There is no better Super Bowl than one featuring the home team.
Football fans, TV commercial fans and general lovers of spectacle can all rejoice in this year’s Super Bowl, which airs Sunday, Feb. 5, on NBC. Our New England Patriots will be facing off against the New York Giants.The broadcast starts at 6 p.m., kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. and Madonna will perform during the halftime show.
For sports fans, food fans and TV fans alike, we present your unofficial guide to this weekend’s fun. Jeff Mucciarone offers some tips for grillers — even if the weather is cold, you can fire up the grill and serve your fellow game-watchers some hot and juicy snacks. Angel Roy tackles that other game-day must have: dips. If you’d rather let somebody else throw the shindig, Kelly Sennott has a list of local spots with plans for Sunday. And Hippo sports guru Dave Long has predictions (and hopes and dreams) for the outcome of the game from a variety of local celebrities. (Check out his usual sports columns on page 10 for more analysis.)
So break out your Patriots gear and your tasty treats — it’s time to cheer on the home team.
A look into the crystal football
Locals predict the outcome of the big game
The talk of the week was the upcoming Super Bowl and, as with the just-concluded primary election, everyone has an opinion. So I asked a mix of locals, transplants, ex-New Yawkas, unabashed homer yahoos and folks who actually know what they are talking about in the global village to make a prediction for the big game and give a brief rationale for their prediction. Here’s what they had to say.
Not that former UL scribe and now PR mucky-mucky John Clayton is bitter, but he says most remember a big catch in No. 42, but “I remember the non-catch by Asante Samuel, who dropped a sure-fire, game-winning interception the play before David Tyree made the horseshoe-up-his-butt, Velcro-on-his-helmet catch. This time around the Pats’ secondary gets it right. Patrick Chung makes the big catch, a last-minute interception to thwart Eli and seal it 24-20 Patriots.”
Jeff Feingold, Pats fans and editor of the NH Business Review, was angst-ridden picking the Giants 31-30. Along with family history, and tales of Yankee Stadium and Yale Bowl Giant games of days gone by, he said he “had two dogs in this fight,” but thought Lawrence Tynes barely splits the uprights to win. Either way, Freund is on goal.
It was similar for F-Cats broadcaster Dick Lutsk, who says, “I am a Patriots fan but I worked with Tom Coughlin when I did B.C. football games … so I’m caught in the middle.” After a little Tebow-bashing he went Giants by a field goal 31-28.
The faculty at NHTI weighed in. Season ticket holder Chuck Lloyd also said 31-28, but in favor of the Pats, in a game won on the last possession by Stephen Gostkowski. Chuck’s colleague Mike Moffett weighed in, apparently to pat himself on the back in a Romneyesque “I created 100,000 jobs” kind of a way, saying “This from the only writer in the country who picked the Giants to upset the Patriots in 2008 on a last-minute Eli Manning-to-Plaxico Burress TD pass” — which he says was in the lefty (New York) Weirs Times. This time his NE 27-20 pick really is in print, as is “Manning is intercepted in the end zone on the final play.”
On the short and sweet side was SNHU Sports Management Prof. Doug (five alarm) Blais: Pats 20, Giants 17, because “In Tom We Trust.”
SNHU grad student JJ Truman has it Pats 30 Giants 27. And in a display suggesting he’s got a little too much time on his hands, he gives this reason: The Offense Maligns Brilliant Rushes And Defenses Yammer.
Colleen Clayton, a former grad student and multisport athlete at SNHU, said, “I hate the way Eli Manning is playing right now. He’s been too good. But I think Tom and Bill really want the revenge from ’07 … so they’ll be [jacked and] pumped!” — she says Patriots 38-27.
Former school board member Kathy Kelley says 26-20 Pats, despite having the same trepidation over Eli as sister Colleen. But Kathy says, “I have faith in Coach Belichick,” and has an offensive plan only Bill Walsh might get.
A Kelly from a different family — Keith, brother of Chip — says Pats 27-20. Revenge for the Week 9 loss is the big factor, where the improving Pats are seven points better on offense and give up four fewer since then. He adds, “Go, Pats!”
Card-carrying member of the “three in four is a dynasty” crowd Pete Tarrier says Pats 34-33: “I honestly believe in the “team of destiny” concept and am totally buying into the ‘higher powers’ theory that the spirit of Myra Kraft is looking over, inspiring and maybe even helping ‘guide’ her beloved Pats to victory!” Not sure when the next séance is, but if he’s right, I’m betting Myra, Red Auerbach and the presidential candidacy of Rudy Giuliani are invited.
