by Aimee Vitek
Even if you don’t like football, you’ve gotta be a little bit jealous (just a little, tiny bit?) of all the fans who will experience all the rowdy tailgating and game day partying that’ll be going down in the Big Easy.
Why else do millions of people tune in to this game each year? Most do their best to re-create their own gameday experience at home, whether it’s posting up for rounds of drinking lawn games, grilling and cooking up delicious gameday grub or sporting team colors (even if it’s not “their team”).
That’s where Chef Emeril Lagasse comes in, with his new Cooking Channel show, Emeril’s Florida. It’s a gig where he travels around the state, meeting chefs, visiting restaurants and exploring local food trends.
Just in time for the big game, this week "Emeril’s Florida Tailgate Challenge" (airing 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 3) lands the chef smack-dab in the middle of one of the most storied college football gameday traditions in, not only Florida, but also the nation: Florida State University Seminoles vs. University of Florida Gators.
The episode features an FSU vs. UF “tailgate hamburger platter” cook-off, and Emeril meets with former Gator quarterback and BCS National Championship MVP Chris Leak and FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher’s wife Candi Fisher. And alongside his son EJ, the chef will fix up some personal gameday recipe faves, like his bacon potato salad and EJ’s simple oven-barbecue ribs.
I happen to be an FSU alumnus, and so naturally, I’ll be rooting for the Seminoles. But no matter which team you root for in "Emeril’s Florida Tailgate Challenge," or in the Super Bowl, no doubt there’ll be enough tailgating action and game-watching revelry to go around this weekend – served best with a side of team spirit, of course.
And in case you’re looking for a place to watch the Super Bowl, you can grab a seat at one of these establishments to catch the game and enjoy some brews and food.
6:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, LA
With beer, barbecue and plenty of TVs
Complete with a huge, 15-foot screen LCD television, Coors Light and SoCo drink specials every quarter
Wall and Court streets
Hosting its own Burgers, Booze, + Bowl Game party with two-for-one drink specials and raffle prizes
24 E. Washington St.
Find the location closest to you. Grab a seat anywhere in the place and you’ll find a TV very close by
Super Bowl party on the patio, starting with a tailgate party at 4 p.m., and then the real party begins at 6 p.m. with drinks, a buffet and a drawing for a 50” LG Plasma TV
6400 Times Square Ave.
Three locations in the area with tons of TVs. They also offer Super Bowl takeout.
Even if you can’t actually be in the Big Easy, you can act like it!
2203 Aloma Ave., Winter Park
With plenty of room, you can jump, run and stomp around all you like as you watch one of 13 television sets located inside. There’s no excuse why you should miss a second of the game.
42 W. Central Blvd.
Watch the game on an outdoor big screen, eat some chili and guzzle down some drink specials.
55 W. Church St., Suite 128
They don’t have food, but you are more than welcome to bring your own. However, they do offer 500 different choices of beer, so you may spend more time trying out the different varieties than watching the 49ers and Ravens battle it out.
With plenty of room and plenty of booze, you and your friends should have no problem enjoying yourself here for the Super Bowl festivities.
TVs are all over the place, which makes watching the game easy, along with a menu of beer, nachos, hotdogs and other dishes. And hey, if you get bored while watching the commercials, there is a basketball and skeeball machine as well.
150 S. Magnolia Ave.
For those looking for a classier, more sophisticated way to party for the Super Bowl, Taps is the location for you. Serving up tapas-style appetizers and a large selection of beer, you will party like an NFL star.
480 N. Orlando Ave, Ste 130, Winter Park
What’s a Super Bowl party without some buffalo wings to chomp on? Buffalo Wild Wings has all the wings you want, along with giant TVs and plenty of drinks to go around.
If you could care less about the game, but just want to go out that night for a drink, check out The Falcon, with it’s huge beer and drink selection.
819 E. Washington St.
Your team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, but the football fanatic in you still wants to watch the game. Hide away at The Hideaway Bar for the evening, where you can enjoy the game regardless of the winner.
516 Virginia Drive
With its own Super Bowl party and drink specials.
1550 Semoran Blvd.
Grab a $1 drink, some food at the complimentary buffet and watch the game on all five TVs (if you’re that good!).
410 N. Orange Blossom Trail
How does a nice juicy burger sound while enjoying the 49ers and the Ravens fight it out in the Super Bowl? Graffiti Junktion just might be your spot. Check the website for one of the many locations in Orlando for the nearest one to you.