There's a not-very-scientific state-by-state power ranking over at Thrillist where they ranked each state's food/drink prowess using four criteria:
1. What did they produce (beef, oranges, ugh, sorghum?)
2. What iconic items were they known for (key lime pie? onion burgers?),
3. What is their beer/wine/spirits production like (great/brewerieswineries?)
4. What is the food/drink scene like in their cities?
Like I said, a not-very-scientific approach that's sure to not be controversial in any possible way, right? Here's the bottom 5 ranked states:
49. South Dakota
50. North Dakota
Looks like the Dakotas aren't getting any love here on the culinary front, but I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to Fargo, North Dakota which is the setting for the fantastic FX show Fargo. If you haven't seen it, check it out on your next trip!
Here's the ranking of the top 5 states:
5. Illinois: Having traveled monthly to Chicago/Evanston for a couple years, I'm definitely familiar with the food scene here. Some of my favorites eats from those trips include steakhouses (David Burke's, Gibons), hot dogs (Hot Doug's, Superdawg) and upscale dining (Next, Schwa, Purple Pig, Girl and the Goat). Also, throw in Garrett's popcorn, frozen custard, and of course deep dish pizza and I can see why Illinois is ranked so highly.
4. Louisiana: When I think of Lousiana I think of beignets, crawfish, jambalaya, po' boys, and lots and lots and lots of Cajun spices. I've still never made to to the state, but New Orleans is high on my list.
3. New York: No surprise that the top 3 states from their rankings are among the biggest, so naturally they just have more options. But the food scene in New York really is fantastic. I'm still full from my recent trip there where I visited Smorgasburg a.k.a. food heaven.
2. Texas: This was a bit of a surprise to me, but I guess everything's bigger in Texas! I still haven't been to the state, and would love to get recommendations on where to find some good ol' Texas BBQ.
1. California: Maybe I take it for granted it at times, but I guess we do have really good food here. I'm working on building out a food guide of my favorite places to eat around the San Francisco/Bay Area, so more to come on this topic later.
So what do you think about the rankings? Send me recommendations on your favorites places to eat in each state!