No matter which side of the political landscape you fall on, there’s one thing that will receive likely everyone’s vote of approval on Election Day: the food scene in America. The United States is a mecca for culinary tastes and traditions, and whether you’re in the Deep South, the heart of the Midwest or the southernmost point of the United States, you’re sure to find cities with classic regional foods all their own. Before you cast your vote on Tuesday, taste some of the best bites this country has to offer with our cross-country tour of cities’ and regions’ favorite foods and flavors.
Start your eating adventure out west and dig into a plate of California-cool tacos, like these Baja Fish Tacos (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. They come together in just 20 quick minutes, thanks to quick-cooking halibut. The secret to this top-rated recipe is the tangy-sweet slaw that’s added right before serving. It’s made with red cabbage, creamy mayonnaise, zesty lime juice and a bit of honey, and serves as a refreshing complement to the deep-fried fish.
Moving into the Midwest, the food becomes heartier and a tad starchier. In Chicago, it’s pizza that reigns supreme, with the Windy City being famous for its deep-dish pies, many boasting more crust than toppings. Robert Irvine stays true to the classic preparation in his Deep-Dish Pizza, making a from-scratch crust and finishing it with a hearty sausage-laced tomato sauce and creamy mozzarella cheese.
In the heart of Texas, brisket is best. Many die-hard barbecue lovers devote hours on end to slowly smoking this large cut of beef with a spice rack worth of flavors. But just because it’s autumn and you may not have your own backyard smoker doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in this southern staple. Food Network Magazine relies on a timeless slow-cooker to create its Slow-Cooker Brisket Sandwiches indoors. These open-face beauties (pictured left) boast tender, juicy meat with a bold flavoring of soy sauce, Dijon mustard and brown sugar on top of brioche buns. Like smoked brisket recipes, this one, too, takes a few hours to prepare, but the beauty of using a slow-cooker is that it will do the work for you. Just fill the cooker with the prepared ingredients in the morning and come home to a ready-to-eat meal later.
Give a nod to the East Coast by cooking up a regional favorite: clam chowder. Food Network Magazine takes a traditional New England-style recipe and makes it lighter in its Low-Fat Clam Chowder. It’s just as warm and comforting as original versions, but it’s made with half-and-half and only a bit of butter instead of heavy cream.