Boston foodies soak adult balmy Super Bowl flavors from Las Vegas to Phoenix

February 15, 2015 - Picnic Time

Two food- and football-loving Bostonians strike a highway to Phoenix dual weeks ago to soak in a sun, learn good food and a best internal beer, while examination a Patriots constraint their fourth Super Bowl victory. With another snowstorm utterance around Boston today, we took a tiny time to reminisce about a sunny, food-filled highway to a Super Bowl. 

Highlights: incredible roadside barbecue during one of a hottest new spots in Phoenix, upscale nonetheless approach affordable Sonoran cuisine during Jalapeno Inferno in Scottsdale, champagne and American tapas on a garden square during La Cave during a Wynn Hotel on a Las Vegas Strip, al fresco farmhouse breakfast in a dried object and good IPAs from a best breweries in Arizona.

I’ve lonesome 5 Super Bowls as a contributor for my several football websites, though this was my initial attending a diversion as a fan – assimilated by Boston restaurateur and developer Jay Hajj, best famous as a owners of Mike’s City Diner in a South End. This outing was all about food and football. 

Little Miss BBQ knocked a hosiery off. It’s an 11-month-old eatery in a untrustworthy partial of Phoenix on a south side of a airport. We literally usually stumbled on it by collision a day before a game. Turns out we stumbled on a hottest mark in town.

A prolonged line spilled out a door, folks sat during cruise tables underneath a white canopy and pitmaster Travis Garrison manned a prolonged black converted-propane-tank smoker filled with briskets.

One Patriots fan milled about a parking lot smoking a cigar offering us a integrate bottles of Samuel Adams Cold Snap that he poured into paper cups from a internal preference store. Turns out he was New Hampshire internal Les Drent, now a coffee rancher and tobacco grower on Kauai. He handed Jay an Island Prince cigar, that he smoked on a approach to a diversion Sunday.

Pitmaster Garrison left his post any 20 mins or so to let folks in line know that food was using low – a daily occurrence during this hugely renouned BBQ joint. “I’m out of sausage, turkey, pulled pig and pig ribs are going quick,” he pronounced during one point.

By a time we reached a front of a line we were among a final people to get food, with usually brisket was left. But it was spectacular: implausible tender, accented with jalapenos, onions and a choice of 3 opposite housemade sauces. Jay got his with cheesy grits, too. We’re both flattering gifted grill guys, and we were both really tender with a food.

Later that day, we met adult with Herald photographer Matt West before streamer out to strike a Saturday night celebration circuit. Westie had courteously stocked his room with splash and bourbon. We began a evening’s festivities with a bottle of New Belgium Ranger IPA. Tasty stuff.

We changed on from there to the Taste of a NFL, one of a best parties of Super Bowl week – positively a best for food lovers. It’s a swanky $800-a-head fundraiser that raises millions for food banks around a country. Here’s how it works: one cook representing any NFL group prepares a signature dish, while a former star actor from that group greets guest and signs autographs. The celebration ends with a unison by a big-name band, in this box prohibited nation act Little Big Town.

Steve DiFillippo of Davio’s represents a New England Patriots. He was assimilated his his chefs Rodney Murillo and Paul King as they prepared Davio’s signature gnocchi bolognese (recipe below). Former Patriots star and three-time Super Bowl champion Matt Lighted greeted fans and sealed autographs, while guest sipped William Hill 2010 selected chardonnay.

Other highlights: tortilla soup with shrimp-avocado ceviche from opposition Seattle cook John Howie of Seastar Restuarant; and whiskey-burned red shrimp with red beans, grilled corn and hazed bacon from New Orleans cook Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace.

From there it was on to a Maxim repository party during Scottsdale Airport. One of a biggest bashes of Super Bowl week boasted a brood of models, drag-racing Dodge Challengers on one of a airfield runways (fun ride!) and a opening by rapper Ludacris. Sir Paul McCartney was reportedly there, too. But we didn’t see him. Food and drink, however, were a vital disappointment: some upheld apps, Dos Equis splash and Johnny Walker cocktails.

Our trip, so far, was  a vital food success. But it began inauspiciously, with airfield and roadside discerning food: a surprisingly juicy Creekstone hamburger with blue cheese during a Logan Airport Terminal B Legal Sea Foods, afterwards a discerning boiled duck sandwich during Chick-Fil-A in a Philly airport.

