I don’t follow sports. So for me, Super Bowl Sunday is a social event based around eating food, drinking beer and watching angry men yell at the TV. As non-holiday, sporting based events go, Super Bowl parties are cool.
Back east, super bowl Sunday is all about drinking domestic beer and eating subs. A ‘sub’, of course, is shorthand for a Submarine sandwich—usually a twelve-inch marvel of bread, heaping piles of meat, a sprinkling of vegetables (think iceberg lettuce and mealy tomatoes) and some sort of strong flavored sauce. In my almost 10 years in LA, I’ve been to plenty of Super Bowl parties that featured hamburgers fresh off the grill, a smattering of Bud light and handcrafted beers, bowls of chips, and huge aluminum take out containers filled with Mexican take-out.
But never, in all of my years of Super Bowl parties, have I experienced anything like the culinary get togethers that my friends Chef Jason and Miho Travi throw. Their Super Bowl Sunday fetes includes champagne, Osetra caviar, and savoy fois gras on toast. Granted, Jason and Miho aren’t your typical Super Bowl Sunday hosts. Jason and Miho, are the chefs behind Fraiche Restaurant, Los Angeles Magazine’s best restaurant of 2007.
I should also mention, that Jason is without a doubt one of the biggest Patriots fans I know. Born and raised in a town just south of Boston, Jason and his season ticket-holding father are so dedicated to the sport they have been known to fly to key games to route for their teams. And route for the Pats they do. Like they were family.
The first time Jason and Miho invited my husband and I over to their house for a Super Bowl party, I had very low expectations. Instead of chips and dip, Jason offered us caviar on tiny pancakes. Instead of cans of Bud, they poured rose champagne. It didn’t take me long to realize that in Jason and Miho I had met the right people to teach me how to truly enjoy watching a game of football.
So when Jason and Miho invited my husband and I over to their house for the Big Game this year, I spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of food we would bring to the party. Wanting to bring over something elegant and easy, I went to a specialty cheese shop and found a small jar of the funky and oozing St. Marcillen cheese, a flavorful Brie de Nangis and a bagette from the Bread Bar. Instead of carrying in the traditional six pack of watery beer, we brought a selection of cork topped, hand crafted Trappist beers by Chimay and pear cider.
As the game played, we enjoyed a Rabbit terrine, fois gras on brioche toast, and Italian cheeses with a sweet Moustarda di frutta. As we cheered the Patriots and their solid lead, Miho offered us delicious home made chicken and beef tamales. The tamales were so incredible I watched my husband, Hans, eat one after another while never taking his eyes off the TV screen. Our newly made friends from Nook Restaurant, brought home made salsas (spicy roasted red pepper, a spicy crèma and sweet spicy tomatillo salsa).
Later, as the game was drawing to a close and it looked like the Patriots were going to win, Jason whipped up some perfectly cooked scrambled eggs and topped some brioche toast with it.
He generously handed out a tin of Petrossian caviar and a spoon to each couple and wished us happy eating. But, as we slipped the first silky bite of eggs on eggs into our happy mouths, things turned ugly for our team. We watched in horror as NY got control of the ball and quickly jumped ahead of us in points. We stared at the screen in horror as the last thirty seconds ticked away.
The party ended rather quickly after that. Jason shook his head with shocked disappointment and everyone else paced back and forth in thwarted silence. We watched in shock as NY fans crowded the field and celebrated their victory over New England.
Though the brutal end to the game was more than a little upsetting to all, the party itself was incredibly enjoyable. I have to hand it to Travi, his food and his passion for the game has made me a huge Patriots fan.
I’m hungry for a rematch.