|Me with Ottobar employee Tony|
Ah, yes. That once-a-year opportunity to root for whichever football team I happen to prefer in an epic contest that usually doesn’t include my favorite club. I speak of the Superbowl, of course, and as much as I wished for a Harbaugh Bowl featuring the San Francisco Forty-niners, a team I grew up with in Northern California, against the Baltimore Ravens, where I currently make my home (and whose respective coaches are the brothers Harbaugh), such a match was not to be and I was forced to choose an alliance from two east coast squads I know relatively little about.
Despite not having a home team in the big game, the occasion still calls for a rousing party, and for several years I’ve attended a festive get-together hosted by young friends I have watched grow from gangly college students with part time jobs in my then-husband’s architectural model shop to career men who have acquired spouses, homes, and now are having babies at an alarming rate. This gang of now-grown kids kindly continues to include me in their annual Superbowl extravaganza, which has outgrown its original space and now requires the use of a local bar, the Ottobar (http://theottobar.com/) in Baltimore City, which is closed to the public for our private event.
Our Superbowl party is a potluck, and people are encouraged to bring their favorite appetizers, side dishes, entrees and desserts. Sunday’s gala was no exception, as we had offerings of roasted potatoes, hot tamale pie, two kinds of Tater-tot casserole, several versions of meatballs, lots of interesting salads, pulled pork and hand-rolled sushi, among other fine delights. I made three dishes, including cilantro salsa with tortilla chips, baked artichoke-cashew dip with crackers, and old-fashioned spinach dip in a bread bowl with chunks of crusty bread for dipping. For almost ten years I have been put in charge of setting up the food portion of the party and organizing the edible offerings in a logical sequence as they arrive. Sunday was no different. Three long banquet tables covered in black cloths provided by the Ottobar groaned beneath five hotplates and several slow cookers warming the delicious food.
Among the party-goers was an employee of the Ottobar named Tony who came dressed as a grieving Baltimore Ravens fan in festive purple and black drag. Tony spent almost every commercial making the rounds with a platter of shots offered for a dollar apiece. For my own fashion statement, I chose simple brown leggings by HUE for Macy’s topped with a warm sparkly turtleneck sweater I bought at Macy’s years ago, and warm beige après-ski boots made in Slovakia that I purchased at Ski Haus in Glen Burnie, Maryland in 2005 or so. I didn’t wear much in the way of jewelry, but I did adorn my hair with my favorite dea dread by Thea Osato of Baltimore (http://deadreads.etsy.com/).
It was a great party and the team favored by this Baltimore crowd won the contest in a nail-biting second half. Madonna's halftime entertainment was very well-orchestrated, the commercials were fascinating, for the most part, and everyone had a great time, including me!