The Super Bowl comes to New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium this Sunday, pairing two teams from cities with bounties of excellent eating, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. Emerald City, situated on Washington's Pacific Coast, offers an ocean of seafood, while the Mile High City draws on Colorado's rich ranching tradition with some of the country's best beef and lamb. Washington is also home to some of America's best wines (we list 22 reds and whites priced at $25 or less below), and Colorado has a burgeoning wine industry as well.
With the game kicking off in the home of the New York Giants and Jets, the New York–New Jersey area offers its own world of local specialties, restaurants and wines to choose from. See the sidebar for suggestions.
Two top chefs from Seattle and Denver have provided us with recipes for Super Bowl party fare, perfect for entertaining a crowd of any size. Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski, a Wolfgang Puck alum who now co-owns three restaurants—Rioja, Bistro Vendôme and Euclid Hall—offers her take on a French dip sandwich using Colorado lamb and goat cheese biscuits, along with a Colorado spinach and local goat cheese dip with homemade potato chips. Seattle chef Jason Franey, of one of the city's most beloved fine dining restaurants, Canlis, shares a recipe for his favorite football-watching snack, which he recently added to the Canlis menu as an amuse bouche: tater tots.
A few Seattle stalwarts jump to mind when the topic of Washington cuisine comes up: Coffee, salmon, Dungeness crab, oysters, clams and, of course, wine. Washington is also home to a huge craft-brewing industry, and Seahawk fans should have no trouble finding a few of the Evergreen State's many craft beers, including Chuckanut, Elysian, Fremont, Manny's, Pike, Redhook and many, many more. (Washington and Colorado craft beer devotees are encouraged to add their own favorites in the comments.)
"Dungeness crab is huge," said Mark Canlis, co-owner of his family's restaurant with his brother Brian. "We're pretty passionate about the fact that there's not a better-tasting crab in the world … if you wanna pick a fight, just walk into the city and say 'Dungeness crab is not the best crab in the world.'" Canlis said Dungeness crab is ubiquitous in the city, from fine dining all the way down to fish shacks, made into everything from crab cakes to hot crab dip. But it's perhaps best enjoyed unadorned, chilled and served with hot drawn butter and an ice-cold non-craft beer. (Check out the recipe for Rose Pistola's Cioppino for a more involved take on Dungeness crab.)
Chef Jason Franey's amuse bouche at Canlis in Seattle features a tater tot, wasabi rice crisp and morel tart.
"Everyone is in love with the original cheap Seattle beer, Rainier," Canlis said. "It's the equivalent of PBR: It's not a thinking man's beer. It's a friend. It's something you hold on to and drink when you're nervous and when you celebrate. If you serve Dungeness crab and Rainier beer, you are hitting at the hearts of every Seattleite," a population that has become as passionate about its football as its local crab. "The entire city has been galvanized by the [Seahawks]," Canlis said. "It's almost as if the team has given us hope, or sunshine, or a hit of Vitamin D. It's palpable. There's a lot of energy."
Over in the Centennial State, the local cuisine is all about the farm, with beef and lamb leading the way. Forget Denver omelets and Rocky Mountain oysters. For chef Jennifer Jasinski, a California native who traveled the world working for chef Wolfgang Puck before settling in Denver 15 years ago, Colorado cuisine means local produce and plenty of lamb—she's an "official Lambassador" of the American Lamb Board. She's also a Denver Broncos season-ticket holder.
To kick off a Denver-themed Super Bowl party, Jasinski created a spinach and cheese dip featuring local cheeses and homemade potato chips. "Colorado has some great dairies," said Jasinski. "We have great goat cheese, and I like Haystack Farms." She recommends Fruition Farms and Avalanche Cheese Co. as well.
The real prize of the Colorado farm table, however, is lamb, and Jasinski also provides a recipe for her French dip-inspired Colorado lamb sandwiches with goat cheese rosemary biscuits and a rich lamb jus for dipping. "Colorado lamb is the best in the country," Jasinski claimed.
Another local favorite in Denver that would serve a Super Bowl party well is green chili. "There are a lot of Mexican influences and a lot of good Mexican food in Colorado," Jasinski said. Green chili traditionally starts with browned ground pork, a slew of chiles (Anaheim, jalapeño, poblano, serrano), salsa verde and cumin, but most chefs make it their own special way. Beans are optional. Jasinski likes hers topped with crumbled goat cheese and crisp fresh tortilla chips.
"If you're going to have a Colorado tailgate, you need some Colorado beer," Jasinski added. Colorado craft beers to keep an eye out for include Avery, Fat Tire, Great Divide, Left Hand, Odell, Oskar Blues and Trinity. Colorado has plenty of wine, too. There are about 100 registered wineries in the state, and its two American Viticultural Areas, Grand Valley AVA and West Elk AVA, are home to some of the highest-elevation vineyards in the world, on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Some of the top wineries include Infinite Monkey Theorem, Canyon Wind and Boulder Creek.
Seattle vs. Denver Super Bowl Party Recipes
• Canlis Tater Tots
• Colorado Lamb Dip Sandwiches with Goat Cheese Rosemary Biscuits and Lamb Jus
• Chef Jen's Colorado Spinach Dip and Homemade Potato Chips
Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More value wines can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.
GOOSE RIDGE Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2011 Score: 91 | $24
Polished, vibrant and appealing, balancing notes of pear, lime and spice against juicy acidity, finishing with creaminess, length and mouthwatering lift. Drink now through 2016. 788 cases made.—H.S.
