Since we've already gotten our doom and gloom on by looking at the most unique ways to die in
each state, let's turn our data-loving minds to something a little
more cheerful this time 'round: The most unique favorite food in each
state. Food is kind of the best, so it's guaranteed to be a good
This lovely interactive map comes to us courtesy of Foursquare, who teamed up with Mapbox on the project. Admittedly Foursquare doesn't go into a heck of a lot of detail about how they arrived at each state's unique food choice, but apparently their data scientists “identified the singular tastes of all 50 states and D.C.” by using “a mix of data sets (menus, tips, ratings, and more) and normalizing for size against other states.” After that, the editorial team took a look at the data and selected what they found to be the “most special and unique [food] to each state.” To me, that methodology reads a little like, “We looked at some data, and then picked our favorite answer”… but maybe I'm wrong. They did come up with some entertaining results, and they even included the best 50 places in each state in which one might acquire the food in question, so points for that.
In no particular order, here's a closer look at 10 of my favorites; head on over to Foursquare to see the full interactive map. Warning: You might lose a few minutes of your day to it — it's loads of fun to play with. But hey, it's the day before a long weekend, so it's OK. Go! Have fun! And dream of lots of tasty eats!
1. Conch Fritters (Florida)
I've only had conch once, and I found it kind of rubbery and unpleasant. Maybe I just had bad conch, though (and it wasn't in a fritter, either). It is rather unique, so there's that, at least. Apparently Alabama Jack's is the best place to get it.
2. Toasted Ravioli (Missouri)
What the heck is “toasted ravioli?” Perhaps a misnomer — it's actually ravioli that have been breaded and deep-fried, not stuck in a toaster. It was created in St. Louis at a restaurant called Mama's on the Hill, so that's where you'l want to go to try it out.
3. Elk (Wyoming)
Of course Wyoming would enjoy elk. And of course the best place to get it would be called “Gun Barrel Steak and Game House.”
4. Ethiopian Food (Washington, D.C.)
Apparently our nation's capital craves Ethiopian food a mind-blowing 404 — yes, four hundred and four — percent more than anywhere else in the country. I can't say I blame them; Ethiopian food is delicious. Head to Dukem for the best of the best.
5. Juicy Lucy Burger (Minnesota)
I had no idea what a “Juicy Lucy burger” is, so I had to look it up. Wikipedia tells me that it's a burger with cheese both on top of the patty and inside of it, so… let's just say I can understand how the concept would be appealing. A place simply called Matt's Bar is apparently the spot to get your Juicy Lucy on.
6. Prickly Pear (Arizona)
It's not exactly surprising to me that Arizona loves prickly pear; the one time I visited, the stuff was everywhere — in candy, in margaritas, you name it. Locals love Scottsdale's Cien Agaves Tacos and Tequila for their prickly pear fix, although I'm not sure if it's for the cocktails or for something more noshable.
7. Sopapillas (New Mexico)
For the curious, a sopapilla is kind of similar to a donut, although it can apparently also be a quickbread, too. It looks delicious, and I would like to acquire one at some point in the near future. Alas, I do not live anywhere near New Mexico, so I will not be able to get my sopapilla fix at Tomasita's; Santa Fe is a long way from southern New Jersey.
8. Chicken Cheesesteak (Pennsylvania)
You guys. Pennsylvania has been lying to us. Apparently we shouldn't just go chowing down on your standard beef cheesesteak; we should be eating chicken ones instead. The delightfully named Ishkabibble's Eatery has the best ones, according to Foursquare. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go do something about the fact that my entire life has been a lie.
9. Mini Corn Dogs (Nebraska)
Not just corn dogs; mini corn dogs. That's adorable. Almost every location on the Foursquare map that serves them is denoted by the green star that means “THIS IS THE BEST!”, so you pretty much can't go wrong there.
10. Bottle Service (Nevada)
Oh, Vegas. Never change.