GOOD AND MEATY Samuel’s wings.
While Patriots fans may not have much enthusiasm for this year's Super Bowl, that's hardly an excuse not to bring your A game to the party. After all, it's the party — the eating, the drinking, the yelling vulgarities at the television screen — that makes it an event worth attending, whether you care about the outcome or not. But keep in mind, when it comes to hosting such an event, there are some culinary standards to abide by. First of all, healthy means nothing. It's not that there isn't some nutritional value to be found on Super Bowl Sunday, it's just that it doesn't matter. Health is a non-issue, so disregard it immediately before contributing to such a party. And, frankly, the messier the dish is to eat, the better.
When I think of football, I immediately think of chicken wings. I'm not sure if it's the heightened level of testosterone that makes tearing into meat and sucking bones clean so appropriate for watching a game based largely on brute force, but whatever it is, the two go hand-in-hand.
A great place to find chicken wings that may be off your radar is SAIGON RESTAURANT at 795 Forest Avenue. The wings are fried in ginger, soy sauce, and oyster oil, giving them a slightly sweeter flavor than conventional wings; the Asian-style batter makes them more airy and crunchier than traditional wings. They're delicious and right on par, price-wise, with other local wing joints, in at $6.50 for six wings. Plus, they deliver so you'll never be in danger of missing a single $2.6-million 30-second commercial (and that's just the average price from the 2010 Super Bowl; this year's price tag is bound to be higher).
If you're more into traditional wings, try SAMUEL'S BAR AND GRILL at 1160 Forest Avenue. They offer a variety of flavors including buffalo, sweet Thai chili, barbecue, and dirty. The sweet Thai chili has just enough heat to make your nose run and your brow sweat, but a good balance of sweetness to allow you to eat more. Plus they're good and meaty. I haven't tried the dirty flavor, but was told that it's the buffalo wings, refried, making them crispier and not quite as spicy. They don't deliver, but you can order take-out, and don't worry, the mainstream media is bound to give ample coverage to the "best" commercials on Monday, so you won't really miss much. At Samuel's you get 10 traditional wings for $8.95. And for future reference, on Wednesdays and Thursdays they have 50-cent wings starting at 4 pm. That's hard to beat.
If you're feeling a little ambitious and want to try preparing something for your friends, I'd suggest making some meatball subs. The meatballs from MICUCCI GROCERY at 45 India Street are delicious, which can only be expected from this Italian grocer. You can get a five-pound bag of frozen meatballs (which is roughly 20 large meatballs) for $14.99. I'm a big fan of one-stop shopping; Micucci's also has its own line of sauces and a large selection of cheeses to choose from. The Luna bread made there is kind of a big deal in the bakery world and the pillowy-soft, half-moon loaf ($1.99) makes an excellent foundation for an open-faced meatball sandwich. The bread comes out most mornings at 8 am and tends to go fast, so be sure to get it early. Trust me, your friends will be really impressed and it might take their minds off the fact that nobody really cares who wins anyway.
Leischen Stelter can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.