Are you ready for some football? Next to the game itself, there's nothing better than pulling up to the stadium and having some pre-game fun with your friends. Tailgating is as much a part of the college and pro game as hotdogs are to baseball.
One great way to put together a big tailgating feast is to have someone else do all the work. For drinks, I love setting up a do-it-yourself bloody mary bar. I'll provide a great mix, a few vodkas to choose from, and then a ton of ingredients for my friends to pick from to top off their drink. I'll start with the basics, like celery stalks, lemons and limes, olives and celery salt. But, I'll also add a lot of fun extras, like cucumbers, pickles, chunks of cheese and salami, and even okra and asparagus spears. I'll also add some spices like chili powder, hot sauce and Worchestershire sauce. The more you add, the more your guest can uniquely customize their drink.
For food, it's great if you want to bring out the grill and make big production number out of cooking in the parking lot. But, for some games, I make it a lot easier and just as impressive by getting some pre-made snacks and having a restaurant that caters put together an impressive spread of food. This week, I picked up a few salami sticks, football shaped summer sausages and salami pretzels from the folks at Paulina Meat Market. Then, I ordered full platters of lox and bagels, pre-made sandwiches and a few other treats from 11 City Diner. Located on South Wabash near Roosevelt, they're right around the corner from Chicago's Soldier Field.
11 City Diner's lox trays come with all the trimmings: lox, bagels, cream cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives and capers. These trays make for another tasty do-it-yourself station for your guests. Next, their half sandwich trays are loaded with mile high stacks of roast beef, turkey, corned beef, pastrami or egg salad and they come with plenty of sides. As an alternative to the sandwich trays, you can order sliced meat and cheese trays and have your guest build their own sandwiches. 11 City Diner also has their own bloody mary mix, which was a nice addition to my do-it-yourself bar as well.
So, from drinks and snacks, to sandwiches and sides, you can put together quite an impressive parking lot buffet for your next big tailgating party and never have to cook a thing. I think It's the best way to have some pre-game fun without having to do a lot of pre-game work.