F-Cats radio guy and Jersey native Bob Lipman is another angst-ridden crossover: “I grew up a Giants fan and rooted for them in ’86 and ’90. Now I’m a Patriots season ticket holder. Thank Bill Parcells for that.” He has faith in the offense and thinks “they’ll make enough plays defensively” — NE 39-21.
Lipman’s former partner, now at the U, Mike Murphy, says 45-3 G-Men: “Eli destroys the myth of Brady as the premiere QB of his generation.” That made me Google “medical marijuana” to see if it got legalized when I wasn’t looking.
Lynne Snierson, former PR advisor to the Manchester Wolves, goes Giants 24, Patriots 21. She’s worried about being ex-communicated from her “native New England,” but says the Giants are better on defense, in the running game, in special teams and even at quarterback. I e-mailed back to asked if she knew the Giants were dead last in rushing and the 400 points they gave up was 58 more than the Pats allowed.
Frank Harlan, former West teacher and coach, is rumored to be living in Wyoming after picking the Pats by three TDs in SB 42. This time he says “the Giants are a team of destiny and will win by 3 touchdowns — 31-10.” Phew!
Tommy Ameen, another former West basketball coach, goes G-Men 27-23 and, with ’60s slang, predicts “the ‘Jints’ put the clamps on Ryan, Rodgers, and Smith. They will cause just enough problems to stop Brady and the Pats.” Guess he thinks more of Matt Ryan and Alex Smith than I do. Aaron Rodgers, he’s pretty good, but not invincible — just ask the Chiefs.
I figured Barry the Golf Nazi would be too busy defending Tim Thomas in the aftermath of his presidential tantrum. But he came through with his typical brand of logic, picking a 9-9 tie for a game that can’t end in a tie. He says Rob Gronkowski scores 2 TDs, but President Obama steps in, in a football version of GW bailing out Wall Street, to redistribute the wealth to New York for the tie. Then he added some other stuff from an old script he found out there at the compound in Idaho.
Speaking of politics, not so liberal Lou DeMato — who picked right in No. 42 — says NYG 23-20. He thinks it’s déjà vu all over again with the Giants holding the ball last to win it, because “Eli is the better QB at this particular moment.”
You know where it’s at with SNHU PR impresario Greg Mazzola, since he once worked for the Yanks. He says Giants 27-24 because they “are playing on all cylinders” and sees the D neutralizing Brady. But he added Gronkowski’s health will “be the game’s tipping point.”
Current Monarchs voice Ken Cail is an old-timer who invoked the ghost of coaches past in saying ex-Giant (good-by) Allie Sherman’s ghost will not show up this time but Mike Holovak’s will, Patriots 31, Giants 17. Guess he doesn’t know that 88-year-old Allie is still with us.
New Horizons head honcho Charlie Sherman showed he likes life outside the time constraints of TV while his voluminous explanation said Pats win 28-21. The Readers Digest version is, Brady has a big game, Eli slightly off, Tom Coughlin’s desperate plea to ghosts of Giants pasts Y.A. Tittle, Homer Jones and Frank Gifford goes awry, and Deion Branch cops his second MVP.
Charlie’s old WMUR running mate Jamie Staton (his case) shows he’s still living with those time constraints in briefly saying 27-24 Patriots thanks to the In Bill We Trust factor and because, “… I can’t imagine someday, looking back at the end of Brady’s career, that he will have lost to Eli Manning twice in the Super Bowl.”
Advertising titan Haywood Edwards sent a rambling diatribe about the real pronunciation of Gostkowski’s name, that his lifetime percentage is better than Adam V’s and a prediction, or was it a hope, that something unsightly happens to the blue-blooded about to be mentioned insurance mogul Dick Lombardi when picking Pats 31-28.
Lombardi — no relation to Vince, by the way — has been talking smack since last Monday with all sorts of injury survival, tougher schedule, tougher road in the playoffs laments in saying Giants 31-27. My two favorites were that the Pats were lucky vs. Baltimore and that they didn’t beat a winning team till the playoffs. True, but he must have been in the men’s room when Kyle Williams handed the G-Men the game TWICE on Sunday. The Giants also lost to the Skins and Eagles, and barely beat Miami and Buffalo, whom the Pats all beat in the final 6 weeks. So, hey, as Tom Hanks likes to say, there’s no crying in football.
We’ll end with a father-son duo. Carmen Giampetruzzi says Pats 24-21 in the longest game ever. Little G, who after quarterbacking Trinity to the state title knows a little football, says Pats 24-17, “thanks to revenge, improving D, it’s hard to beat good teams twice and because Brady is the QB”
There you have an offering reminiscent of a GOP debate — where I’m more confused than I was when I started.