We don’t any many discerning food. But those Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, slathered in a buttery residence sauce, are like crack. we had on for a initial time outward Atlanta behind in August, before a West Virginia-Alabama diversion that kicked off a 2014 college football season. A few weeks after a new Chick-Fil-A non-stop in Warwick, R.I. Two cops were indispensable to approach trade for opening weekend and a line spilled out a door. Look for Chick-Fil-A to continue a enlargement here in New England.

The delayed start continued when we arrived in Las Vegas Thursday night. We strike El Diablo on a Las Veges Strip since it was available and reportedly utterly good and we were hungry. Turns out we were too late: many of a restaurants on a Strip tighten during 10 p.m. Really, during 10 o’clock? In Vegas? On a Strip? Talk about a downer. We staid for chips salsa and a pitcher of bad margaritas.

So far, not good. 

The 300-mile outing down U.S. Route 93 to Phoenix opposite a Arizona dried was shockingly isolated: few towns, few amenities, few eateries. We started to worry that a Southwestern food debate would finish in disaster. The dual waste highlights on a highway to Phoenix:

One, Gus’s Fresh Jerky in Golden Valley, Arizona. We picked adult elk and turkey jerky. But a prominence was something conjunction of us has had: candied squash. Big hunks of semi-dried squish and pumpkin cut into bony shapes. Surprisingly sweet. Almost too sweet. Pretty neat!

Two, a juicy bottle of Big Sky IPA from Missoula, Montana during La Cabana Saloon, a genuine cowboy bar in a cattle city of Wickenburg, Arizona – literally a usually city we upheld in a 200 dried miles from Kingman to Phoenix. A cowboy sat during a finish of a bar celebration a Budweiser and a barkeeper sensitive as that it was a vast roping weekend. 

Our fortunes took a spin for a improved a impulse we arrived in Phoenix: within mins we had dull adult Jerry Thornton of WEEI celebrity and a whole Herald print staff on Super Bowl avocation for a night on a town. We began with beers during O.H.S.O Eatery and NanoBrewery on Indian School Road – a renouned celebration travel installed with bars all a approach out to Scottsdale.

I was repelled to find on daub Smuttynose Vunderbar Pilsner from New Hampshire. Love us some Smutty, though we wanted internal brew. we went instead with Dragoon IPA and Thunder Canyon Good Vibrations IPA, both from Tucson.

Before withdrawal Boston, we had tapped Boston cook Brian Poe for some recommendations. Poe (Tip Tap Room, Rattlesnake, Bukowski Tavern, worked in a Phoenix for many years before relocating to Boston.

He suggested a revisit to his former co-worker cook Terry Craig during Jalapeno Inferno in Scottsdale. Jay and we were assimilated by my business partner and anticipation football consultant Bill Enright, as good as a whole Herald print group on plcae for a vast game: Stu Cahill, Nancy Lane, Matt Stone, Matt West and John Wilcox.

Jalapeno Inferno specializes in Sonoran-style cuisine and a organisation of cloyed diners were all impressed. Great spot. 

Some of a highlights: Ramiro’s famous fundido filled with locally done Schreiner’s Mexican-style chorizo; grill pig torta sandwich with mango-chipotle sauce; tacos de la calle (Mexican travel tacos) with grilled chicken, pressed into double-layered corn tortillas with onion, cilantro and chile peppers.

We cleared down a dish with Hop Knot IPA from Four Peaks Brewing Co. of circuitously Tempe. It became my go-to splash for a weekend. We wrote about a knowledge during Jalapeno Inferno here before a game, including chef-owner Craig’s recipe for his chorizo fundido.

We gathering by Scottsdale Old Town after dinner. The firmly packaged old-world area offering a acquire change of gait from a narcotic stretch of Phoenix and was packaged with pre-game revelers. We finished adult during a dive bar filled with sullen Seattle fans and skipped city after one splash before it got ugly.

Turns out that diversion day was a misfortune food day of a week, especially since we didn’t have many time to eat. We woke adult Sunday and headed to a sports formidable a few miles from a track to collect adult a $100 parking pass. It was a sh*tshow. Even during 10 a.m. there were hundreds of people in a slow-moving line, though many folks were in good spirits as a vast day had finally arrived.

We headed over to a circuitously bar, the Tilted Kilt, for a pre-game lunch. Everyone in a bar though Jay and we were wearing Seahawks jerseys. Turns out a pub was hosting a Super Bowl celebration for a Seahawks Backers of Arizona. We were a usually Bostonians in a place!

