the RIGHT coast ;)
as i've been re-acclimatizing to being an east-coaster (both at-heart, and in location), i've been reflecting on things the east coast offers that the west does not (and i'll throw in a few of the reverse, to be fair).
the first, and biggest, has been the pizza. california's pizza is incredibly varied, and a lot of it is pseudo-gourmet, often with a flaky, crunchy crust. none of them (in my humble opinion) match east coast pizza, and only a very few came close (amici's, north beach). a lot of them were good in and of themselves, but overall did not compare to east coast pizza. two of my favorite pizzerias in NJ are Lenny's in bernardsville (try the "casa" or the "bolognese"), and Sienna's in basking ridge (try their fresh tomato basil and garlic - UNbelievable).
in reverse, california has incredible mexican...and it's EVerywhere...and ALL of them are great. the east coast cannot and will not ever touch cali's authentic and plentiful mexican food.
this is an obscure one. now, one might think, that with a retailer as big as Entenmann's, the distribution of their products would be wide and standard. not so. i have long been a slave to entenmann's crumb-topped donuts (NOT the devil's food ones, might i add). i love anticipating the end of the box, when i get to down all the stray crumbs that have fallen off the former donut residents. now, california, for some reason, does not carry their CRUMB TOPPED DONUTS. even their variety pack, which normally contains two crumb topped, had powdered instead!! what's with that!? is there some regulation embargo excluding crumb topped donuts from entering the state of california? what's up arnold? i think i went through withdrawal my first couple months in sanfran.
this one is unique to NJ, and to a few surrounding areas. two words people: taylor. ham. also known as porkroll. this is one amazing meat. my arteries probably hate me for eating this, but i can't resist, even if it has taken years off my life - i will die happy. the flavor and the tang of this meat is beyond compare. it is typically eaten as a breakfast meat, and in particular on breakfast sandwiches - such as a porkroll, egg and cheese on a hardroll. during college summers i worked maintenance at a county park, and we'd order from this great deli every morning for break. i had about 90 porkroll sandwiches that summer. i prefer mine with a toasted hardroll, and with salt, pepper, ketchup and mayo. exquisite.
california has infinite places where you can get great, fresh sushi. i first started eating sushi on the east coast, but california has amazing sushi BY far (i loved the creative rolls at godzila in sanfran, and the hawaiian roll at mollie stone's).
yes, i've noticed that these all revolve around food. i guess that's where my heart lies.