Sunday's football game is being billed as a classic clash of styles: Denver's high-scoring, multi-faceted offense helmed by Papa John's spokesperson and quarterback Peyton Manning versus Compton-born Richard Sherman and Seattle's ferocious defensive unit. Will Sherman's troops get to Manning, the pride of New Orleans? Will Wilson chuck passes with less accuracy than the Pike Place salmon vendors? Given Super Bowl history, a blowout is likely. We just can't pick a winner.
Identifying the favorite in the Supper Bowl seems easier. Comparing the cuisines of the two warring citadels, one arrives at an obvious conclusion: Seattle's culinary legacy dwarfs Denver's.
Seattle: You've got those luscious sides of salmon, the silvery skin as luminous and iridescent as a geode. There is coffee both corporate and small-scale. There are sweet Rainier cherries; Mt. Townsend Creamery cheeses; tiny, metallic-tasting Olympia oysters; Molto Mario's dad's salumi joint; all manner of excellent Vietnamese and Chinese food; and foraged chanterelles.
Even the hot dogs in Seattle have flair: the addition of grilled onions and a corkscrew stripe of cream cheese. Pacific Northwestern food is a thing, man. How can Denver compete?
Denver: Wow, let's see: you've got the Denver omelette, which contains bell peppers, onions and ham cubes. Exciting, right? You've got green chili, a verified local specialty. Denver has this country's first pot restaurant, Ganja Gourmet. There's a lot of game in Colorado. Denver has a street food scene, but half the villages in America must have arepa carts and vermicelli bowl trucks by now.
What gives Denver a fighting chance are its balls: the so-called Rocky Mountain "oysters," bull calf testicles peeled, pounded, breaded, fried and frequently served alongside cocktail sauce. Olympia oysters might be more refined, but do they pair as well with beer?
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Speaking of which, Denver is the Napa Valley of beer, boasting a multitude of local craft-brews in addition to Coors. A healthy chunk of Seattle's fans - the beer snobs and indiscriminate guzzlers alike - will be wetting their beaks in enemy brew.
Verdict: Seattle by a salmon scale.