The Wild Cards Are Finished: Watching the NFL Through Food

Categories: Whimsy

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Think this would be good on a burger?
What a weird weekend in football. While I'm glad New Orleans trumped Detroit (what do people in D-town eat besides sadness?), I'm devastated by Pittsburgh's loss to Denver, another town whose culinary culture is difficult to define. What Would Tebow Cook?

Pittsburgh, however, gave rise to the glory that is Primanti Bros. A truly great sandwich topped with soft fried potatoes, sweet tangy coleslaw and, if you're into it, a fried egg. I'm sad I won't be making it in my annual cook-food-from-the-final-four-cities party.

Houston's win keeps Texas food fans in the mix, though. My first thought was to leverage the Texans team to produce a big pot of chili con carne, but then I realized I really know very little about Houston's cuisine. Does chili define Houston like it might the rest of Texas? I emailed Katherine Shilcutt, the food critic at the Houston Press, and asked her: What dish, that lends itself to football eating, best defines your city?

"I guess I'd have to say queso," she replied in record speed. "Some might say the burger -- Houston is apparently Burger City, after all, and no tailgate is complete without burgers. But I think it's queso, especially when it's toward the chilly end of football season."

Shilcutt went on to describe a recipe including a block of Velveeta, a can of Rotel salsa and a can of Wolf-brand chili, all tossed in a crock pot till it looks like goo. (Sounds a little like a dip I encountered once.)

I dunno. I'm not much a fan of cheese food. But who am I to tell another city what to eat? That gets me into enough trouble here in Dallas.

Burgers are interesting, though: thin, salty patties on soft buns wrapped in wax-paper for a few minutes so the flavors meld. Maybe I could top them with chili con carne and dub the mess a Houston burger, but first the Texans have to beat Baltimore, the city of delicious crab cakes.

And in the meantime I have to figure out the best way to represent Denver [Editor's note: No you don't] and San Francisco through football eats. Some more emails are in order.


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33 comments
primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Lived several years in Houston.  There is a lot of cajun down there,  I'd go for the boiled shrimp and fried oyster poor boys.  Throw in a few Antone's sandwiches and some seafood gumbo and you have a real deal football game.

TexanAlex
TexanAlex

If you're gonna cast aspersions upon Velveeta then you can GTFO of Texas. But then again, Dallas has always favored the pretentious Texans who like to think of themselves as Southwest New Yorkers, so maybe this IS the right forum for that. Go Texans.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

To be fair, Scott asked me this question in the context of tailgating/football-watching parties. I've never been to a single football game viewing party that doesn't have homemade Velveeta-based queso. Whether you're white, black, Mexican, what have you...everyone loves a Crock Pot of queso. It binds our city together.

And don't get me started on the unrivaled wonder that is Velveeta. Y'all just don't know...

Jim
Jim

Scott - Denver does not supply any food in this instance. They are all about the pre-pre-game indulgence as seen in a slidshow from your sister publication.

http://www.westword.com/slides...

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Denver's got that eggy dish you may have heard of, Rocky Mountain Oysters, or a nice hunk of elk.

And I certainly hope the San Francisco problem is narrowing down a dozen awesome choices.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Shame that there's not an omlette or something named after Denver.

And Houston does fresh seafood, preferably fried. So, work on your fried gulf shrimp and fried gulf oysters.

Craigley
Craigley

Shilcutt is off her rocker!  No wonder she banned me from her blog.

Houston:  Boiled Shrimp from the GOM, Raw Oysters from Galveston Bay and a Banh Mi party platter.If you must go the Velveeta route, use the white one instead.  Add onions and diced tomatoes. Never, ever - ever ever add chili!

Get a rope!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Denver ummmm, a urine snow cone or a Coors light

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

next week:

New England (chicken parm) vs Denver (mile high nacho's).  New England wins the game, and the food war by 70 points.  Not even tiny baby jeubuusses can help Tebow this week; but, I live the Tebow story.  Even my wife watched yesterday.  I had to explain why people hat eBig Ben, and Love Timmy.  Then I explained how New England wins by 70.  

Here we come super bowl.  Best Pat's super bowl victory food:

Spaghetti with clams, and white sauce-fresh parm!  Lightly salted....of course; and a very very thin sauce.

Whitney
Whitney

Velveeta and Rotel queso is the best Houston has to offer?  Damn, I won't be rushing down there for a gastronomical tour anytime soon.  When I think of San Fran, it's gotta be something seafood-centric involving sourdough... I dunno about Denver, you should probably smoke a joint while mulling it over though

Craigley
Craigley

This is the first ever playoff for the Texans; queso ain't gonna cut it.

ChikinFriedSnake
ChikinFriedSnake

"...a Crock Pot of queso. It binds our city together."

Awesome

Nic Rodriguez
Nic Rodriguez

That's the problem I had. So much so...I'm going back in March to find try and narrow it down.

Guest
Guest

Dude, this is a football game! Perhaps a sassy yet obtuse Pinot Noir to pair with some aged brie too? Sigh.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Galveston and Houston are different sir.  Galveston has fabulous places to eat (Gaido's, San Luis, the Spot, Mario's, Tortuga, etc.), Houston has Luther's, Kelly's and fast food.....although you can find good Asian food. 

ps-I wouldn't eat anything raw out of Galveston Bay; it's just not smart.

G_David
G_David

What's the difference?

ChikinFriedSnake
ChikinFriedSnake

Maybe some Communion Wafers and cheap red wine for Denver...

Jim
Jim

Hold on Kergs. First thing is the Pats won't win by 70 because their defense is terrible. Then they have to beat either Ravens/Texans. So let's not put them in SB just yet.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

I don't think it's the best they have to offer. When you constrain someone with "football food" you tend to get some pretty casual recommendations.

Craigley
Craigley

This is a menu for things we make at home to watch the games.  You won't catch me at a sports bar when the good stuff is at home.The Oysters from Galveston Bay and Shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico.  You can take a boat from downtown Houston to Galveston Bay.And like your "chicken parm" is from anywhere remotely near "New England".  They'd never allow it.  

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Listening to a New Englander try and define Houston cooking would be like listening to somebody from Ohio discussing clams and lobster...

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

cHIX pARM IS NOT A nEW eNGLAND DISH?  aRE YOU RETARDED?  mAYBE YOU SHOULD LEAVE gARLAND, ATLEAST ONCE A DECADE!

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Ya'll would still be livin' in earthen huts if'n it weren't for us Yank's-sir!

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

ohhhhh

Three whole summers to learn all about the 4th largest metroplex in the country...  That is enough to make you just like a native, if you didn't start out as a freaking yankee.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Spent three summers in Galveston/Houston area running a seasonal bidness..........eff head!  Anymore genius points?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

word scruffy, and I get the microbrew thing, I mean who really wants to drink coors light (I know, its an easy target) 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Denver is second only to Portland (Oregon) for microbreweries, but as a former Denver resident, I can safely say I've never heard it called the Napa Valley of beer.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Golden Co is a fucking suburb of Denver smartass and who dubbed Denver the Napa Valley of beer?  Denverites?  Ive never heard that shit in my life.  If denver is the Napa of beers, then that makes St louis the Bordeaux of beer

Jim
Jim

Dumb.

1. Coors made in Golden, CO. 2. Denver has been dubbed the “Napa Valley of Beer”.

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