As the New York Giants and New England Patriots head to Super Bowl XLVI, PBS Food takes a different look at the two teams. One food blogger from each region shares their city’s best cuisine for the perfect football buffet, and you can decide for yourself which side wins our “Super Food Faceoff!”
Boston and the New England region as a whole takes great pride in its seafood traditions. Food bloggers John and Lin of BeantownEats provide a tour of the delicious, native cuisine that New England has to offer.
Fish and Chips: It’s no stretch of the historical imagination to envision Paul Revere plotting his famous midnight sitting at a booth of the Green Dragon, one of the country’s oldest restaurants. Established in 1657, some will tell you it’s Americas first pub. And while we Americans may have “stolen” one of Green Dragon’s best dishes from our neighbors across the pond, there’s no denying that classic Fish and Chips has become a New England staple. The batter may vary as well as the fish, however cod remains the local favorite for deep frying. A dash of malt vinegar on your fries and now your eating like a true local.
Oysters: Just a horse-length away from the Green Dragon sits another Boston staple: Union Oyster House, a Boston destination for history and food. While Union may get all of the credit, it’s the locally-sourced oyster farms spread across New England that truly deserve it.
New England Clam Chowder: You know it’s a regional must-have when the region is a part of the name. Traditional clam chowder is a creamy base thickened with flour, with clams, potatoes, onions and seasoning. Some will add thyme, some will add dill, and most will top with oyster crackers, but no matter what recipe you prefer, clam chowder is staple during any New England season.
Boston Creme Pie: One hundred fifty-five years ago, the Omni Parker House created the famous Boston Creme Pie: a round cake (which actually makes it a cake and not a true pie), split in half and filled with creme or custard, then topped with chocolate. You can still get a slice of the original at the Omni Parker House and celebrate the official dessert of Massachusetts.
Maine Lobster: Had Paul Revere continued his ride past Lexington, MA and reached Maine, he might have refueled with some native Maine Lobster. Boiled. Broiled. Baked. Stuffed. There are many ways to prepare lobster, but there is little debate about from where the best lobster is caught: Maine. A staple in all seasons, one of the more common ways to prepare Maine lobster is in a Lobster Roll. Generally served on a buttered and grilled bun, tender pieces of lobster meat is mixed with either with a light mayo seasoning, or in its more true form with a simple touch of butter. Either way, this staple showcases one of New England’s delicacies.
Whoopie Pie: Be sure to save room for dessert! While the debate over the origin of whoopie pies continues over Maine and Pennsylvania, there’s no denying this rich dessert of creme filling in between two chocolate cakes is one to be savored.
Corn Chowder: Heading west from Maine and into New Hampshire, one might feast on the state’s local food, Corn Chowder. Thick, creamy and delicious, New Hampshire’s chowder replaces clams and potatoes with bacon and corn.
Ben & Jerry’s: Continuing west into the state of Freedom and Unity, Vermont is most famous for its cheddar cheese, maple syrup and more recently, the ice cream kings, Ben and Jerry’s. What started in 1978 as a corner shop in downtown Burlington has turned into an international ice cream giant. Taking traditional flavors and adding non-traditional ingredients, Ben and Jerry’s has spawned creations like Chubby Hubby (vanilla ice cream with fudge, peanut butter and pretzels), Cherry Garcia (cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes) and even a friendly neighborly nod with the Boston Creme Pie (cream pie ice cream with cake pieces, fudge flakes and pastry cream swirls).
Hamburger: Nothing says classic American food like a hamburger, and Connecticut can lay claim to placing a juicy beef patty in between two bread slices at Louis’ Lunch back in 1895. One certainly doesn’t have to travel all the way to Connecticut for a good burger now-a-days, but the hamburger puts the Constitution State on the food map of New England.
Stuffed Quahogs: Last but not least, the Ocean State brings some tasty food to New England’s food history. Quahogs, pronounced “co-hogs,” are large clams whose shells are stuffed with a base of bread and clam meat with additions that will vary by recipe, but sometimes include Portuguese meats like chourico or linguica. With a fresh squirt of lemon and perhaps a small pad of butter, these Rhode Island staples are enjoyed in every New England season.
Rhode Island-Style Calamari: Whereas traditional Italian fried calamari is usually served with marinara sauce, Rhode Island has put its mark on this dish with their own preparation: lightly tossed in a garlic and oil sauce and served with hot peppers. You don’t have to travel to Rhode Island for calamari, but their preparation has its place on the New England food map.
Of course this list is just the highlight reel of the food created and enjoyed in New England. The region is steeped with patriotic history that includes some of the country’s oldest restaurants, taverns and establishments alike. So whether you are cheering on our Patriots from a restaurant, bar or the comfort of your own home, be sure to enjoy some of New England’s best food! Go Pats!
BeantownEats is a food and drink website out of Boston, MA. At BeantownEats, co-founders Jon and Lin strive to bring readers the latest Boston food news, fun and useful reviews of restaurants and bars, creative recipes and much more! You can follow Lin on Twitter at @Beantown_Eats for everything food-related, and Jon at @BeantownDrinks for your imbibing pleasure. You can contact them both at firstname.lastname@example.org.