I just went back and re-read the original referenced web site and noticed it was from a USA today article in 2000. I saw a framed copy of the USA Today article in the Phil Smidt entryway once. The 50 plates were meals at specific restaruants in each of the 50 states. Who ever transcribed the "plates" left off the restaruant information and just picked the featured entre’s for the web list. Don’t think you can knock the USA Today writer since the web creator stripped out all of the context (plus Alaska & Idaho).
Here is the abstract of the article in the USA Today archives:
"Abstract (Document Summary)
In hungry anticipation of road-trip season, USA TODAY dining critic Jerry Shriver rummaged through the national pantry for some inspiring fare to help travelers climb out of their burger/pizza/ nachos McRut. The result — 50 great plates from 50 great states (and the restaurants that serve them) — sounds a little like a self-help guide. But think of this as a help-yourself guide, as in …"