It was a usually dish of a day. Nothing great. A endurable turkey bar and 4 Hop Knot IPAs. Hey, it was diversion day!

Tilted Kilt is a fast flourishing inhabitant pub sequence famed for chubby womanlike bartenders and servers wearing brief skirts and tiny tops that uncover off unclothed midriffs. It has New England locations in Nashua, N.H. and Wethersfield, Conn. The association attempted to open a plcae in Quincy a few years ago though faced blowback since a suggestively clad staff would have been operative opposite a travel from a vast church. 

Jay puffed on a cigar he was handed outward Little Miss BBQ as we gathering a final few miles by complicated trade to a stadium. We pulled into a parking lot subsequent to a bucket of Seahawks fans were kind adequate to share a integrate glacial Bud Lights with us. Hey, any pier in a charge here. Hell, any cognac in a storm. The food and splash options during University of Phoenix Stadium were no better. Jay systematic a integrate bratwurst-style sausage that he didn’t finish. Beer was singular mostly to mainstream lagers. We staid for $12 cosmetic bottles of Budweiser. Ouch. we like a glacial Bud Heavy as many as a subsequent guy. But a tiny gameday accumulation never killed anyone. Gameday splash options are many improved here in Boston’s ballparks. 

Monday incited into another ensign food day:

Breakfast during Matt’s Big Breakfast in executive Phoenix, widely deliberate a best breakfast mark in town, with robust dishes done from locally sourced ingredients: forsaken eggs, ham steak, crush brown, and pancake; Iowa pig clout and eggs for Jay.

It was a prolonged 300-mile highway behind to Phoenix, punctuated usually by a discerning stop during a Wikieup Trading Post (just about a usually place for gas and reserve in a 200+ miles between Phoenix and Kingman. We scored a tiny jar of Cactus Jelly, done with irritated pear juice, from a Cactus Candy Co. of Phoenix; and some representation distance Arizona Cowboy prohibited salsas embellished out in 10-gallon hats. Pretty cute!

We pulled off a highway to take in aged Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona. It’s a scenic one-horse city surrounded by sheer dried plateau and with copiousness of Route 66 signage and memorabilia. Beautiful on a warm, balmy day (‘member those?). The city is even referenced in a famous song: “Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino.”

We downed a integrate $2 Buds and played some pinball during the Sportsman Bar, a colorful dive with yellow doorfront and lizard picture out front. The barkeeper was apparently parsimonious with a few business on hand. They had pooled their income for smoothness pizza. But they were accessible and apparently used to outsiders popping in for a pick-me-up after checking out Route 66.

We wanted another loyal ambience of Kingman, so a locals suggested El Palacio, a Mexican dilemma on a subsequent corner. We were anticipating for some singular juicy authentic Mexican food. We got nacho chips, burritos and margaritas. Nothing special. But we met a few Patriots fans during a bar. Like hundreds if not thousands of other New Englanders, they had flown into Vegas instead of Phoenix for a Super Bowl and done a celebratory array stop in Kingman a day after a game. 

We had a final cooking Monday night in Las Vegas. Boston liberality publicist Nicole Maffeo Russo worked in Vegas years ago and her friends there suggested cooking during La Cave during a Wynn Hotel. It’s a booze bar that specializes in American-style tapas. Beautiful room. We sat outdoor on a corner of a square unaware a sprouting pool area and enjoyed a comfortable dusk air. We savored a bacon and egg fettucini with prosciutto and sunny-side-up egg; cheesy fungus forage with pecorino; and a juicy three-bean salad with roasted artichokes that Jay deliberate one of a best dishes he had all weekend.  We also enjoyed a pig dumplings with brownish-red butter foam.

We kicked off a dish with an Italian charcuterie image of sour felino, sharp sopressata and delicious Parma prosciutto with wedges of tough fontina cheese. We sipped eyeglasses of champagne and red booze and a bottle of Speakeasy Double Daddy IPA. Judging by a continue here in Boston, that was out final dish outdoor for utterly some time. 

My final ambience of Vegas was early a subsequent morning as we done my approach to a airport, slugging on a bottle of Nevada-brewed Hop Box Imperial IPA while trudging by a Parisian-street-scene run of a Paris Las Vegas Hotel. Hey, we gotta adore a city where we can splash in open during 8:43 a.m. and nobody judges you.

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