I've mentioned before that we've lived in a lot of places over the past decade. There are a lot of drawbacks to doing all that moving, but one of the fun aspects is getting a sense of local cuisine in several cities and towns.
Some of these are obvious: Pittsburgh's known for a number of local specialties, with the loaded sandwiches of Primanti Brothers being at the top of that list. Of course we tried their sandwiches loaded with fries and coleslaw--and yeah, they were good, though I'd still prefer my fries on the side (and no coleslaw at all, sorry). But some local traditions, like chipped ham, I don't think we ever sampled. Probably not the biggest loss.
In Ohio, we sought out some slightly interesting and disgusting nearby food institutions, and in Boone, NC, probably the most interesting regional "food" we found was the very popular "shrimp sauce" served and bottled at local hibachi restaurants. Mayo-based and not at all shrimpy, I think it might have been an annoying import from Florida, not unlike the terrible-driving summer tourists heading to the mountains.
So after spending several months here in New York's Capital Region, I was pleased to find that there were some local delights we could try--specifically the area's unique take on fish fry and the Watervliet/Troy mini hot dogs. We headed to these two places not only to sample some unique area specialties, but to get a brief glimpse into a city's or neighborhood's past, a look into restaurants that, for whatever reason, have been able to persist and succeed over the course of several generations when most of their peers fell off the landscape.