Food for Thought

Game on! Houston chefs recommend perfect food for football-watching

Game on! Houston chefs recommend perfect food for football-watching

Texans cookies from Ooh La La
For before, during and after the big game: Hand-decorated Texans cookies from Ooh La La. Photo by Kimberly Park
Gladewater round house
You can't go wrong with fajitas and fixin's from Molina's, along with Jose's Dip and chips, of course! Photo courtesy of Tracy McKnight
Killen's BBQ barbecue sausage
Swing by Killen's BBQ Pop Up on Sunday and order Ronnie Killen's housemade beef and pork sausage to go. Photo by Kimberly Park
Football Cupcake Truffles from Ooh La La
For that sweet tooth, try Ooh La La's delicious football truffles. Photo courtesy of Ooh La La
football and beer
And of course, beer is the favorite beverage for all the games.
Texans cookies from Ooh La La
Gladewater round house
Killen's BBQ barbecue sausage
Football Cupcake Truffles from Ooh La La
football and beer

I may actually watch a Texans game this year. There seems to be a lot of hoopla about them right now and I want to stay culturally relevant.

I actually went to a preseason game when they first started but I didn’t watch the game. I was a guest in the Founders Box and I was way more interested in the kitchen, the chefs and the banquet they laid out. Which was awesome.

The last game I watched on TV was back in the '80s when the Bears were in the Super Bowl. If I recall the quarter back was kinda cute and, yes, I was watching the game with a date I was trying to impress. So I made oysters Rockefeller.

I explained this to a friend over brunch last Sunday and she was horrified.

“No, no,” she said. “That’s not football food. You have to make finger food, chips and dips and chicken wings.”

I don’t know, that doesn’t sound very exciting.

So, just in case I do watch a game this season, I decided to ask some chefs what they serve on game day.

Tex-Mex and the basics

Ricardo Molina of Molina’s Cantina, of course, went with Tex-Mex. “Chips, salsa, queso, grilled fajitas chopped in smaller bite sized pieces, guacamole and cold beverages,” he says. “I watch the Texans, Aggies and little league baseball when in season!”

Sounds good, luckily for all you can swing by a Molina’s Cantina and pick up fajitas and fixings to go. And don’t forget the Jose’s Dip.

Drew Gimma, head bread baker at Common Bond, gets the basics right:

“Beer!” he says. “We’ve been tasting a lot of the local beers that aren't readily available in NYC, so that's been a stock item in our fridge.”

Jillian Bartalome, executive pastry sous chef for Common Bond and Drew’s girlfriend, added her take on game day food. “During football season, we stay at home on Sundays, if we’re not working, and Drew watches the games while I cook whatever I feel inspired to,” she says.

“We’ve done wings a couple of times, but usually we stick with one-pot meals that you can eat on the couch without missing any of the action. Most recently I made beef bourguignon with sample chuck we got from Cordelia and Dennis at Augustus Ranch. In the past, I’ve done wings, burgers, pasta. Sometimes Drew will have extra bread he brings home so, depending on what it is, we’ll pick up some nice cheese and wine and more likely skirt steak and more beer.”

I’m sensing a theme at their house.

Super food

Chef Ronnie Killen, he of steakhouse fame and pop up BBQ, goes with the ‘que for football watching. He’s not only a fan but vice versa. Texans have been spotted at his Pearland steakhouse often.

“Barbecue, of course,” he says. “And potato salad, pulled pork beans and Lone Star beer.”

Again with the beer. And to think all this time I’ve been serving bubbly.

Dessert queen Vanessa O’Donnell confirms the drink of choice.

“St. Arnold’s Lawnmower beer, a really great Chex snack mix that Mike (her hubby) makes, and for dessert, Ooh La La's Texans cookies, of course!” You might want to pick up some of those cute and yummy Texans themed cookies and little football shaped truffles yourself for the next game.

Or, if you’re like me, throw down with some oysters Rockefeller. Try this recipe from Bon Appetit that uses spinach, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. You can leave off the fennel seeds and watercress to make it even easier. Certainly easier than the original 1899 recipe created at Antoine’s in New Orleans that reportedly had 18 ingredients.

Please note one of the keywords in the above recipe is Super Bowl food.

So I’m not crazy.