The Best of the Best of 15 Famous American Foods

Yes, obesity is a problem in the United States, but given how much amazing food we have, it’s hard not to stuff your face. Cities and restaurants fight to the death over who has the best version of a signature dish, but the results are in folks: these are the best of the best of 15 famous American foods.

1. Pizza:

Flickr: scaredykat / Creative Commons

Flickr: scaredykat / Creative Commons

Everybody loves pizza. Since I am from Chicago I am particularly partial to the go-to delivery food. According to TheDailyMeal.com, this pizza is the best. Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, Connecticut has won two years in a row with its White Clam Pizza. TheDailyMeal.com‘s executive editor, Arthur Bovino, and 77 experts tasted 700 pizzas from around the county and decided that this pie, topped with clams, grated parmesan, cheese, olive oil, garlic, and oregano. This looks delicious, yes, but I am a cheese pizza girl, through and through.

2. Hamburger:

Flickr: danniao / Creative Commons

Flickr: danniao / Creative Commons

The Habit Burger Grill in Santa Barbara, California took the crown in 2014 by Consumer Reports. Its Charburger, which promises 100% fresh ground beef cooked over an open flame. The signature burger is pretty classic and includes “mayonnaise, pickle, fresh tomato, lettuce and caramelized onions on a toasted bun.” The burger beat out the likes of Five Guys and In-N-Out. Habit Burger has expanded to Arizona and Utah and the company has plans to move it around the US. I find it hard to believe that the Habit Burger is better than my personal fave, Pie’n Burger in Pasadena, California, but clearly America has spoken.

3. Sandwich:

Flickr: thegirlsny / Creative Commons

Flickr: thegirlsny / Creative Commons

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to the winner of Adam Richman’s The Best Sandwich In America. You know him, he’s the Travel Channel’s resident garbage disposal that travels the world and eats everything. He chose DiNic’s roasted pork sandwich topped with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe. I hate sandwiches but even I will admit how tasty that looks.

4. Cake:

Flickr: katiebordner / Creative Commons

Flickr: katiebordner / Creative Commons

When it comes to cake, it really is “to each their own.” I will always be a chocolate cake with vanilla icing fan, but according to the Huffington Post, the Burnt Almond Torte from Prantl’s Bakery in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania is the best cake ever. I don’t like nuts, so this is type of cake is not my forte, but the fact that the New York-based judges chose a cake that wasn’t from the Big Apple is a pretty big deal. The cake is described as “airy” and is frosted with very light buttercream frosting. There is a thin layer of custard through the middle and is topped with powdered sugar before the entire cake is encased in candied almond slivers.

5. BBQ:

Flickr: tastytouring / Creative Commons

Flickr: tastytouring / Creative Commons

Barbecue is the ultimate summer (and tailgating) food. TripAdvisor compiled a list of the top BBQ joints in the US based on the site’s user ratings. Franklin Barbecue of Austin, Texas came out on top. No surprise that the best barbecue is in Texas, but apparently the ribs, brisket, and sausages are so good that people wait upwards of three hours just to get their hands on it. My sister went to school in Austin. I wish I had known that when I visited her. Though, then again, it may be for the better — I probably would have never left.

6. Cookies:

Flickr: jwalsh_ / Creative Commons

Flickr: jwalsh_ / Creative Commons

I love Mrs. Field’s cookies as much as anyone (particularly these ones.) According to thedailymeal.com, the best cookies in America is found in one of New York’s five boroughs: Brooklyn. Oprah, David Bebovita, and Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman, can’t get enough of Baked NYC’s Chocolate Cloud Cookies. The dense chocolate cookie is jam packed with delicious fudge and lightly coated in powdered sugar. Yum!

7. Hot Dog:

Flickr: cherrylet / Creative Commons

Flickr: cherrylet / Creative Commons

As a Chicagoan, I take great pride in the fact that the best hot dog is from the Windy City. According to Time’s Travel + Leisure section, the top dog of dogs can be found at the Belly Shack in Chicago, Illinois.  At just $10, you can get their winning frank: the Belly Dog, which is loaded with egg noodles and pickled green papaya. Don’t forget the famous spicy togarashi fries and curry mayo!