Don't Bowl alone
Area bars party up for the big game
Everyone knows the best way to watch the Super Bowl is with a bunch of excited fans and friends, lots of food and drinks, and a really big TV screen (or more than one). These local watering holes will be showing the game and holding food and drink specials while it’s on. The 46th Super Bowl — New England Patriots vs. New York Giants — happens Sunday, Feb. 5, with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
• Alan’s (133 N. Main St. in Boscawen, 753-6631) will hold a party with a $10 hot and cold buffet, door prizes, and the game shown on a 7-foot screen. Tickets can be purchased in advance; call or visit.
• Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill (34 Tarrytown Road, Manchester, 622-3644) will host a pre-game party from 4 to 6 p.m. with Rock 101. They’ll be giving away a signed Woodhead jersey, and there will be drink specials all night long. Billy’s will also hold a game prediction contest: whoever in the bar comes closest to guessing the score of the game will win a 5-day, 4-night trip to Vegas.
• Boston Billiard Club (55 Northeastern Blvd., Nashua, 943-5630) will show the game and offer specials including a $3 Coors draft and a $10 Coors bucket, and will offer prizes such as ski passes and a cruise.
• Chop Shop Bar & Grille (920 Lafayette Road, Seabrook, 760-7704) will be holding a party on game day, with free pizza, beer and drink specials and the game shown on a big-screen TV.
• City Sports Grille & Spare Time (216 Maple St., Manchester, 625-9656) will show the game and offer food and drink specials. Those who attend will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win a 32-inch LCD TV. There will also be a chili contest that attendees are welcome to enter by bringing a sample of their chili. The winner will receive a $100 prize.
• Derryfield Country Club (625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 623-2880) will have an all-you-can-eat buffet and “wheel with a deal,” which lets customers spin the wheel for food/drink deals.
• Dover Brick House (2 Orchard St., Dover, 749-3838) will have regular Sunday specials to go along with the big game.
• Element Lounge (1055 Elm St., Manchester, 627-2922) will host a party with chicken wings, beer pitcher specials, karaoke, and TVs set up in the back room.
• Famous Legends Bar & Grill at Strikers East (4 Essex Drive, Raymond, 895-4474) will be showing the Super Bowl on game day.
• Farm Bar & Grill (1181 Elm St., Manchester, 641-3276) will be “giving away the Farm” on Super Bowl Sunday, with $9.99 all-you-can-eat Fish & Chips, 35-cent wings, Mexican specials and $5 Farm Favorite Cocktails.
• Fat Belly’s (2 Bow St., Portsmouth, 610-4227) will show the game and will provide half-off wings and pitchers.
• Gravity Tavern (35 Mont Vernon Road, New Boston, 487-2011) will offer a complimentary buffet during the football game.
• Hen House Sports Bar and Grill (85 South Main St., Newton, 382-1705) will celebrate with a free buffet, drink specials, a meat raffle and a prize raffle.
• Henniker Junction (24 Weare Road, Henniker, 428-8511) will host a free potluck dinner — bring food and enjoy the game.
• Holiday Inn (9 Northeastern Blvd., Nashua, 888-1551) will celebrate the Pats with giveaways, $2.50 on domestic drafts and half off appetizers.
• Holy Grail Food & Spirits (64 Main St., Epping, 679-9559) will celebrate the game with a raffle of a flat-screen TV. There will also be drink and appetizer specials.
• Homestead (641 DW Highway, Merrimack, 429-2022) will have 29-cent wings.
• JD Chaser’s (2B Burnham Road, Hudson, 886-0792) will have a free buffet plus $2 draft beers and 50-cent wings during the game.
• Jillian’s Billiard Club (50 Philippe Cote Drive, Manchester, 626-7636) will offer drink specials, food specials and trivia during the game. But the big party is before the game: Rock 101 with the Morning Buzz will host a tailgating and Patriots party on Friday morning; brunch begins at 5 a.m. On Sunday, WGIR will broadcast live before the game, from 3 to 5 p.m. There will be a $10 buffet. No cover charge.
• J’s Tavern (63 Union Square, Milford, 249-9222) promises 25-cent buffalo wings and $2 Bud drafts.
• Milly’s Tavern (500 Commercial St., Manchester, 625-4444) will feature $2 drafts and free appetizers during breaks. There will be a pre-game party starting at 3 p.m., with food and drink specials, promos and prize giveaways. The game will be shown large TVs including a 6-foot by 6-foot projection TV. People can call for reservations, and large parties will be accepted.
