Even more than the Fourth of July, we think Super Bowl Sunday is the quintessential American holiday. Barbecue, fried foods, and sitting on the couch with a beer may not make us the healthiest nation, but we still celebrate in gluttonous style every year. This week, we decided to train for the big game. And no, we weren't on the field running plays or sacking quarterbacks; we were preparing for the debaucherous tailgating and viewing parties.
There seems to be an unwritten rule that if one is watching football, there must be an alcoholic beverage in hand — maybe it's all those beer commercials. Straying from the hop-laden brew many enjoy during the game, we sharpened our drinking skills with an event hosted by Crown Royal. Last Wednesday, the Canadian whisky company threw a party at Social Restaurant and Wine Bar to introduce their new maple-finished liquor to the Lowcountry. Upon arrival, guests were encouraged to try a Crown Royal cocktail — we stuck with an Old Fashioned. The drink was sweeter than expected and the familiar scent of sugary syrup left us with a craving for pancakes. We roamed around looking for a familiar face, but it wasn't your typical crowd of bloggers, tweeters, and media people that we've come to expect at PR events. Multiple photographers bumped around making the camera-shy among the group hide in the corner. After a toast to "Hashtag CRMaple," attendees were encouraged to create a new shot with the featured whisky for a chance to take home a maple Gibson guitar. The winner was "Easy Like Sunday Morning," concocted by Katie Perkinson, a blend of Crown Maple, pineapple, orange, and lemon juice — sounds like a fun way to start a Super Bowl brunch.
After training our livers, it was time to exercise our wallets. We've heard that a small wager is always a good way to make the big game more exciting, and since there aren't any casinos in Charleston, we practiced our betting in a more demure way: with an auction benefitting the Spoleto Festival USA. (OK, we know it's a stretch, but these events can get just as heated as the roulette tables in Vegas.) On Friday, we stopped by Memminger Auditorium to take in the live auction and private concert by the Charlton Singleton Jazz Ensemble. In the cocktail hour before the event, guests were treated to canapés from Cru Catering and an open bar. Kate Long Stevenson, whose painting is featured on this year's promotional materials, was in attendance as well as other artists like muralist David Boatwright. Partygoers were ushered to their tables as the performance started, and it wasn't too long before the auction was in full swing. Numbers flew through the air as the crowd bid on everything from a trip to Tuscany to a concert with the Doobie Brothers.
We held back from breaking the bank on Friday, so we would have enough funding for our Saturday training. It was finally time to stretch out our bellies and prepare for the Super Bowl spreads of chicken wings and cheese dip at the Second Annual Food Truck Rodeo. Marion Square was absolutely packed at lunchtime as Charlestonians turned out to sample eats from a line of mobile kitchens stretching across the greenspace. Many of our favorites were in attendance, including Roti Rolls, Foodie Truck, Outta My Huevos, and some new additions. The longest line was for Diggity Doughnuts — it stretched past several other vendors, as it seemed everyone was craving sweets. Nonprofit tables were set up with educational information and a band played on stage, but we were more interested in trying as many things as we could. Arms full of barbecue, grilled cheeses, and tacos, we settled on the lawn to stuff our faces. With the drive of a competitive eater, we were now prepared for Sunday.
As we sat on our couch watching the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens fight it out for Super Bowl championship (but mostly Beyoncé) we realized that all of our training had paid off as we ate and drank our way through the event without a hitch. We even awoke the next morning feeling refreshed and wondering where the leftovers were hiding.