In a few days, the Denver Broncos will face off against the Carolina Panthers to determine who will win the Big Game. Americans will spend 4.2 billion dollars on bets. Brands will pay $5 million for 30-second commercials. And on Sunday, roughly 75,000 people will cram into Levi’s Stadium to catch the action live.
Looking at the numbers and the surrounding hype, the showdown is clearly a big deal, but if we’re honest, to us it’s ultimately not about which team will win the game—it’s about which team has the best food.
The Broncos are the underdog for Sunday, and truthfully, that might extend to their shot for winning top culinary honors against the Panthers. There may be fantastic restaurants in Denver, but when it comes to native cuisine, the city is a little lacking. While there’s a small granite monument that claims the cheeseburger was first created locally in 1935 by Louis E. Ballast, the owner of the Humpty Dumpty Barrel restaurant, it’s a largely contested fact (particularly by those living in Louisville, KY, another argued birthplace of the famous burger). Otherwise, there’s game meat aplenty in Denver (think: elk, buffalo, reindeer, wild boar etc.), along with Rocky Mountain Oysters, green chile on everything ranging from burgers, fries, and tamales, and lastly, honey-crust pizza. Aside from Rocky Mountain Oysters (otherwise known as bull, pig or sheep testicles), Denver cuisine is largely approachable and has wide appeal, but it doesn’t necessarily seem to stand out from the pack.
Recipe to try: Zucchini-Heirloom Tomato Pizza with Ricotta and Spiced Honey
Barbecue, hush puppies, shrimp and grits, pimento cheese, pig pickin’…when it comes to regional food and culinary traditions, Charlotte, NC is pretty set. People take their food seriously there, and there’s no shortage of comforting, southern staples. The default options may not be diet- or vegetarian-friendly, but locals and tourists alike don’t seem to mind. Sure, Cheerwine or vinegar-based barbecue sauce haven’t hit national popularity, but Charlotte is still a culinary destination with options that can please both the pickiest eaters and gourmands.
Between Denver or Charlotte, which food city is your favorite? Weigh in by tweeting your answers to @Plated.
Image: Courtesy of Super Bowl 50