• Mint Bistro (1105 Elm St., Manchester, 625-6468) will show the game and offer food and drink specials.
• Nashua Garden (121 Main St., Nashua, 886-7363) will offer drink specials on domestic beers and giveaways for every quarter, some of which include lift tickets and a grill.
• One Mile West (3 Brook Road, Sunapee, 863-7500) will celebrate the game with drink and beer specials.
• Page (172 Hanover St., Portsmouth, 436-0004) will host a big party with a raffle for a signed, authentic Gronkowski jersey, “beer for a year” at the Redhook Brewery, and two T-shirt launches. The Page will also feature $3 pints of Bud Light and $4 22-oz. Bud Lights, in addition to burgers, apps, and sandwich specials.
• Peddler’s Daughter (48 Main St., Nashua, 821-7535) will have a special menu on game day, with drink and food specials and giveaways. Each customer has the chance to win a 37-inch LCD flat- screen TV.
• Piccola’s Upstairs Lounge (815 Elm St., Manchester, 296-4070) will host a game-day party. For $20, attendees will get a full meal and an alcoholic beverage.
• Portsmouth Gas Light Co. (64 Market St., Portsmouth, 431-9122) will host a pre-game Patriots party led by former New England Patriot Harold Shaw. The party will take place at the Gas Light Third Floor Nightclub on Saturday, and Shaw will be signing autographs.
• Sayde’s Restaurant (136 Cluff Crossing, Salem, 890-1032) will have beer specials and a free halftime buffet, first come first served.
• Steve-N-James Tavern (187 Rockingham Road, Derry, 434-0600) will host a party with raffles, a free half-time buffet and drink specials.
• Tuscan Kitchen (67 Main St., Salem, 952-4875) will show the game on many of its plasma TVs. For $30, guests can enjoy a buffet of handmade, wood-fired pizzas, Tuscan burger sliders and Salsicca subs. Also featured are the Patriots Passion Martini, and the Super Bowl cake for dessert.
• The Wild Rover Pub (21 Kosciuszko St., Manchester, 669-7722) will hold a party with drink specials and regular Sunday discounts. At halftime, there will be a raffle for a brand new Jagermeister machine.
Dip it to win it
Local foodies offer game-day snack ideas
Many football fans put a lot of thought into how they are going to watch the big game. What jersey will they wear? Who is going to be in charge of the remote? Will Belichick employ the plays I suggested on his Facebook page? But perhaps the most thought goes into one very simple part of game day: what will you eat?
Kevin Cornish, owner of KC’s Rib Shack in Manchester, will prepare two of his favorite game-day snacks for this year’s Super Bowl parties, one of which will be a spinach dip — a far cry from the smoked meat offerings at the Rib Shack. He often serves the dip — a simple blend of cream cheese, sour cream, spinach and artichokes, amongst other ingredients — in a semi-hollowed out bread boulé, with another loaf of bread, typically a baguette, on the side.
“As the bowl empties, that is when you start to eat the bowl,” Cornish said, adding that the dip is also a great cracker topping.
“The stuff is really good,” Cornish said. “You can just eat it by the spoonful.”
Cornish, who plans to root for the New England Patriots, will also prepare one of his latest experiments to dress up the chicken wings and fingers: peanut butter and jelly sauce. The sauce, naturally, is made with peanut butter and jelly but also a teaspoon of hot pepper sauce to give it a kick.
“It’s has a little bit of that chicken satay peanut butter taste to it, but the jelly sweetens it up,” Cornish said. “They’re sticky and messy and you definitely want a handful of paper towels.” (See the recipe at www.hippopress.com.)
“They’re fun and they’re different,” he added. “They’re not the traditional buffalo wings.”
Those still seeking the kick of buffalo can try something new, and a little less messy, this year by making a buffalo chicken dip. “It’s very easy for someone to bring to a party,” said Nathan Sheridan, owner of The Shaskeen in Manchester, where Buffalo Chicken Dip is a menu mainstay and is served with fried tortilla chips. Sheridan, who will also cheer for the Pats on Feb. 5, noted that the dip can easily be paired with celery or carrot sticks.
Another easy-to-make chicken tender accompaniment is Spicy Mustard Dip, which is served as an appetizer at KC’s alongside a pile of sausage chunks. The dip is simply composed of spicy brown mustard and spicy barbecue sauce.
“It’s just a little different,” Cornish said. “Sometimes mustard may be overwhelming, but the barbecue sauce mellows out the flavor a little bit.”
