Pregame Rituals: Tips For Winning Your Super Bowl Sunday

From one sports fan to another, there is no bigger stage in sports than the Super Bowl — it is consistently one of the biggest days of the year for viewing parties and home entertaining. Get in touch with your inner Bill Belichick and run the show at your own viewing party. Ready to make a touchdown?

While roughly the entire country must wait until early evening, we get a very reasonable 3:30 p.m. kickoff. This means that you can share a drink (or three) with your guests without those #SundayScaries setting in too soon. Wine and beer are staples for this situation, with my personal choice being some New Zealand whites and Oregon reds, sharing the fridge space with some easy local beers. Docent Brewing, Gunwhale Ale, and Lost Winds Brewing Co. are all excellent choices. If your guests want to enjoy a drink but don’t want to “drink,” then Seedlip is your new best friend — a fully distilled but non-alcoholic spirit, treat it like a G&T and your sober guests will never smile harder.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a great cocktail. Instead of rolling out the entire bar cart though, pre-batch something spectacularly sippable that will appeal to all. Tyler Benson, former bar manager of the now-closed 370 Common, has taken his talents to Terrace by Mix Mix at South Coast Plaza, and has just the drink you need.

California Kickoff

Photo by Crawford McCarthy

Recipe by Tyler Benson

Yields One Cocktail

You’ll Need:

  • 1 ½ – 2 oz botanical gin
  • 1 ½ oz fresh blood orange juice
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • ¼ oz agave


Add Ice, shake and strain into a glass with garnish (see below), OR, pour into a highball and top with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic (regular Fever Tree or equivalent tonic also works) for a more nuanced dink.

Garnish with a thyme sprig and blood orange wheel. Ideally speaking, if you have the time, make it a dehydrated blood orange wheel. Place the desired amount of wheels onto a sheet pan and set the oven to 200 degrees until the wheels are dry to the touch, around 4 to 5 hours.

This day is all about big moments and there is no bigger moment than the food. There is a standard, safe way of doing things, where your guests will munch on the forgettable favorites while they talk about how they, like all of us, miss the Budweiser Frogs. That is not the path you should take. We have the recipes to prove it. Start with Chef Cody Storts’ bacon and habanero queso dip with avocado tomatillo pico. Chef Storts is no stranger to big flavors and bold style, with his restaurant Wreckless in Fullerton bringing a ludicrous volume of flavor to each bite. This queso is no exception as it is a favorite from his time in Texas. You can use whatever vessel for dipping you desire, but Chef has a recommendation — pork rinds. As he puts it, “I use pork rinds cause that’s the right way, however, your favorite corn chips work fine if your that kind of eater.”

Queso Dip Straight Texas Style

Recipes by Chef Cody Storts

You’ll Need:

  • 8 slices your favorite thick-sliced smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 small habaneros, small diced
  • ½ red onion, small diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 16 oz processed cheese, Velveta or American (I know its fake cheese but it’s a must for your Super Bowl party!)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs cilantro, finely chopped


  1. Place bacon in a medium pot over medium-heat and cook rendering the bacon fat. When almost crisped add habanero, red onion and garlic cloves. 
  2. When bacon is crisp and vegetables sweat, remove from heat and add milk slowly. 
  3. Return to flame and cook on medium-high heat to a simmer, then add processed cheese and cream cheese. Whisk till completely combined. Taste and add salt to your liking.
  4. Add scallions and cilantro once you have a velvety consistency. Your dip should be thick and creamy. Transfer to a heat-proof serving dish.

Avocado Tomatillo Pico

You’ll Need:

  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into small cubes
  • 5 medium tomatillos, no skin and small diced
  • ¼ red onion, small diced
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1tbs cilantro, rough chopped
  • Salt to taste


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss lightly. Taste and season as needed. Place on top of queso dip.

Dips dominate the early conversations during game day, but whatever else you bring to the party is always the question. There has to be more to a great party than five different 7-layer dips. It isn’t often that two of the biggest franchises in the league face each other on the biggest stage in the sport. Los Angeles taking on Tom Brady … I mean New England, presents for a great opportunity to bring in foods and flavors from both markets. When you think of New England, you think seafood, and, when you think about Los Angeles, you think tacos, or at least I do. So what about a dish that meets both of these needs? Well, Chef Paige Riordan has you covered to wow guests no matter who they root for. Chef Riordan just moved to Orange County from a 10-year stint on the east coast, cutting her teeth in New York. She is set to open her first restaurant in the summer, Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge – a modern speakeasy with a chef-driven menu and a family-driven kitchen and dining space. Her fish taco recipe is a perfect amalgam of “east meets west,” and a perfect addition to your game day, no matter which side your guests root for. 

New England Style Fish Tacos

Recipe by Chef Paige Riordan

Serves 12

You’ll Need:

Grilled Cod

  • 1 ½ lb cob
  • 12 Tortillas
  • 2 lemons, for garnish


  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs Old Bay 

Horseradish Coleslaw

  • ½ head cabbage
  • 1 bag shredded carrots
  • ½ cup horseradish
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ mayonaise
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 8 Beet stems
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Tartar Sauce

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ⅔ cup sweet relish
  • 3 tbs onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Season cod with salt, pepper and old bay. Mix lime juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke in a bowl then cover fish with marinate. Let sit in fridge for at least one hour. Grill fish for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
  2. For the coleslaw, chiffonade cabbage, then mix carrots and cabbage together. Grate Horseradish, then add to cabbage and carrot mixture. Thinly slice beet stems and add to bowl. Add remaining coleslaw ingredients to bowl: maple syrup, greek yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour. 
  3. For the tartar sauce, finely chop onion. Mix mayonnaise, greek yogurt, relish, salt and pepper in a bowl, then refrigerate for at least an hour.

From the drinks to the dips and beyond, your Super Bowl party will be so above the rest of the pack you’ll be calling Roger Goodell on Monday asking where your Lombardi Trophy for party hosting is — enjoy. Also, Rams by 10.

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