In Northern California, I learned about the magical cut of beef called tri-tip. And I still can't cook it properly. I discovered Mexican street tacos sprinkled with refreshing cilantro, onion and lime. My first time savoring gelato was in California too.
In South Carolina, I developed an appreciation for great BBQ. Pulled pork with a delicious bark, fantastic mustard-based sauce and don't forget the decadent sweet potato casserole and banana pudding. I learned to avoid sweet tea, that vile substance you get by default when ordering "iced tea". I learned you can turn summer squash into a cheesy casserole. And interestingly enough, I further developed my love of Mexican street tacos at one of the few hidden gems in our tiny town.
Here in Arizona, I'm still learning about Mexican and Southwestern specialties. I had never tried a chile relleno before moving here (or actually knew what one was). Now it's the only thing I order at one of our usual restaurants. Chilaquiles - crisp tortillas smothered with chicken, cheese, salsa verde and an egg - is another new delicious discovery for me. I actually learned how to make tamales, having only eaten them a handful of times in the past.
Because I'm so obsessed with food, I'm sure I'd still have a curious palate if I never left Ohio. But I'm thankful for being able to live in other corners of the country to experience authentic regional cuisine. The only downside is now I get cravings for dishes I can't drive around the corner for anymore! Fruit nachos, I'm talking to you.