The Super Bowl inspires a variety of different feelings in my closest friends and family. My husband will watch every minute of the game, yell at the refs about the review of calls and make fun of the half-time entertainment as being merely a bathroom break for "true fans."
A close vegetarian friend sees the whole shenanigans as a chance to sample delicious dips, drink Bell's Two Hearted Ale, watch a bit of ball and throw a party. And then there are more than a few folks that I love dearly who basically see Super Bowl Sunday as a chance to avoid crowds—that is if they even remember which day the "silly game" gets played.
For me, these examples make up the three basic reactions to football's annual championship. Whether you honestly love the big game, see it as a good chance to party or view it as opportunity to visit venues usually filled with football-lovin' yahoos, I've got some suggestions on the food front that can make your Sunday better.
THE SPORTS LOVERS: WHERE TO WATCH
For serious Packers and Steelers fans, and all you die-hard football types (ever see the movie "Big Fan"?), will be celebrating the big game in the classic style. The specials—20 oz. Miller Lite taps for $3.25, Lambeau Lemonade for $4.95 and Purple Pride Punch for $4.95—set the tone for a neighborhood crowd that is chill, but sports-focused. Tailgate serves burgers, pizza, hot hoagies and all the usual bar apps, which is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday (but not for the microbrew and locavore set).
Two other places where the game will be showing on multiple televisions in the 'hood are the in Linden Hills and the on Nicollet Avenue near West 44th Street. While both only serve wine and beer, they each have their own charms. Chatterbox has tons of games and distractions for your kids (see my fellow Patch-er's article about that and Driftwood will offer some as-yet-to-be-announced specials. Both have the regular fare—burgers, sandwiches and appropriate football-watching appetizers, with Chatterbox boasting smokin' hot BBQ baby back ribs and Driftwood trumpeting its own version of the Juicy Lucy called The Bryce is Right.
THE PARTY HEARTY: WHERE TO TAKE-OUT
If you love the chance to get together on a Sunday and have good eats and drinks, and the game is of mild interest to you, then I recommend that you keep it simple. Invest in some trustworthy neighborhood take-out and settle in for a fun evening. I like to make a marquee dessert and then leave the rest to the professionals, keeping in mind that people don't expect to eat osso buco or coq au vin on this particular Sunday. More likely, they want a spread of comfort foods.
Three good choices spring to mind when planning a game day get-together in Southwest Minneapolis. If you are a traditionalist, you'll no doubt go with , which has , catfish, ribs, coleslaw, okra and even Coney Dogs for the kids. Throw some newspaper on the dining room table and be done with it (okay, with paper plates). But, be sure to order on Saturday, as C & G's only fills pre-orders on Sundays.
Other people take comfort in , a Windom mainstay for 65 years. The menu is old school Cantonese-American, with Chow Mein, Lo Mein, Fried Rice and Egg Foo Yung as the star entrees. This joint only does take-out and offers most dishes in larger sizes, making it a cinch for party platters.
Looking for something a touch more epicurean? Then how about , whose delights include New York Style Pizza, paninis, pasta, antipasti and desserts like tiramisu and cannoli. I recommend picking up your own order, as opposed to having it delivered, so your family style and dessert options increase significantly. I'm talking access to truffles, pate and candies, among other things.
THE NON-GRIDIRON GANG: SEIZE THE MEAL!
Do the names Ben and Aaron not ring any bells? Do the words Packers and Steelers make you think of the industrial revolution? And, do you think of yourself as either a foodie or at least knowlegdable about Twin Cities eateries? Then I have one word for you: .
Named 2010 Restaurant of the Year by the Star Tribune and lauded by none other than celebrity chef and writer, Anthony Bourdain, beloved dining establishment has taken the city by storm. It's booked up like a Manhattan Hotspot most weekends and holidays, but on Sunday, there are tables to be had. They open at 5:30 p.m., which happens to be the same time as the kickoff. Then, you can try the pickled pigs feet with scrambled brown eggs in truffle oil that everyone's been talking about.
Two other great spots for a fine meal during XLV are () and . In Season has a winter-centric menu in play, while Broders' is perfect if you're in the mood for a heartwarming puttanesca, gnocchi or similar Italian specialty.
If you couldn't tell, I'll be indulging in a mix of take-out, potluck and a homemade treat—brown butter brownies or homemade banana ice cream, I'm not sure yet—as I fall squarely into the 'party hearty' category. And yes, that means I plan to enjoy Super Bowl XLV in the company of loved ones, with good food at an arm's reach. I recommend this to all of you, regardless of how you feel about football.