Sunday, November 22, 2009
Game Day Food: Part II of II
I learned a lot of things this weekend while in Ann Arbor, cheering on the struggling Wolverines while simultaneously celebrating their incredible tradition and the strength of my liver.
Lesson #1: Zingerman's is still the greatest single foodie mart/delicatessen in all the land. My friend Mike and I cruised their balsamic vinegar aisle and sampled "vintages" that were 10, 35, 60, even 100 years old. The taste difference is remarkable--from an extremely sharp vinegar edge in the younger versions, to ones that were almost like a syrup and were so sweet, it bordered on tasting like dark chocolate. Mike also introduced me to another delicious Zingerman's creation, the #85, the Detroit BBQ sandwich, complete with baked beans on the side. However, my heart still belongs to the #11 pastrami on rye with caramelized onions, brown mustard, and melted swiss. We ate our faces off and he even let me have his pickle, which gave me enough fuel and sustenance to make a smooth segue into my next "teachable moment."
Lesson #2: Just because you say you are turning into a pumpkin at midnight in an attempt to not be obscenely hung-over for game day, does not mean you can't do enough damage in 90 minutes to make you question your decision to go to a cheesy "undergrad" dance club the night before the game.
Lesson #3: Bacon cures everything. So does Irish coffee. My friend Pier hosted a sweet tailgate that included all these things and brought a bit of Princeton up to Michigan by making cheesy eggs. Unfortunately, he learned the heard way that you can't make cheesy eggs 24 at a time in a stock pot. The skillet is a required tool for successful scrambled egg making, and to try anything else will result in cheesy eggs with little black burned bits throughout that taste like pencils. Thankfully, there was plenty of other breakfast meat and doughnuts to go around, and we went off to the Big House with full bellies and high-spirits to battle the Buckeyes.
Lesson #4: I really hate Ohio State. And Tate Forcier, I like you a lot, but you really need to get your shit together.
Lesson #5: Bratwurst "sandwiches" are great tail-gate food. Your hands don't get messy, they are way better than hot dogs, and if it is a spicy wurst, you don't need any sort of condiment that could splatter all over your favorite maize sweatshirt.
Lesson #6: Mediterranean food is a surprisingly good way to get your "second wind" back. After the game, Mike and I took a 3 hour nap, waking up at 7pm groggy as hell and both trying our best to rally for the night ahead. I was completely greased-out and so we went to Jerusalem Garden and had some great hummus, falafell balls, rice pilaf, and some amazing lentil soup. The spice and potent flavors and relative "lightness" of the food really revitalized us, and I am resolving to integrate more tahini in my own cooking. We went on to party it up until 4am, complete with "beer monster" chugs, festive "Ole! Ole, ole, ole!" chants, boots of beer, and the hilarity of seeing my friend Paul in pigtails, who was in rare form upon being reunited with all his old wolverine teammates.
Lesson #7: I am old and can't hack it like I used to. But it was totally worth it!