Super Bowl week is here and ES is confused. With no cheeseheads, cheesesteak-heads, or scrappy underdogs to root for, and no Patriots to root against, we just don’t know what to do. This year’s game is between Pittsburgh, which we think has something to do with steel but we’re not quite sure what; and Arizona, which we can always find on a map given two guesses but don’t know much else about.
There’s nothing worse than showing up at a Super Bowl party and not knowing which team to root for, but how to decide? Between making dips, buying beer, and ordering pizza, there’s just no time to research the merits and demerits of the individual teams.
So we’re choosing who to root for the only way we know how — based on which team has the best food. Will it be Pittsburgh with its all-American blue collar traditions? Or Arizona, with it’s sun-baked spicy flair? (The Cardinals are based in Phoenix, but since they claim the whole state, we’re gonna go ahead and give it to them, since we suspect they might need a boost anyway). Without further ado, the Pittsburgh vs. Arizona Super Bowl Food-Off:
|First Quarter: Best Sandwich|
OK, we lied. Turns out we do know at least one thing about Pittsburgh. Namely, Steeltown is home to Primanti Brothers, one of the most outrageously amazing sandwich shops in the country. We can’t think of a more appropriate way to enjoy the big game than with a Primanti Bros. pastrami sandwich, piled high with perfectly spiced meat, coleslaw and french fries. Yes, fries inside the sandwich, not on top of or beside. The only problem is trying to stay awake for the second half. (Photo: The Halberg)
Uh-oh, Pittsburgh. We did some research and it turns out America had outrageous sandwiches before the Italians got here – and we mean waaaaaaay before. If you ever find yourself around Mesa, Arizona, you’ll want to stop by Arizona Native Frybread and pick up a traditional Navajo Sandwich — golden frybread filled with grilled lamb meat and topped with lettuce, red onions, tomatoes and fire roasted green chilis. Now that’s a sandwich. (Photo: chowdownphoenix via Serious Eats)
|Point: Arizona. Can’t hate on Primanti Bros, but that frybread is just too damn enticing.|
|Second Quarter: Best Pizza|
We try not to eat pizza outside NYC, but we’d make an exception if we drove by Vincent’s Pizza Park, because that crust looks so crispy, the cheese so golden brown, and, um..for g-d’s sake there’s an entire pig on that pie! Might have to start carrying around a pic of this beauty so that every time we go into a pizzeria and see a pepperoni pie with five or six measly ‘ronis on it we can show them this craziness, where the pepperonis actually have to be placed sideways to make room for all of them. Bravo, Pittsburgh. Youse sure know how to eat some meat. (Photo: hanzabean)
We gotta say we’re a little surprised by how many people out there on the Internets claim the very best slice in America is served up at a pizzeria in Phoenix. Specifically, they’re talking about Pizzeria Bianco. The thin-but-not-flimsy crust does look impressive (seriously, look) and the toppings are nothing if not ballsy. For example, the “Rosa” you’re looking at is topped with onions, parmagiana reggiano, rosemary and Arizona pistachios. Yes, that’s pistachios as in pistachio nuts. On a pizza. We’re intrigued. (Photo: roboppy)
|Point: Pittsburgh. Arizona gets an A for effort, but this is the Super Bowl, not the Oscars, so pepperoni trumps pistachio.|
|Third Quarter: Best Hot Dog|
Good gravy! If we had to paint a picture of what the Super Bowl means to America, it would probably look very much like this photo. The bacon and cheddar dog is one of just many heart-stopping options offered at Pitt favorite D’s SixPax & Dog’s, but in our humble opinion, it’s the most perfect. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. Take meat. Cover with bacon. Douse in cheese. Pray for forgiveness. (Photo: Mr. Velocipede)
|The legendary Sonoran Hot Dog may have originated in neighboring Mexico but it was made famous by the Hispanic-heavy neighborhoods of southside Tucson, Arizona. A bacon-wrapped hot dog is placed on an oversized bun and topped with pinto beans, tomatoes, onion, mustard, mayo, crema, relish, jalapenos…well, you get the point – basically whatever the hell else they have on hand. (Photo: Mr. Frosted)|
|Point: Pittsburgh. For pure all-American outlandishness, we’ve gotta give it to Pitt.|
|Fourth Quarter: Best Beer|
Iron City Brewing company has been drowning Pittsburgh’s sorrows for going on 150 years now, and the Steelers probably wouldn’t have won half as many games if their fans didn’t have this solid stand-by to get them through all those snowy seasons. (It’s also safe to say this brew probably played a hand in the invention of the three culinary delicacies presented above). (Photo: Iron City)
Daaaaaamn, ‘zona! Is there anything you people won’t put hot chilis in? It doesn’t get much more macho than drinking a beer laced with hot serrano chili peppers. Arizona gave the world just that with Chili Beer, a Cave Creek, Arizona original (now produced in Mexico). (Photo: srboisvert)
|Point: Arizona. Hot, cold, and drunk, all in one bottle. What more could a fan want? Tie game!|
Look’s like we’re headed to overtime, and it’s up to you, readers. Who cooked it better? Pittsburgh or Arizona? Vote below, and don’t forget to do the thing where you tell me how dumb I am and that everything I said is completely wrong.
Previously on ES: