Giant soft pretzel with beer-cheese dip at Lagasse’s Stadium (Palazzo, 607-2665) I’m sure there are people and restaurants and bars out there who/which are totally into upgrading traditional game day munchies into something more foodie-fancy. Seems entirely unnecessary. While Lagasse’s Stadium—you know, the spot Emeril took over from Jay-Z—is all about upgrading the sports viewing experience, the grub there mostly stays on course, and I appreciate that. This huge, buttery pretzel—soft and chewy with a little crunch from sea salt flecks—is a nice starter and beer-soaker-upper, and it’s accompanying beer-cheese dip is laced with jalapeño. But eat this dip fast. It’s greasy and fades fast.
Jalapeño bottlecaps at Roadrunner Saloon (921 N. Buffalo Drive, 242-2822) This Bronco bar is where I’ve spent most Sundays this season, due to my wife’s Colorado-ness. (So strange, she’s become a much more fervent fan this season. Wonder why?) These simple spicy bites—thickly sliced coins of fresh jalapeño deep fried in a light batter—are my go-to first order, along with a pitcher of frosty Dos Equis lager. Some are hotter than others, but it’s hard to tell because we scarf them at a ferocious rate.
Tostitos salsa con queso dip at my house Don’t judge me. A bag of chips and a steaming bowl of this gunk is the closest I can come to approximating stadium nachos at home. Of course, I doctor it up with a can of roasted and diced green chiles. Plastick-y cheese dip is great but it needs the heat and the flavor boost.
Chicken nachos at Steiner’s Pub (1750 N. Buffalo Drive, 304-8084) Contrary to logical thinking, you can screw up nachos. (See previous item, for example.) Great nachos are not a sloppily thrown together pile of crunchy chips, cheese and drippy toppings. Give each nacho some individual affection, the way they do at Steiner’s. Each crunchy corn chip gets its own piece of grilled yardbird, mini-piles of melty cheese and black beans, and slice of pickled jalapeño, plus guac, sour cream and salsa on the side for you to dress as you wish. This is how you make every bite count.
Green chile chicken tacos at Rob and Lisa’s house (Not giving you their address) My friends and I split a large purchase of roasted New Mexico Hatch chiles this year, and they made great use of their batch, tossing them into a crockpot with chicken, salsa verde and some other vegetables for a super-spicy and succulent Sunday treat. I gleefully piled this stuff into griddled tortillas and lost track of the game, relishing every perfect endorphin-blazing bite.
All kinds of wings at Buffalo Wild Wings (7345 S. Durango Drive, 260-4800) Even though this chain has become increasingly corporate in recent years, you have to admit they do football food right. Easy menu, lots of TVs, pretty quick with a fresh beer ... what else do you need? With 20 different sauces and seasonings for the wings, you can get pretty stupid and tasty up in here. I like to get a half-dozen of the silliest-named flavors: Asian Zing, Desert Heat, Jammin’ Jalapeño, and Obnoxiously Drunk. Okay, I might have invented that last one.