What's the most iconic dish to come out of your state? For me, as a Californian, it has to be the French Dip sandwich. Born at Philippe's in Los Angeles, that savory, soggy piece of meat heaven is now a staple at gastro pubs across the nation.
According to a brand new food festival, though, my pick for the Golden State's impactful dish should be the fish taco, not the French Dip. I see where the points can be made, but does that mean one is really more deserving over the other?
Photo courtesy of Flavored Nation
These are the kinds of debates Flavored Nation wants to inspire with their unique new festival. They've curated what they claim to the emblematic eats of all 50 states into a single festival. Taking place August 11 and 12 in Columbus, Ohio, they're inviting top chefs from around the country to serve up their takes on these state legends.
Flavored Nation head of content David Rosengarten called making the list "an amazing adventure and challenge" because of what the team had to choose from. With several states having multiple candidates for the most iconic dish, narrowing down to 50 was hard. However, "through exhaustive research, consumer input via social media and conversations with state tourism boards, we've mapped it out," he said in a press release.
Everyone's gonna have their own opinions on the accuracy of this map, but there are definitely some notables missing. Sure, the Philly cheesesteak appears to be a no-brainer, but what about the roasted pork sandwich that's become just as popular in Pennsylvania? Does Florida's Cubano sandwich really deserve to get snubbed by Key Lime Pie? And why does Wild Rice Soup make the cut for Minnesota when their claim to fame is arguably the cheese-stuffed Juicy Lucy burger?
David Gore, the executive producer of Flavored Nation, hopes that his festival will generate these conversations.
"We want to fuel debate about local favorites and at the same time spur discovery people crave," Gore said. "Providing access to other state and regional dishes that, for most, will be brand new."
While Flavored Nation may be taking the controversial route to spur that discussion, it's notable that they're bringing together the most iconic dish from every state under one roof. It's a unique and tasty way for attendees to both taste the rest of the country and voice why their local favorite should be present the next time around.