Dueling diners: Smoked salmon meets Cheetos

January 29, 2014 

There’s no reason why a Super Bowl rivalry has to stay on the grass. After all, it’s not just a coincidence that barbecue grills and football fields are both called gridirons.

So as soon as the title games were over on Jan. 19, I was in touch with William Porter, the restaurant critic for The Denver Post. Would he like to engage in a friendly smack down on our two states’ food cultures? Quicker than Richard Sherman can tip a ball from a hapless 49er, Porter agreed. Coloradans, it seems, are always up for a good game.

Craig Sailor: Congratulations on dumping a bowl of hot clam chowder in the laps of the New England Patriots. What’s your prediction of Sunday’s game?

William Porter: Broncos vs. Seahawks is the matchup the fans deserve, and it should be a great game. If the Broncos show up with their A-game on both sides of the line, I think they might have the edge, especially if our defense can disrupt Russell Wilson or otherwise get in his head. But the Seahawks have scary balance and a terrific defense, so I’m not betting the house payment on the outcome. What’s your take?

CS: I predict there will be lots of beer drinking and overeating in both Colorado and Washington, followed by a lot of indigestion in one of those states. Hopefully, Colorado.

WP: Does Pete Carroll ever try recruiting one of the fish-slingers from Pike Place Market? If they can hang on to a whole fish, I’m thinking they’d never fumble a football.

CS: You have it backwards. The fishmonger recruits from the NFL. It’s either that or they become motivational speakers.

WP: Given that both our states have legalized recreational marijuana use, I guess we might as well get the subject out of the way. So shoot.

CS: Yes, this is unofficially being called The Bud Bowl. Seeing how Colorado is ahead of us in legal pot sales can you ask your stoners what munchies they prefer at Super Bowl parties?

WP: I’m guessing neon-orange Cheetos.

CS: Colorado is famous for being the fittest state in the nation. How can you all stand spending four hours in front of a TV instead of hunting down mountain goats and drinking from glacial streams?

WP: Wrestling black bears makes for an exhausting morning, so by the time game time rolls around in the afternoon — or in this case, evening — we’re pretty much ready for some couch time.

CS: Especially if it’s snowing.

WP: You’re wrong there. Denver residents are known to grill outside when snow is falling. But then you guys are known to do it when it rains. Are we both daft, or are we just showing how firing up a grill is always worth it?

CS: We pretty much have to do everything in the rain. That includes camping, picnicking, gardening and something you Coloradans don’t have to do in a downpour: ski. And after a day on the slopes, or at Super Bowl parties, I suspect we both like to kick back with local craft beers. But we grow our own wheat and hops. Naturally, ours has to be better.

WP: Actually, we grow our own wheat and hops too. And we’ve been making microbrews longer. So I’ll go with experience — kind of like taking a quarterback who already has a Super Bowl ring over a second-year guy making his Big Game debut. Though I’ll concede that Russell Wilson sure looks like the game’s future at that position.

CS: Speaking of (Denver quarterback) Peyton Manning, we’ve heard rumors that angels bring him his lunch every day. I’m sure that can’t be. Do you have any carb-loading suggestions for our angel, Richard Sherman?

WP: A tryptophan-induced turkey coma might just be the thing to slow down his motor. But I’m thinking what he needs is a big tall glass of Orange Julius Thomas.

CS: Oh, he might not go for that. He prefers turnovers. But, we’re all for orange food here. I have three words for you: Golden Tate’r’ Tots.

WP: A world without tater tots would be a sadder place.

CS: Indeed. Speaking of orange. I understand your peaches give ours a run for the money.

WP: Hey, our peaches from the little Western Slope farming community of Palisade give Georgia peaches a run for their money.

CS: What about green? Is Denver banning all sales of green chile this week?

WP: That would cause a riot. The Mile High City takes its green chile seriously. Besides, I don’t think the color of green chile is close enough to the Seahawks’ team colors to cause any concern. It’s a much lighter shade.

CS: The one color we both have in common is blue. But, we’re having a tough time coming up with blue food that doesn’t look it came from inside a nuclear reactor.

WP: Yeah, blue food is problematic. But we inject that color into game-day layouts by using blue corn chips with our dip. I’m writing a story for this coming Wednesday on Super Bowl dips and spreads. Being a native North Carolinian, I made a batch of pimento cheese for the orange. Not to blaspheme, but on Super Sunday, wouldn’t it make sense from a color standpoint for Broncos fans to eat salmon and Seahawks fans to chow down on Colorado green chile?

CS: That’s a good point. We can call it a cross-cultural exchange. Speaking of seafood, you really can’t compete with us there. After all, ours is grown here, not flown here. Except for Rocky Mountain Oysters, of course. Wait, that is seafood isn’t it?

WP: I don’t care if I do live in the Rocky Mountain West, I’ll stick to Kumamoto and Fanny Bay oysters, thank you very much. I’ve had “calf fries” before, and once was enough. But, let’s talk about your geoducks. Good Lord, why?

CS: I can’t describe their appearance in a family newspaper but I can tell you why we grow them: $150 per pound. Yes, 150 clams for a clam.

WP: Seattle is known for its strict jaywalking laws. How do residents put up with that with all the caffeine in their system?

CS: That’s why we have a Starbucks on every corner. You just get another latte while you wait for the light to change. But, beyond coffee, we also have a burgeoning small-batch distillery community in the Pacific Northwest. They make Douglas fir flavored liqueur, vodka from apples and, of course, coffee infused booze. We have some of the best wines in the nation — some even made from Washington-grown cranberries.

WP: Vodka from apples sounds intriguing. Wonder if Vladimir Putin would act like less … (full of himself) if you guys sent him a case? Colorado also has a burgeoning number of distilleries. Stranahan’s whiskey is crafted in downtown Denver.

CS: This is making me very thirsty. Remind me again why we legalized marijuana.

WP: To keep fast food places in business? I’m waiting for the first pot shop to go into side-by-side partnership with a McDonald’s or a Taco Bell.

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service