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ILLINOIS

Pizza, Bratwurst and Sausage

Chicago PizzaMost people of heard of Chicago style pizza, but have you ever had Bratwurst pizza? Actually, we're just kidding - Chicago is known for both great pizzas and Polish bratwurst and sausage.


LOUISIANA

New Orleans Crawfish

Jambalaya, Po-Boys, Black beans over rice and Crawfish

Craving a different kind of food? If you are looking for spicy or unusual, consider trying one of the many classic foods of New Orleans. Known for Cajun and Creole cooking, there are a variety of dishes which will tempt your taste buds. Jambalaya is a mixture of crawfish, andouille sausage, peppers, onions and rice. My favorite is black beans and rice, a moderately spicy dish which isn't too high in calories and provides good protein. Po-Boys are a submarine style sandwich commonly made with seafood, but you can find variations with lunch meat, roast beef and even french fries. A cousin sandwich is the muffalatta, which is a Southern version of the Northern "hoagie" or sub. Not to be forgotten is crawfish, a shell fish similar to shrimp, but smaller. Crawfish can be eaten plain, but are also found in many dishes mixed with other ingredients notably rice and andouille sausage. Especially popular is crawfish etoufee, which is served at many of the finer establishments in New Orleans. There are great recipes for creating these New Orleans dishes in your own home if you don't have the time to visit their famous origins.

MARYLAND

Crab cakes and fresh steamed crabs

Maryland CrabcakesIf you love seafood, chances are you enjoy crab cakes. Author James Michener- when researching and writing his famous novel "Chesapeake"- spent a lot of time along the shores of Chesapeake Bay, specifically in a town called Oxford, home to the Robert Morris Inn (Robert Morris was a signer of the Declaration of Independence) and Michener pronounced that the Robert Morris Inn had the "best crab cakes" in the region. What is a crab cake? Although many restaurants use fillers such as flour, corn meal and other substances- the best crab cakes are nearly 100% lump crab meat with only a slight amount of flour and eggs to hold it together. Served fried, baked or broiled, crab cakes are delicious and when accompanied by a remoulade sauce, they are exquisite. Maryland Blue Crabs are highliy sought after- and not just by hammer-wielding, hungry seafood afficionados. Lovers of steamed crabs claim you can enjoy them almost anywhere along the coast- but Baltimore and the restaurants along the Chesapeake Bay pride themselves on having the freshest Maryland Blue Crabs which are the tastiest available. Places like the Chesapeake Inn and the Bayard House in Chesapeake City with their waterfront locations along the historic C&D Canal offer dining in a pleasant atmosphere, along with Woody's in North East, Maryland and establishments along the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore- delicious fresh crabs are available which any seafood lover will enjoy.

MASSACHUSETTS

Clam Chowder

New England Clam ChowderWhat could taste better on a cold winter day than a steaming bowl of New England clam chowder? This is the white creamy version (not to be confused with the red Manhattan variety) and New Englanders pronounce the name "chowdah". Typical ingredients include clams, potatoes, bacon, onions and cream or half and half. The chowder is served with oyster crackers on the side - add a cold beer and you are in culinary heaven. Many places boast the best chowder around as when we visited Martha's Vineyard. We tried the clam chowder in several restaurants and although some were spicier or thicker, all of them were delicious! Even American novelist Herman Melville loved chowder so much he dedicated a chapter in Moby Dick to the wonderful dish.

MICHIGAN

Cherries

Michigan CherriesIf you love fruit pies, then you will love the world's largest cherry pie, baked in celebration of the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City each year. Known as the 'cherry tree capital of the world', the Traverse Bay Region in northern Michigan is the leading grower of tart cherries. Michigan overall is the largest producer of cherries worldwide. If you find yourself in northern Michigan, be sure to enjoy the many products made from their cherries including pies, preserves, pastries and toppings.

MISSOURI

Barbecue

Kansas City BarbequeUniquely Southern, barbecue is something for which there is no real substitute. Hundreds of different recipes for the "perfect" barbecue have been proposed and published over the years- but one thing is certain- the most authentic, most tasteful and delicious barbecue can be found in the Southern states. Pork or beef are the most common foods cooked in the barbecue process. Kansas City and Memphis both claim to have the "best" barbecue in the world- but the varieties will often surprise you. The marinade (sauce) in which the pork or beef is basted can differ widely from region to region. Some barbecue sauces have more of a tomato base... others more of a mustard base... still others are a combination of a wide variety of spices, herbs, pork drippings and other "secret" ingredients. In fact, some people cherish their recipes so much- they keep them hidden from all but those involved in the cooking process. Nonetheless, you can experience barbecue at its best in Kansas City, Memphis and many other Southern cities, including regional varieties such as "Texas BBQ" and Arkansas barbecue... enjoy!!

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