8. Cocktail:

So I don’t know if this cocktail is the best, but it’s among the 29 Best Cocktails in America picked by the Restaurant Hospitality editorial staff and it’s the one I want to try most, so there. This pink beauty is called the Ponchatoula Punch and is created by Lu Brow, the bar chef at Café Adelaide in New Orleans. The punch is named after the town of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, which calls itself “The Strawberry Capital of the World.” The drink is composed of Oryza Gin, light crème de cacao, Solerno Blood Orange liqueur, simple syrup, Free Brothers Rhubarb Bitters, sliced strawberries, and thyme. I would justify this as healthy and a part of my necessary daily fruit intake.

9. Ice Cream:

Flickr: lynnder / Creative Commonrs

Flickr: lynnder / Creative Commonrs

If you want the best ice cream in America, pack your bags and head on over to Island Creamery on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. According to the ratings and rankings on TripAdvisor, the Island Creamery has offered a variety of the best homemade ice cream since 1975. They make 34 different flavors daily, and you can even get your favorite flavors made into a delicious ice cream cake!

10. Burrito:

Flickr: wallyg / Creative Commons

Flickr: wallyg / Creative Commons

I am in no way a burrito connoisseur, but I trust ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight. They analyzed data on 67,391 restaurants and found the top 64 burritos in the United States. Ever the dedicated bunch, they set out and tried all 64, giving the winning title to the Carnitas Burrito at La Taqueria in San Francisco, California. This place is super casual (it doesn’t even have a website) so this just goes to show that you don’t need to be the biggest or the fanciest to be the best.

11. Pie:

Flickr: bhamsandwich / Creative Commons

Flickr: bhamsandwich / Creative Commons

#1 on the list of Top Ten Best Places for Pie by Bon Appetit is Pielab in Greensboro, Alabama. The motto of the place, which is a pie shop, a restaurant, and a community marketplace is: “Pie + Conversation = Social Change.” This is a little too hipster for me, but I trust Bon Appetit. If they say that this is the best apple pie in America, I am inclined to believe them.

11. Beer:

The True Blonde Ale from the Ska Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado took home the gold for the second year in row from the Great American Beer Festival. The judges gave this beer the gold medal in English-Style Summer Ale. Just to put the win into perspective: the GABF judges are responsible for awarding gold, silver, and bronze to three of 5,500 beers within 84 categories. I always had this unproven theory (especially with ranking of vodka) that the last tasted one always wins because the judges are so trashed that they don’t know what they are tasting.

12. Cupcakes:

Flickr: m01229 / Creative Commons

Flickr: m01229 / Creative Commons

As I live and breathe, I will always swear that Sprinkles has the best cupcakes. And they have a cupcake ATM so if you get a hankering at 3am, nothing can stop you. That being said, America (and SheKnows.com) has spoken and the winner is Magnolia Bakery. It was first opened in 1996 in the West Village of Manhattan. They have since expanded to LA, Chicago, and even internationally. Because of my love of Sprinkles, I haven’t tried Magnolia’s, but given its rave reviews, maybe I should.

14. Fries:

Flickr: zebrafx / Creative Commons

Flickr: zebrafx / Creative Commons

USA Today went through great lengths to find the “perfect fries.” First, they defined the competitions, only allowing standard potatoes (not that sweet potato / avocado / yucca BS.) While the list did include fries that have special sauces and truffles, the fries, themselves, must stand alone. Second, they created a list of the best fries in America, using previous awards and publications to define the ranking. After all of this, and some taste-testing, they completed their Top Ten and the fries at The Breslin Bar & Dining Room in the Ace Hotel in New York City. Chef April Bloomfield and restauranteur Ken Friedman must have the magic touch because they have perfected the french fry. Known on their menu as “thrice-cooked chips” are (duh) fried three times, which results in a crispy crust with a creamy potato center. The fries are thick-cut and served with a cumin mayo. Getting #1 is a big deal as these (relatively) plain fries beat out the duck fat and truffles that ended up lower on the list. BURN.

15. Chili:

This just might be the world’s tastiest heart attack. As the only food on this list from a food truck, the Institute of Chili must have one hell of a chili to win the first prize from Food & Wine. Parked right next to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, the food truck was inspired by “chili queens” — street food pioneers described in Texas history. Cook Ana Fernandez uses a modified version of chili that she found in the Institute of Texan Cultures’ archives. She provides hungry texans with a mixture of ground chuck and beef brisket, spiced with a blend of fresh and dried peppers. The food truck’s menu also includes corn bread, tamales, and a brisket burger.

Bottom Line: Food Road Trip!

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