Got the Game Day hungries? There’s an app for that.
With the Big Game looming large, everyone from football fanatic to football widow is certain to be impacted by Super Bowl 50. You can’t escape the ads or the coverage on any media channel, including ours. But we’re here with some suggestions on how to make the most of this epic day that has turned into at least a week’s worth of hype and hyperbole.
What’s the best part about Super Bowl Sunday? The food, the drinks and the company, of course. We asked some of our local Bay Area chefs to share their favorite Game Day snacks and recipes, and we picked a few of our faves from local menus as well. Should you choose to watch from your own den or man cave, you might want to add some of these tasty edibles to your spread.
East Coast Alice
New in Saratoga is the domain of Alice, who whips up some amazing Italian treats from East Coast recipes. Her meatballs are fabulous. Don’t miss them. Open for lunch on the weekends. Yes, they do takeout.
14560 Big Basin Way, Saratoga. (408) 867-1639.
Hanna Vietnamese Bistro
For the foodie who enjoys Vietnamese cuisine with a twist of heat, Hanna’s hands-down must-have apps are Vietnamese tacos and spring rolls. The dipping sauce alone is worth doubling down on, should you place an order to go. Flavorful but light, the pork and shrimp spring rolls are perfect for the light eaters in the crowd, but go for the duck if you want to amp it up. Everybody loves the tacos, and the lacquered lamb ribs are decadent.
133 N. Santa Cruz Ave. (408) 884-8309.
Alex Hult offers a simple appetizer that is sure to hit the mark every time: bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese and marcona almonds. We especially love this one paired with a nice meaty Syrah, like a Rattlesnake Rock or The Grizzly from Big Basin Vineyards.
165 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd. (408) 354-3434.
Jack Rose Libation House
You’ll find lots to love in the cocktail department of this Monte Sereno treasure that keeps upping its game, as we wish the 49ers would. For something really different and delicious, try the roasted and lightly battered organic cauliflower with garlic arugula aioli dipping sauce. Pair it with A Man And His Mule, made from Ketel One Citron, lime cordial, pink peppercorn, green chartreuse and ginger beer. Or go brown with a Figticious Manhattan crafted from the house bourbon blend, house-made fig jam, Carpano Antica and fresh lemon.
18840 Saratoga-Los Gatos Rd, Monte Sereno. (408) 395-3500.
Chef Philippe Breneman puts out some amazing food from that postage-stamp kitchen of his. This place Duxelles is not large in size, but it sure is in impact and hospitality. The frogs legs are a standard of measure, and if you cannot bear the thought of munching on amphibians, just ask for the sauce with a side of French fries or some of the excellent bread. Heaven.
40 N. Santa Cruz Ave. (408) 354-1600.
Nick’s Next Door
We don’t know quite how they do them, but we love the truffle-infused risotto croquettes with parmesan, arugula and wild mushroom duxelle butter. We’d settle for the butter on Acme baguettes.
11 College Ave. (408) 402-5053.
For Super Bowl Sunday, Palacio recommends the well-named Huarache, which means “flip flop” in Spanish. It’s similar to a flatbread but with corn masa instead of regular dough. Topped with braised short ribs, queso Oaxaca, black bean purée, tomatillo salsa and baby arugula salad, it’s a great plate to share.
115 N. Santa Cruz Ave. (408) 402-3811.
You’re in luck, because you can order apps to go from this ever-popular dining spot that does some of the consistently best food in town. Favorites include succulent lamb rib chops, tuna tartare and the incredibly rowdy and addictive stuffed poblano peppers that go nicely with dark beer or a serious red, like a Left Bend Cabernet blend.
50 University Ave. (408) 354-4808.
Other Places to Watch the Game
In Los Gatos, there’s Verge at the Toll House Hotel, with great TV action and plenty of room to hang out and be comfy. The advantage here is that you can indulge in a great dinner and take the elevator home after some righteous cocktails at the well-stocked bar. Of course, Double D’s, C. B. Hannegan’s, California Café and Steamer’s would all be good choices in town.
Roots and Rye
Now this is a great spot to watch the game, especially if you enjoy cocktails made from rye and bourbon. Among their signature cocktails is the Churchill Downs, intriguingly concocted from bourbon, strawberry aquavit, lemon, green cardamom and Fever Tree ginger beer. Two appetizers we particularly like at this Santana Row spot are the zesty deviled eggs with bacon bread crumble and pickled breakfast radish and the fried chicken sliders, crisp morsels on flaky buttermilk cheddar biscuits with honey mustard aioli and apple slaw. You might drop The Colonel from your Christmas list.
3055 Olin Ave (in Santana Row), San Jose. (408) 429-2909.
This place is named for owners Paul and Marya and their five kids, and sports a Star Wars theme. Try the fried pickle spears, which are kosher dill spears hand-dipped in corn bread batter, fried to a golden brown and served with ranch dressing. They also serve up gourmet hot dogs, chili and burgers. May the Force Be With You this Super Bowl. How about some spicy fries with nacho cheese and jalapeños?
398 South Bascom Ave, San Jose. (408) 292-7827.
Scotts Valley Hilton
Just off Highway 17, this popular spot offers a comfy sports bar experience, with reasonably priced rooms and a decent restaurant called Stonehouse Bar and Grill, where you can find a good selection of local brews and wines as well as a top-notch burger.
6001 La Madrona Dr, Scotts Valley. (831) 440-1000.
For those who are chefing it up, may we suggest a couple of online resources that have a treasure trove of great appetizers, including purewow.com, where you’ll find instructions for crispy prosciutto bites (essentially pizza dough balls wrapped in prosciutto and oven-baked till crispy). Check out Alton Brown’s buffalo wings on foodnetwork.com. Don’t forget the spicy pecans: sauté in heavy pan with Worcestershire, brown sugar, a dash of garlic powder and good smack of Omnivore Salt, the secret “super sizer” ingredient to making anything taste more lip-smacking good.