotihuacan Mexican Café in the Heights, and the original on Irvington, serve up not only some of the best tacos al carbon, but probably the best all-around Tex Mex experience — “cheap, hand-squeezed lime margaritas, beans & Spanish rice and tortillas on the side of every entree, and a small, festive atmosphere.” He added, “All that said, Ninfas on Navigation is GROUND ZERO for Tacos al Carbon. You’s either have to start or end there.”
Well, all right then.