Gridiron Grub: When the Food Beats the Game

Editor’s Note: With the football post-season kicking into high gear, contributor broadandpattison returns for a retrospective on another year as an Eagles fan…and the tailgating grub that got him through it.

Given that my beloved Eagles seem to have a much different definition of “football” than I do, this year I decided to use my time at Eagles games more wisely. That is, instead of “going to the football game,” I go to the tailgate. It occurred to me at my last tailgate, before the Pats spanked the Birds, that all of the wonderful food I was eating was actually the exact OPPOSITE of the Eagles players I’ve been watching all year. Let’s break it down:

Dish: Bacon, Egg and Cheese……and a Keystone Light
Exact Opposite: Desean Jackson

The Sunday morning breakfast sandwich is about the most reliable food order of all time. It’s Sunday morning, you’re a little hungover, you need grease and substance at the same time….you get a breakfast sandwich. Works every time. It used to be that we could count on Desean for a long touchdown bomb and a totally over-the-top TD dance every game, just like you could count on the breakfast sandwich hitting the spot every Sunday morning. Now? I’m not sure Desean knows when he is playing football.

Dish: Pulled Pork on Brioche
Exact Opposite: Casey Matthews

The pulled pork at the tailgate was juicy, seasoned and delicious. No matter how much you have, you can ALWAYS have one more bite. Casey Matthews? You never want one more play out of him. EVER. No more!!!!! Please stop!!!! (Those emotions never, ever are associated with pulled pork. Ever.)

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Move Over Wings, Beer Found a New Friend


I have two words: Pretzel. Necklace.

A few weeks ago, I trekked out to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival.  I actually recorded much of our travails, and even interviewed my brother about the organization, the taste, the vibe, and yes, even the drunk snacks being dished out from every vendor like it’s Halloween candy.  Unfortunately, I mistakenly interviewed him at the end of the festival – and just in case he ever runs for public office – the video simply cannot surface.

Despite the plethora of convenient snack vendors (jerky, pulled pork in cups, hot dogs, sausage), we found a much more convenient way satisfy our drunken hunger: We made necklaces.  Out of pretzels.

5 Steps to a Pretzel Necklace

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These Tacos Are Making Me Thirsty

yup, those taco shells are fried

So, I went to Mexico City.  And I survived.  And it all happened in Denver.  Allow me to explain:

Mexico City is a Mexican restaurant in downtown Denver.  They’re famous for their……FRIED TACOS.  Don’t believe me? Check out their aptly named website.

The tacos are fried with the cheese embedded in the fried taco shell.  In the taco: steak, lettuce, tomato and avocado (a nice touch).  The issue with melting the cheese to the fried taco shell is that the distribution of the cheese is somewhat uneven.

Some bites provide cheesy, delicious explosions, while others are dominated by the steak and other toppings.  This is why one member of our group exclaimed, “That’s why I order four—to maximize the amount of opportunities for a fried taco/cheese explosion party in my mouth.”


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It’s Only Natural To Compare March Madness To Food


With the first day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament upon us, there are a few questions we need to answer:

1) Can you out bracket our Commander-in-Chief?
2) How much money can you cost your company by watching espn360, instead of doing work?
3) Can you come up with 5 better NCAA players/coaches to food analogies than the ones below?

The challenge is simple: Think of a popular NCAA player/coach and ask yourself, if they were food, what type of food would they be?

We’ll start with an easy one:

1) Rick PitinoKobe Beef Cheeseburger

Let’s not kid ourselves here.  Rick Pitino looks GOOD.  He dresses nice, he slicks back his hair, and he probably has a nice watch.  But, the guy also comes to play.  Having a good time isn’t good enough for Rick Pitino.  You can’t wear a white suit and not mean business.  Kobe beef cheeseburger? Not all that different.  It is always presented well. It’s a slamming good time, but don’t be fooled by your excitement; you better bring your A-game when you take down a Kobe burger.

2) Hasheem Thabeet = Fruit by the Foot

Hasheem Thabeet is really, really tall.  He’s also pretty skinny.  You think he might be a pushover, but he isn’t.  He’s actually quite intense.  In fact, at the beginning of games, you might think you want a piece of him, but after a few drives to the basket, you realize you probably don’t.  Enter: fruit by the foot.  The longest and skinniest of the long and skinny variety.  It always sounds like a good idea.  “Yea, no big deal, I can put down a foot of chewy fruit tasting dessert.” But as you stare down that last bite, you don’t want anymore.