While Mitchell’s Salsa is Kristy Stephens Ammann’s go-to chip dip, she will also often serve homemade guacamole during football games. Stephens Ammann, owner of Butter’s Fine Food and Wine in Concord, has two guacamole recipes in her arsenal: one whose ingredients she opted to keep secret, and another that she calls her “shortcut guac,” a fresh avocado mashed up and mixed with lime juice, salt, pepper and a little bit of Mitchell’s Salsa. Stephens Ammann serves a Tabasco or sriracha on the side for those who prefer a spicier guacamole.
Stephens Ammann, who is a Patriots fan “of course,” will often make a cheese fondue for her guests, using beer in lieu of the traditional white wine and garlic. The cheddar and gruyere fondue pairs well with bread, apples and pretzel rods, she said.
Grilling up a win
Have a steak in the game
The wind is howling. It’s so cold it hurts. There are icicles hanging dangerously low off your gutters and there is a blanket of snow and ice on the ground. (Well, not this year, but use your imagination.)
Maybe that picture doesn’t scream “Let’s heat up the grill.” But frankly, maybe it should.
That’s what Michelle Pillsbury, owner of Shellie’s Butcher Shop in Derry, thinks. On Wednesday, Jan. 25, she said she’d just used the grill the previous night.
“Everything tastes better on the grill,” Pillsbury said.
Regardless of the fact that the home team is actually in the Super Bowl this year, the big game typically makes for big parties. When people think Super Bowl, they think football, of course, but also chicken wings, funny commercials and beer. Because — let’s be honest — Super Bowl parties are as much about the game as they are about the commercials, the food, the beer and the camaraderie. (This writer read about someone who was hosting a Super Bowl party with a separate room and television set up specifically for people looking to enjoy the commercials.) That might be a little different for us this year, since the Patriots are actually in it, but don’t tell me that just because the Pats are in the game, people aren’t going to be looking for tasty snacks, or juicy grilled steak, during the game. So why not dust off or shovel off the grill for this year’s big game?
Because the thing is, being totally unscientific right now, people who like football also like meat, and those same people probably like their meat on the grill. (And even if you’re not interested in meat, don’t tell me you wouldn’t enjoy some grilled vegetables. Grilled portabella mushrooms, anyone?)
If you like to grill in the wintertime, you’re not alone. According to the Weber Grilling Blog, 37 percent of grill owners keep grilling when the temperature is below freezing, while more than half of grill owners grill all year ’round (www.weber.com/blog).
Pillsbury said happily that a majority of her customers are more than willing to pull the grill out of the garage to get that indefinable but oh-so-wonderful smoky grill flavor even on the coldest of nights. And, while we’re mentioning the garage, go ahead and make sure you actually take the grill out of the garage, because beyond the whole fire hazard thing, there’s the whole thing about carbon monoxide ― it’s bad for you. A screened-in porch isn’t going to do it either. If you’re going to grill ― safely ― you will have to brave the cold and get that grill all the way outside.
“In the winter, having [food] grilled, it just tastes better, and it’s unexpected because you’re used to having it all the time in the summer,” Pillsbury said.
A lot of folks are visiting Pillsbury’s butcher shop gearing up for the Super Bowl. Sausage has been a big seller, as have chicken wings.
“We have some diehard grillers,” Pillsbury said. “They don’t mind it.”
Keep in mind that since it is colder and windier during this time of year, the grill will probably take a little longer to heat up, and food might take a little longer to cook. If you’re using charcoal, use more than you typically would in the summer. Given the cold, the less time you have the lid of the grill open the better, as the grill loses heat much more quickly when it’s cold. But other than that, it’s still just grilling.
Oh, right, also, it is colder right now, so bundle up, but don’t go overboard ― a scarf might keep your neck warm on a cold night as you carefully turn flaming kebobs, but a flaming scarf might keep you a little too toasty. Make sure to clear a path and to be aware of icy patches ― you don’t want to slip and fall while firing a plate of sirloin tips into a snow bank, though the neighborhood coyotes would probably thank you.
Pillsbury said most wintertime grillers are using gas grills. When you’re done cooking, avoid getting snow all over the grill, Pillsbury said.
Consider lighting as well. It gets darker earlier in the winter. Some grills have built-in LED lights, which is a nice feature. Pillsbury said she remembered talking to someone who was grilling without a light only to find, once they got indoors, the meat they thought they were cooking so well was decidedly burnt. So keep your grill close to a light, or think about wearing a headlamp, which provides hands-free light, Pillsbury said.
“You’ll just see what you’re doing better,” Pillsbury said.