BOSTON (CBS) – On February 4, New England and Philadelphia will go to battle in Minnesota. There will be plenty of smack talk about what will go down on the football field, but instead let’s get down to a battle that really matters: Food Wars. Which Super Bowl city has the best signature food?
THE LOBSTER ROLL vs. THE CHEESESTEAK
Ahhh, the signature sandwiches. One, a crusty roll filled with meat and gooey cheese, the other a soft roll filled with seafood and just enough mayo.
If you are seeking an authentic Philly Cheesesteak, most people will tell you to head to South Philly and pick between Geno’s and Pat’s – or try both. They are right across the street from each other, and open 24-7. Cheese Whiz is the cheese of choice, but you can go for Provolone or American instead, and with or without fried onions. The correct way to order is ‘One wit, whiz’ (cheesesteak with onions and Cheese Whiz) or ‘One wit-out, Provolone’ (cheesesteak, no onions, with Provolone).
New Englanders love their lobster, especially when plucked from the shell and arranged on a roll. How do you identify an amazing lobster roll? It comes on a grilled, buttered roll, mixed with either a little mayonnaise, or a little warm butter, overstuffed with sweet, tender lobster meat. Making the top of many customers’ lists are Neptune Oyster or Row 34 if you’re in Boston; The Raw Bar in Mashpee if you’re on the Cape; or Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, if you’re up north. But there are literally dozens and dozens of spots in between serving top notch creations.
CLAM CHOWDER vs. SOFT PRETZEL
Moving on to the ‘less than a meal’ category, we have soup versus the soft pretzel.
New England continues on its seafood run. Not to be confused with that red, runny Manhattan variety, New England Clam Chowder is white and creamy, packed with fresh clams and potatoes. By far, the most famous version is made by Boston-based Legal Seafoods. Their chowder has been on the menu at every Presidential Inauguration since 1981. While it is featured on most menus as an appetizer, when done right this soup course can easily fill you up.
The Philadelphia Soft Pretzel is not that heart-shaped version you buy at your local convenience store. You can identify a Philly pretzel by its unique, stretched figure 8 shape. The best ones are doughy, chewy, a little crisp on the outside, then salted and topped with mustard. When in Philly, you don’t have to travel far to find these hearty treats. Street vendors sell them out of carts along many of the well-traveled city streets.
NORTH END CANNOLI vs. TOMATO PIE
Now to pit adopted Italian food against adopted Italian food.
Few desserts send people flocking to a specific spot like the Cannoli in Boston’s North End. Much like the Pat’s/Geno’s rivalry, there is a great debate between Mike’s Pastry, Modern Pastry, and even Maria’s when it comes to cannoli. Whichever you choose, you’ll find freshly fried, light, crispy pastry shells filled with sweet, ricotta cream. Standing in the long line outside Mike’s for one of more than a dozen cannoli varieties is a North End rite of passage. At Modern and Maria’s you get the bonus of filled-to-order shells, for the crispest result.
Sicilian immigrants to the city of Philadelphia brought along what has become a signature city dish. For those not familiar with Tomato Pie, it is a thick, focaccia-like rectangular pizza, without the cheese, served at room temperature. If you’re from Rhode Island, you know these as pizza strips, but South Philly holds claim as Tomato Pie home base. You can grab a square or a whole pie at most bakeries and pizzerias in the area.
NEW ENGLAND HONORABLE MENTIONS: Rhode Island Stuffies, Boston Cream Pie
PHILADELPHIA HONORABLE MENTIONS: Scrapple, Water Ice