While the National Football League's Super
Bowl is about the game, it is a culinary event as well. This week in
Miami, several restaurants are featuring Super Bowl specials to cater to
fans in town to see the game. VOA's David Byrd traveled to the South Beach
area of Miami to see what chefs have on the fire for Super Bowl
Walk through the Art Deco district of Miami Beach,
with its pastel colored houses, palm trees and manicured lawns and you
might be excused for thinking that the residents don't care who wins Super
Bowl 41 in Miami.
But the big party that is the Super Bowl becomes evident as you cross
Collins Avenue in South Beach. Music blares from huge speakers both in
restaurants and from some of the exotic automobiles that snake their way
through the snarled traffic.
On the Friday before the game, along Washington Avenue, Collins Avenue
and especially along Ocean drive, the party is in full swing. Upscale restaurants are
packed with diners, and the smell of steamed seafood and grilled steaks
mingles with cigar and cigarette smoke in the open-air dining areas.
Along Espanola Way, a slightly quieter street that intersects with
Washington Avenue, New York native Dave Ryan is the assistant manager of
Chocolate. Sitting under an umbrella at one of the couches outside the
restaurant, Ryan told VOA that while his restaurant caters to upscale
clients, it is counting on catching some Super Bowl revelers as they make
their way through South Beach.
"We specialize in drinks mainly. We do have some special plates," said
Ryan. "We have a lobster-crab chocolate ravioli, which has chocolate mixed
into the sauce. It is actually a big hit. It surprised me. But it is a big
hit. Also we have another plate that is a dark chocolate salad. It's mixed
greens, mixed baby greens, with the chocolate around the edge of the
Ryan says that his restaurant plans to have special outside seating and
a big-screen television set up so diners can watch the game.
Meanwhile, down the street at Café Nuvo, the manager Angel Paez says
that his restaurant is planning to make a special Mojito drink for the
Super Bowl. He described, and then made, one of the drinks.
The smell of spearmint and fresh lime juice fills the bar as he crushes
the mint leaves with a pestle. A little rum, a little club soda, a sliver
of sugar cane and the signature drink is ready. It is as refreshing as it
Paez, a native of Havana, came to the United States six years ago. He
says that his restaurants want to convey the spirit of celebration and
excitement of Miami to football fans.
"The tourists who come here from the north for the Super Bowl, we want
to show some of the Latin and mainly Cuban stuff that we got in Miami, in
South Florida," said Paez. "So, we are the cradle of the mojito in Miami,
in South Beach actually, so we want to show them, and teach them how to
make it and how to drink it and how to good is it."
For one of Angel Paez's Mojitos, it is usually $9, but he plans a Super
Bowl Special for the street party outside his restaurant.
Not every business is benefiting from the Super Bowl crowd. At Miami
Ink tattoo parlor on Washington Avenue, which has its own television show
on the Discovery channel, there are no customers on a Friday night.
Morgan Pennypacker, a Baltimore, Maryland native who has worked in
Miami about 18 months is one of the artists. A large man with strawberry
blonde hair and beard, gold teeth and of course tattoos, he has designed a
special Super Bowl tattoo, but he says no one has bought one yet.
"No one has gotten anything Super Bowl related anything tattoo- wise,"
he said. "No good fans I guess coming to see the Super Bowl this year. I'm
guessing on Monday. We'll see who come gets the most. Whoever wins will
probably get the most Super Bowl tattoos."
While the tattoo business might be a little slow, the street is crammed
with revelers. Along Ocean Drive, all the restaurants are full. Crowds
throng the area, while music pumps into the street. A laser light emits
fiery green bursts into the thick, humid air. Immaculately dressed couples
walk the street, mingling with more casually dressed partiers, and even a
few diners wear team colors - Colts blue or Bears Orange.
This is also Stone Crab season in Florida, and if the 1999 Super Bowl
in Miami is any indication, the crustacean will be in high demand this
year as well. In 1999, Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in South beach served
nearly 2,000 meals on its best day.
The Miami area also has the Taste of the NFL, with chefs from all 32
league cities presenting signature dishes. And at Oceans 10 on Ocean
drive, diners can choose from lobster, filet mignon or combine the two in
a surf-and-turf starting at about $59.