By Mike Viso
In my 24 years of experience, I found that there are few simple joys. For some it may be a sunny day after a rainy night or going for a jog down the Ben Franklin Parkway. For me, it can be any number of things as long as I have the right dish nearby.
That’s what this blog is about. It’s about a combination of making the most out of what is around. We’re going to talk about music, movies, sports and life. Then we are going to figure out how to maximize our interests with foods from 2nd and South to Japan. I hope you saved room because I’m ready to go!
I’m a baseball nut and contrary to popular belief, there are still games that matter to people. I realize I’m in the minority, but trust me, what I have prepared will make any game worth watching. With that, I now present to you: “Mike Viso’s Guide Gluttony and Sports You Kinda Care About.” The title is a work in progress.
Honestly, this came about because I watched the Yankees-Tigers series alone. As a Yankees fan (please don’t click away! I’m sorry!) I had two choices: Do I run the risk of not seeing the game at of the many great bars in Philadelphia? Or do I set myself up like Henry VIII and enjoy pitch-by-pitch? Umm, I’ll take the latter.
Like a Roy Halladay start, this is about serious preparation. Let’s figure out what you need to make this event as enjoyable as possible (substitutions are acceptable but not recommended).
The Starting Line-Up
For me it all starts with good beer. Hey, you’re not going out to a bar to watch the game or hosting a party, so splurge. What I like to do is go with two solid beers. I recommend sticking with microbrews. The beer scene in the Philadelphia area is bountiful. Plus, it makes you look sophistafunk (sophisticated + funky). That’s impressive in any circle. I like pale beers and Yards Pale Ale is one of the better ones in the area. It can be a bit heavy after a couple so Lionshead—from Pottstown—is a flavorful cheap beer. Also, under their caps, they have riddles! That’s perfect entertainment between pitches. Overall, this is where you have the most liberty to substitute or add. Arizona or ShopRite brand iced tea is a key to sustain the night. See I’m fair.
Back to the beer, America pale ales tend to go with more flavorful meats, think Mexican dishes and grilled foods. However, we’re going to caution to the wind. There was an underground made-to-order sandwich on my campus at La Salle University called a “Fat Ship”. If there was a sandwich Hot Dog Eating Champion, Joey Chesnut would eat, it would be this one. In my circle of friends, this sandwich rivaled Achilles in terms of mythological powers. This sandwich was handed down from the gods and delivered straight to your face for the price of $6.50. I may have saw this in the Iliad—not 100 percent sure—but legend has it, the “Fat Ship” was created by a 150 pound kid who wanted mozzarella sticks, a chicken finger sandwich and French fries but couldn’t afford all of three so asked for them to be placed in a hoagie roll. He looked a gift horse in the mouth that day and it was good.
The main course must be a hoagie. Chicken fingers with the lettuce, tomato, onions, hot peppers and vinegar on a fresh roll. I can feel you judging me when I say to put vinegar on the sandwich. Trust me; vinegar is one of the most underrated parts of any lunchmeat hoagie. The reason to go with the hoagie experience is that you can eat half and save the other half for either joyful eating after your team wins or depression eating after they lose. We cover all bases.
Now, you need snickie-snacks. Be brave and give your taste buds a workout. I went with salt and vinegar chips (surprise!), Verona cookies, crackers with hummus and vegetables with Blue Cheese dressing. You have four hours to mix-and-match these flavors. It sounds bad now, but you’re going to need variation and the vegetables provide a false sense of health.
Finally, you’re ready for the game. Please, make sure that you have everything within an arm’s length away. You’re going to be sluggish by the third inning so movement isn’t in your future.
Refrigerated items are your first priority. If you have a cooler, keep it stocked. Wasting precious bathroom time to get what tickles your fancy is a rookie mistake. The remote control has to be visible at all times. I can’t tell you how many times I twist one way and it falls in between the cushions, on the floor or under the couch. I lose one thing, and then everything spirals out of control. The next thing you know, I’m watching iPad 2 and those creepy Cialis commercials for hours and there’s gummy worms stuck to floor for two days. It’s the living room version of a Red Sox September.
The pre-game is on and time is winding down, you’ve got a crucial decision to make: What do you put on as the back-up channel? If you don’t have a DVR, you’re making a crucial mistake and limiting your world. You need control of the programming so you don’t get bogged down in commercials. Plus, how many times can a station play the same episode The Office? I know it’s funny that Michael Scott mixed up two cute Asian girls at a Benihana, but it’s October and I don’t want to even see a Christmas tree. Allow me a moment for a deep breath….
And we’re back. I found that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has commercial breaks that sync nicely with the commercial breaks of TBS. You can’t go wrong with “The D.E.N.N.I.S System”. Also, now that 30 Rock is on Comedy Central, the choices are great for those who haven’t been blessed with the da Vinci-esque invention that is the DVR.
The final piece of the puzzle is making sure your phone charger is nearby. God only knows what Tim McCarver is going to say in a four hour time span. You can risk not having you phone handy to send those gems off in mass text form.
Okay, kids, class is now over and you are ready to enjoy the game. Soak in every moment; don’t miss a pitch because you never know when you might see Aaron Boone or God-forbid, Steve Bartman. Or at worse, the game sucked a little less because of your food coma.