Many parts of the country are identified by a favorite and famous food. Philly Cheesesteaks are perhaps the most famous, but there are Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza, Maryland Crab cakes, Wisconsin Cheese Curds, Florida’s Key Lime pie, Maine Lobster roll, New Orleans Po-boy sandwich, California In-n-out burgers , and many others .
On our recent trip to Cambria, we had a Chicago specialty that was new to me. It had already been gifted to our guests and stored in the freezer due to Covid disruption to gatherings. It was called Italian Portillo Beef. Some of our cousins had had this in Chicago and were thrilled with it. Well, even after being frozen (including the buns) it was amazing.
How was this done, I wondered. Google found me a site I had never seen (sadly) called The food pirate. He is a guy who tries to copy the preparation methods of various recipes, even secret ones. What a discovery for me, but obviously I was late to the party, since it’s been around for years, and it was even a TV series. No matter; it’s mine now, and if it’s new to you, that’s fine too.
This is the link to his Portillo Italian Beef Recipe. I guarantee I will as soon as I find the local butcher who can slice that thinly.
I lived in New Jersey, so I had some real ideal Philly Cheesesteaks. I order them here in California. They try hard, but something is missing. Coincidentally, in today’s food section, the editor searched for the best Cheesesteak. The best, she concluded, comes from a local food truck. I’m going to try.
What is your local specialty? Local or regional? Do you make it yourself? Do you introduce your guests and/or visitors to your regional specialty? Do they approve, even if it’s Haggis or Lutefisk? Do they ever come back?