I’d rather spend my Sunday doing just about anything other than watching a football game – unless it’s the Super Bowl.
By Chris Watson
It is probably the biggest American party of the year.
Not probably. It is.
It has all the inebriation of Mardi Gras, the hopefulness (along with disappointments) of New Year’s Eve, the blow out food of St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, and 4th of July…combined; it even involves costuming (got that fan gear ready?) and now you can throw in Easter with decorated cookies and color coded M&M’s.
THE SUPER BOWL. Even the name is a not very subtle cross between over confidence and casual kitsch. No fancy plates for our food during the game. Just bowls of snacks served up on paper plates. Our hands will do if there is a handy roll of dollar store paper towels available. However, we don’t want to seem disinterested or be outdone by the neighbors so we will make the bowls and the food SUPER. Even the commercials on TV are over the top, both in production and expense. And somewhere in there a sporting event occurs.
Not feeling like cooking? Or baking? Or really doing anything? No worries. Our local markets have some of the best party food around and available for pick up. The beauty is that these markets have this food year round. Why we wait for parties to enjoy their amazing snacks and edibles is a mystery. So get out and do something local for the Super Bowl. Watching the game is optional…
Let’s face it, WCM is the quarterback of a Super Bowl party. We begin with their smokehouse, which has a variety of summer sausage, brats, and sausage. Even bologna and braunschweiger. How can that be bad? Plus both stores have an excellent selection of cheese, wine, craft beers including local brews, and respectable bakeries. Hidden in all that goodness are in-house made cheeseballs and dips and a reasonable olive bar. Finally, don’t forget to check out salsas and dips located outside the deli and in the aisles. Many are local or regional made and those same isle have great mustards and BBQ sauces. In other words, WCM is pretty much a local one stop shop for the Super Bowl…or really any time.
Sofo’s might be the unsung hero of any party, and certainly qualifies as an MVP for a Super Bowl Bash. Sure, they have great Italian stuff but with a little creativity you can turn their ingredients into an amazing and impressive spread. Even before the coin toss (which I always get suckered into a pool over who will win that “competition”) you can either buy one of their ready to bake pizzas or buy the ingredients (including an amazing ready to bake crust) and make your own. Forget the take out or frozen. This is pizza worthy of an evening of overindulgence. Plus their ready to bake calzones and ready to eat cannolis. Olives, cheeses, and deli meats and an excellent bakery. Truly if I had to choose ONE store to get ready for the Super Bowl it would be Sofos (with humble apologies to Walt and Sauder’s and even Tiger Bakery).
Call this the special teams of a Super Bowl Party. Both of these markets/deli’s have first string choices for a party. Humus and pita obviously. However, don’t neglect their other offerings. At Tiger I am particularly fond of their individual pies, with the spinach being my favorite. I also love the salads at the Middle East Market and they have an amazing bakery with sweet treats. Both of these are a great shopping stop…or several.
Both of these markets are best described as the “front four” of our lineup. Good, solid, old school markets that have lots of hidden advantages. They are quick to navigate, have respectable bakeries and kitchens, and carry lots of local products including decent wine selections and local brews. Most of all, they are the essence of a local market with an “old school” feel that makes Super Bowl shopping both respectable AND enjoyable.
We have to call this the half time show. Stanley’s probably won’t cover your needs for an entire party but they do have one thing…their kielbasa. I am particularly fond of the smoked version. The point is, if you had to step away from the comfort (and chaos) of a mega mart and venture somewhere for the Super Bowl, Stanleys is a pretty good choice. No one (except perhaps the vegan in your life) will object if you make Stanley’s kielbasa for a party.