3) Gerald Henderson = 7-Layer Nacho Dip

Look, Gerald Henderson is freakishly good.  He jumps out of the building, frighteningly quick, and scarily athletic.  Is he polished? Probably not.  Are his fundamentals ready for the next level? Maybe.  But the fact remains, he has all the ingredients.  You know what else has all the ingredients? 7-Layer Nacho Dip.  Is it perfect? No.  There are always certain ingredients that you like more than others and favor when you go in for the dip.  But it’s also ridiculously good, no matter its imperfections.  I mean, you don’t make it to every single sports-watching party by accident.

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Swallow Your Pride

A documentary film that satisfies your hunger

Wikipedia defines Wing Bowl as “an annual eating contest founded in 1993 by Philadelphia talk-radio hosts Al Morganti and Angelo Cataldi as a celebration of gluttony.”  You read that right: “a celebration of gluttony.”  Every year, on the Friday before the Super Bowl, 30,000 Philadelphians gather to watch 30 eaters compete in an annual wing-eating competition, the largest eating contest on the planet.  The contestants’ names range from El Wingador to Yao Wing to Hank the Tank.  They are escorted into an arena by beautiful wingettes who wear only enough clothing to cover a small Chihuahua and are cheered on by a crowd that had been tailgating since the night before.  Oh, and the festivities begin around 5am.

Swallow Your Pride follows 6 contestants, who qualify for Wing Bowl by completing an eating stunt for the radio station that hosts the event – from 20 hot dogs in under 5 minutes to 2 lbs of raw dolphin – on their road to Wing Bowl.  However, for the audience that yearns for outrageous live-eating footage, be patient, because the film moves way deeper than covering fat people eating enough for a small country.

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The Holy Hummus


After spending 2 weeks in the Holy Land, only one thing is for certain: if something can compete with dipping french fries into buffalo sauce and ranch, it is dipping pita into hummus and tahini.

While Israel (my experience, at least) doesn’t offer the variety we are used to here, what they do, they do right.

Top 5 Holy Land Food Facts

1) It is healthier – instead of sausage and bacon with breakfast, there is cucumber and tomato salad. Instead of french fries and onion rings, there is hummus and pita.

2) Hummus comes with everything – literally. I had hummus with 26 straight meals, and the amazing part is I never got sick of it. In fact, I had to create a word to describe it: omnidip. Anything can be dipped into it, and consequently, improving that bite, including: chicken, potatoes, pita and vegetables. It’s the Israeli version of cheese.

3) Balance – nice balance of meat, vegetables, salad, soup and dessert. Always a hearty meal and never overdoing any of it. Problem is, many meals offer the same meat (chicken, lamb, tongue), vegetables (broccoli, green beans), potatoes (almost always broiled), and well, of course, hummus.

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How to Eat Your Way Through Spring Training

ryan howard

It’s early March, which can only mean two things: it’s either time for the second annual spring training trip or it’s time to begin over-hyping the Washington Redskins. Last year, myself and two of my “we-finally-got-rid-of-abreu-lieberthal-bell-and-wade-so-we-can-root-for-the-phillies-again” friends decided to start an annual trip down to spring training in Clearwater, Florida.

While our 2007 focus was mostly on beer and hot dogs and a Howard Johnson hotel near the stadium, we expanded our horizons in 2008. Staying in Ybor City allowed us to not just enjoy the nightlife, but also the fine Tampa cuisine.

Below is a day-by-day eating recap. (Note: since the average ES reader is likely unaware of the Phillies AA team, we do not recap the baseball games here. I will say this, however, Greg Golson is faaaaast.)

Breakfast – the tray table on the airplane where I was faceplanted until 6 in the morning on my red-eye from Salt Lake City.

Lunch – Baseball game…..the usual… dogs and plenty of beer

Dinner – Fried Calamari: have you ever noticed that all non-cocktail, calamari sauce is always a little bit different. I wish it were a little more consistent. This batch was fried, but a little soft. I like my calamari like I like my NFL free agents: crispy and hard to stop talking about. The Lava Burger – I could try to describe this, but there is no better description than what is on the Green Iguana’s Bar and Grill Menu – Caution! Contents extremely explosive – a Caribbean – spiced grilled burger with the Lizard’s Lava BBQ sauce and tobacco onions.

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