Eight cities chosen as divisional favorites surpass standard fan fare with local specialties and creative choices
ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This fall, pro football fans will spend Monday nights and Sundays rooting for their favorite teams while munching on nachos, wings and a whole lot more. Based on the long-standing tradition of pairing gridiron action with notable eats, AAA inspectors have selected this season's top contenders solely on the merits of their home game food offerings.
Although every affiliated team won't be in line for a Lombardi Trophy come February, fans can still cheer on the championship caliber food. Discover where to find enough hidden talent and rising stars — like alligator-sausage po' boys and Dungeness crab panini — to fill a super-sized snack bowl.
Green Bay, Wis., Lambeau Field
Inside: Whether you're looking to go deep or grind it out on the ground, the cheese curds and beer cheese soup deliver in clutch situations at Curly's Pub, named for team founder, former player and head coach Earl "Curly" Lambeau. For a winning beverage accompaniment, try the Spotted Cow beer, a well-malted Wisconsin product, or the green Packertini. The loud, spacious restaurant has more large-screen TVs than the players' locker room. Outside: Two blocks away, the tailgate party that starts three hours before kick-off outside former quarterback Brett Favre's Steakhouse (1004 Brett Favre Pass) would make anyone keep coming back for more. Decorated with team photos, the AAA Two Diamond casual restaurant serves steaks, including a 20-ounce London broil, seafood and such Southern dishes as jambalaya.
Kansas City, Mo., Arrowhead Stadium
Inside: Start your offense by enjoying delicious, fine-smoked meats and sides including burnt ends, ribs, smoked sausages and rich cheesy corn at Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbeque, a long-time BBQ competition champ and Kansas-City style BBQ supplier. For another Kansas City original, stop at Topsy's Popcorn. The cinnamon flavor, one of four varieties, is the MVP of every game. Outside: Just a short drive away, your dining game plan could include amazing homemade comfort foods like chicken with dumplings and pot pies at the Corner Cafe (4215 S. Little Blue Parkway, Independence). This AAA Two Diamond casual country cafe opens at 5 a.m. for breakfast. There's no defense strong enough to avoid the temptations in the bakery cabinet just as you enter.
Miami Gardens, Fla., Sun Life Stadium
Inside: Tasty touchdown tidbits include paella, Asian stir-fries and Cuban sandwiches. Try the Cuban coffee for the extra point! After further review, it's clear the club level also offers up a couple of full-service restaurants. Outside: Still want to throw the challenge flag? Take a short drive to sample the jerk chicken and daily lunch specials at Lorna's Restaurant (2732 NW 183rd St.), featuring a Caribbean menu with mostly Jamaican and Bahamian delicacies and a few American dishes.
Nashville, Tenn., LP Field
Inside: Appetite trailing at half time? You'll want to get back on the field once you taste the BBQ nachos smothered in cheddar cheese and piled high with smoky Southern pulled pork topped with a tangy sweet BBQ sauce. Those on the club level can enjoy a spectacular buffet with carved roast beef, brunch offerings and barbecue. Outside: Just a short field goal away, fill up on traditional German fare like oyster rolls, kraut balls, potato pancakes and a Southern twist on fried pickles, an old-world favorite, at Gerst Haus (301 Woodland St.). Fans pack the "Haus" at this AAA Two Diamond German beer hall, serving beer brewed in-house, situated on the grounds of the former Gerst brewery.
New Orleans, La., Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Inside: A 10-year veteran, Triple B's Cajun Corner, is your all-star selection for crawfish pie, gumbo and an array of po' boys made with fried seafood, Louisiana hot sausage, smoked brisket and — a local favorite — alligator sausage. Noshing on a po' boy in one hand while leaving the other free to root for your team is a game-winning call. Outside: For hearty all-day breakfasts, seafood gumbo, "World's Best Baked Ham" and bread pudding, saunter 10 blocks toward the Mississippi or catch the vintage trolley to Mother's (401 Poydras Street). This AAA One Diamond iconic 1938 landmark has patrons lining up around the block, serving some 90,000 pounds of jambalaya last year alone. That's a whole lot of roux to root about!
Philadelphia, Pa., Lincoln Financial Field
Inside: No need to scramble out of the pocket when you stick with your go-to guy — the cheese steak of course, with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe, from Tony Luke's. Looking to pile it on? Then visit McNally's Tavern for a Schmitter consisting of steak, grilled salami, cheese, tomatoes, fried onions and special sauce on a Kaiser roll. Or, for a mega treat, try the Fat Darrell sandwich (originated at Rutgers University) made with chicken fingers, French fries, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce. Now that's a personal foul! Outside: Across the street at the Xfinity Live complex, try the Crabfries or white lobster pizza at AAA Two Diamond Chickie's & Pete's Crabhouse & Sports Bar (1526 Packer Ave) followed by TV game viewing at the NBC Sports Arena restaurant.
Pittsburgh, Pa., Heinz Field
Inside: Take your terrible towel to one of two Primanti Brother's locations for a meat and cheese sandwich with fries, eggs (optional) and coleslaw — a fan favorite of near-cult popularity. Not up for the steel curtain challenge? Other options include cheese steak and capicola sandwiches. Outside: For flatbread sandwiches served deep fried, blackened, grilled or stuffed, take the "Bus" a few blocks to former halfback Jerome Bettis' Grille 36 (393 North Shore Drive), frequented by locals and celebrities. Other attractions include generously portioned appetizers, numerous flat-panel HDTVs, a full bar and never-ending views of the riverfront or stadium skyline from the patio.
San Francisco, Calif., Candlestick Park
Inside: If you're looking for a place to huddle, gather for specialty sandwiches like the fresh Dungeness crab panini at the Gridiron Grill (Lexus level, above Gate B). Who needs a water boy when you can add a complement of mixers and condiments to your Bloody Mary at the full bar? Look downfield for Boudin's chowder in sourdough, as this local favorite is always open. Outside: Travel five miles to the casual AAA Three Diamond Chenery Park (386 Chenery Street) for great fish and chips with a remoulade sauce or house-made bacon or vegetarian mac 'n cheese. Their complex playbook includes dry aged sirloin steak and smoked pork chops with bacon, apricots and roasted potatoes.
For the complete lists of AAA/CAA inspector picks for food favorites across all U.S. and Canadian cities that host pro football games, visit the AAA travel blog at AAATravelViews.com.
Find additional dining options in the AAA.com Travel Guides, and ask about special offers on tickets, merchandise and hospitality areas at local AAA club offices.
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