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Las Vegas chefs offer ideas for Super Bowl party foods

Whether the Kansas City Chiefs or San Francisco 49ers reign supreme Sunday, Carson Kitchen chef/owner Cory Harwell is sure of one thing.

“Everybody in the world,” he said, “is thankful that the Patriots aren’t in the Super Bowl again.”

Well, maybe not the fans of the New England team that holds the record for the most Super Bowl appearances with 11. But their absence has to be good news to party hosts who try to theme their food to the teams and are tired of the same old lobster rolls and baked beans.

“I love the food from both of these cities,” Harwell said of the homes of this year’s competing teams. “I think the fun part is really celebrating the foods from both areas. If you have a dog in the fight, by all means, do your dog. But otherwise it really is fun to celebrate both cities.”

Harwell said Super Bowl party food has to follow the rule book: It has to be finger food and of a casual nature, so it can be consumed during timeouts, while engaging in excessive celebration or when going out for a pass at the beer keg.

Burnt ends

For Kansas City, one choice stands out.

“Obviously, barbecue’s a big deal,” said Silverton executive chef Ashley Archer, who lived in Kansas City for a few years. “I’d definitely have some burnt ends with some homemade pickles and pickled red onions. I’d probably have to fly in some Gates barbecue sauce. There would definitely be some creamed corn like they have at Jack Stack Barbecue.”

Archer said while Carolina barbecue is all about the sauce and Texas-style is all about the smoke, in Kansas City it’s about the rub.

And burnt ends, of course.

“You can’t have a conversation about barbecue without Kansas City being in the first sentence,” Harwell said. “And you can’t discuss Kansas City without talking about burnt ends. I don’t think there’s a better finger food we could serve Sunday.”

He said burnt ends were created in Kansas City, when pitmasters found a new use for the fattier point end of the brisket, which took so long to render its prodigious fat that the leaner flat part was overcooked.

Harwell said he’d also opt for Kansas City-style potato salad, made with skin-on red potatoes, cider vinegar, dry barbecue spice, barbecue sauce, onions and celery.

And for dessert: “What I think is the godfather of the cinnamon roll,” he said, from Stroud’s. “It’s one of my favorite things in the entire world, loaded with butter and gooey, crunchy goodness, which I think is a wonderful Super Bowl food.”

But let’s not forget San Francisco.

“I think San Francisco is one of the top three cities in the country, for sure, in terms of influence on overall cuisine,” Harwell said.

He suggested avoiding the obvious.

“Everyone’s got to mention you’ve got to do a clam chowder in a bread bowl,” he said, “but that’s kind of a given.”

Asian influence

He suggested instead to focus on things that were invented in San Francisco, like fortune cookies or Irish coffee, or popularized there, such as soup dumplings. The latter celebrates the Asian influence on the city, as does one of Harwell’s top choices.

“One of my favorite sandwiches in the entire world is at a place called Roxie” Market & Delicatessen, he said. “Roxie makes what we know today as Dutch crunch rolls, but 70 years ago it was known as Tiger Bread,” which is painted with rice paste to produce a crunchy top that contrasts with the soft crumb inside.

“I would try to find some Dutch crunch rolls in town and put up a little submarine action for everybody to grab.”

Another option, he said: carnitas Mission-style burritos.

Gerald Chin, vice president of culinary operations for the steak and International Smoke divisions of the San Francisco-based Michael Mina group, said he’d go with cioppino.

“One, that’s kind of the birthplace of it,” he said. “Two, it’s easy to do for a lot of people.”

Chin said he’d incorporate Dungeness crabs, mussels, lobster, San Marzano tomatoes, orange zest and fresh orange juice.

“I like to finish it with a little bit of orange liqueur, which is my thing,” he said. “A little Cointreau or Grand Marnier. And some grilled sourdough bread right off the grill.”

But don’t forget something sweet.

“This is why I think the 49ers are going to win: the dessert option,” Harwell said. That would be the San Francisco-born It’s-It ice-cream sandwich, two oatmeal cookies sandwiching ice cream and dipped in dark chocolate that was so good, 1920s-era fans declared it “It.”

But while Super Bowl food is super-important, Harwell hasn’t lost sight of the purpose for it all.

“I’m just excited for the game,” he said.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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