Living near Washington DC I can confirm that blue crabs are the specialty. But they are tricky to learn how to pick and for a one timer you will leave hungry and disappointed if you are not shown the ropes. The easy way is to order crab imperial or crab cakes. I prefer the former even thought the region, especially Baltimore, is better know for the crab cakes. The difference is crab cakes incorporate break crumbs in some form. Crab imperial is all crab with spices and a sauce.
When you come to the states you simply have to try barbecue. There are certain regions such at Memphis, Texas and a few others that are famous for their BBQ. But you can find it anywhere throughout the country. Just ask a local where a good BBQ place is. What I mean by BBQ is grilled ribs or chicken with a red tomato BBQ sauce.
Here's a link: http://www.greatbbqrestaurants.com/
[ Edit: Edited on 03-Dec-2011, at 06:27 by DaveinMD ]
I know we are talking food but please consider the weather when arriving in Feb. Boston will be waaaaay below freezing, that time of year, you may want to consider the south as your first destination.
Philly Cheesesteaks. Eat them there and take some for the road...
Catch a few episodes of the show 'Man vs Food' for some inspiration! He travels the USA, visiting famous eateries in each of his stops and showcasing the food that that region is legendary for. He also gets involved in all those crazy food challenges that restaurants have eg. eat 10 of our spiciest, most throat-burning, tear-inducing wings and we'll put your photo on the wall. Entertaining show and I'm sure it'd help your research
I loved eating out while in the USA. Theres lots of cheaper restaurants and the food just tastes darned good!
If you crave beef, there are a few places in Texas and California that present the challenge to eat a huge steak completely and get a free meal:
the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas, where you have to eat a 72 oz. steak in one hour to get it for free
in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties (California) there is a place called AJ Spurs where the steak is a 32 oz. top sirloin, and if you finish the entire thing, it is free
(yes, it's true that you will see larger people in the USA!!!)
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jan-2012, at 07:03 by Daawgon ]
New York actually has three Chinatowns and they are all very different. The most touristy one is the one in Manhattan, but the one in Flushing (Queens) reminds me a lot more of Hong Kong and is a very different and wonderful experience. The Brooklyn version in Dyker Heights/Sunset Park is much more of a Taiwanese version and offers some of my favorite dim sum parlors.
Lots of different and great places in each. I've got some favorites in each one.
In Flushing try Shanghai Tide for a traditional Hot Pot (price fix - includes all you can eat and beer)
In Brooklyn the East Harbor Seafood Palace and New Spring Garden both have some of the best dim sum.
In Manhattan try the cheap places - Great New York Noodle Town (everything is good, noodles are not the star), or Tasty Hand Pulled Noodle (for soups and noodle dishes), if you want a more cantonese style meal try the Wo Hop, a institution that serves old time chinese food (don't look for spicy here). Most tour books push a place called Joe's Shanghai, which is also quite good, but a lot more expensive.
There are good banh mi over on Grand Street either at Banh Mi Saigon or the Paris Sandwich shop.
[ Edit: Edited on 10-Jan-2012, at 21:59 by DocNY ]