BERGEVIN LANE Chardonnay Columbia Valley She-Devil 2012 Score: 90 | $22
Bright and jazzy, with lively acidity balancing the pear and floral flavors, persisting on the long and active finish. Drink now through 2015. 633 cases made.—H.S.
CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills Horse Heaven Vineyard 2012 Score: 90 | $15
Bright, vibrant, expressive and juicy, with quince, pear, floral and spice flavors that dance through the long finish. Drink now. 53,000 cases made.—H.S.
CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE-DR. LOOSEN Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica 2012 Score: 90 | $20
Light and open-textured, with a touch of sweetness to the apple and green olive flavors, weaving a floral note into the deftly balanced finish. Drink now through 2016. 31,000 cases made.—H.S.
K Viognier Columbia Valley 2012 Score: 90 | $25
Vibrant, ripe, focused and distinctive, with honeyed almond and floral character around a core of pear and citrus flavors, lingering enticingly on the open-textured finish. Drink now through 2016. 1,875 cases made.—H.S.
CHARLES SMITH Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen 2012 Score: 90 | $12
Lovely, expressive, bright and vibrant, with apple, lime and citrus blossom flavors, persisting enticingly as the off-dry finish lingers against natural acidity. Drink now through 2015. 70,600 cases made.—H.S.
WATERBROOK Chardonnay Columbia Valley Reserve 2011 Score: 90 | $15
Ripe, round, polished and deftly balanced, playing the pear, quince and caramel flavors against lively acidity and a smooth texture. Lingers easily. Drink now through 2015. 1,724 cases made.—H.S.
CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2012 Score: 89 | $11
Bright and lively, with juicy pear and grapefruit flavors on a sleek frame, finishing with refreshing acidity and a polished texture. Drink now. 705,000 cases made.—H.S.
HOGUE Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2012 Score: 88 | $11
Light and bright, with refreshing pineapple accents to the pear and citrus flavors, finishing with restraint. Drink now. 93,000 cases made.—H.S.
MILBRANDT Pinot Gris Columbia Valley Traditions 2012 Score: 87 | $13
Fresh and lively, with pretty quince and spice flavors set on a light frame. Drink now. 9,000 cases made.—H.S.
PACIFIC RIM Riesling Columbia Valley 2012 Score: 86 | $10
Light, subtly sweet and sleek, with pretty pear and floral flavors on a delicate, silky frame. Drink now. 31,000 cases made.—H.S.
CHANDLER REACH Monte Regalo Yakima Valley 2010 Score: 92 | $22
Fresh and vibrant, sleek and expressive, this brims with blackberry, cherry, currant and spice flavors, weaving in an earthy note as the finish sails along. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Drink now through 2018. 651 cases made.—H.S.
DARBY Purple Haze Columbia Valley 2011 Score: 91 | $20
Vivid, polished and expressive, offering layers of currant, plum, spice and wet earth flavors that finish on a distinctive mineral note. Shows depth and distinction. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Best from 2015 through 2019. 820 cases made.—H.S.
APEX The Catalyst Columbia Valley 2010 Score: 90 | $15
Supple, broad and expressive, offering ripe, focused currant, cherry and mint flavors on a shiny beam that lingers on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Syrah. Drink now through 2018. 1,450 cases made.—H.S.
ARBOR CREST Merlot Columbia Valley Four Vineyards 2010 Score: 90 | $18
Vibrant, expressive and juicy, with violet-tinged blackberry and currant flavors, this rides easily on refined tannins to a gently lingering finish. Best from 2014 through 2018. 1,500 cases made.—H.S.
CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Syrah Columbia Valley 2011 Score: 90 | $14
Fresh and vibrant, this is polished in texture, glowing with blackberry, black olive and licorice flavors that flow smoothly into the long finish. Drink now through 2017. 25,000 cases made.—H.S.
DUNHAM Three Legged Red Columbia Valley 2011 Score: 89 | $19
Dark and spicy, with a lovely core of blackberry and cream playing against refined tannins and extending into an enticing finish. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2016. 6,271 cases made.—H.S.
CANOE RIDGE Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills The Expedition 2011 Score: 88 | $15
A fresh, vibrant and polished red, offering blackberry, currant and cream flavors on an open-weave texture, lingering gently. Drink now through 2016. 7,500 cases made.—H.S.
CASTLE ROCK Merlot Columbia Valley 2010 Score: 88 | $11
Fresh, vivid and inviting for its juicy blackberry and cherry fruit, persisting right through the open-textured finish. Drink now. 5,000 cases made.—H.S.
MILBRANDT Brothers' Blend Columbia Valley 2011 Score: 88 | $16
Fresh and appealing, this invites a second sip, with floral-accented black cherry and licorice flavors that linger gently on the medium-weight frame. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and others. Drink now through 2016. 7,000 cases made.—H.S.
RYAN PATRICK Redhead Red Columbia Valley 2012 Score: 88 | $10
Supple and succulent, with pretty cherry, pomegranate and spice flavors on a medium-weight frame, lingering pleasantly. Merlot, Primitivo and Malbec. Drink now through 2016. 3,500 cases made.—H.S.
SAGELANDS Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010 Score: 88 | $10
Features juicy currant and blackberry fruit, pushing through firm tannins and lingering on the expressive finish. Stylish. Best with a steak. Drink now through 2015. 6,000 cases made.—H.S.