Thursday, November 24, 2005
Fantasy football has taken on new meaning. It’s no longer a rotisserie league for stats-centric NFL fans; it’s a world where the gleaming breakfast buffet is as long as a third and 20, a bank of TV screens invites fans to belly up for hours, and a pitcher of beer can be had for what a 16-ounce costs at the ballpark.
Welcome to Cannery Row, rookie—and its marquee franchise on Sundays, the Bluefin. I’ll be your coach. As such, I’ll call the plays.
The first couple are scripted: Get the brunch ($9.95) and get there at game time (10am kickoff). This spread would still be a deal even if the French toast wasn’t as fluffy as the Niners’ pass protection—but avoiding a false start helps make it so.
And before you get to sucking on the complimentary champagne that comes with brunch, start hydrating for the day ahead with unlimited orange juice—you’ll need all the stamina you can get. Of course, you could opt for mimosa over champy, but what with the OJ included, that’s just poor play-calling.
Communicate with co-owner/manager Marvin behind the bar if you need a specific game shown on the panel of screens where you’ll run your offense.
Game time. Rush into the warm corn tortillas, and load fresh salsa, scrambled cheddar cheese eggs (or grilled chicken), shredded pepper jack cheese, even some sausage into the formation. Then add some fresh fruit on the side to maintain your playing weight. Now watch Niner QB Cody Pickett go to work. If that sacks your appetite, check out one of the other four games going on.
Put an order in with the attentive servers for pitcher of Bud ($7) or Newcastle ($10) as your second quarter starts. The best play here will be eggs Benedict and poached salmon with white wine and lemon pepper. The Bene’s been evaluated by my talent scout as superior to that of a local hotel’s fancy brunch; the moist salmon’s all-pro. Try to hold it all down as the Bears run back a missed Niner field goal 108 yards for a touchdown.
Third quarter: Stretch the defense and your stomach with home fries with onion and peppers—even audible to add some bacon, pepper jack, and salsa. And grab a slab of French toast. That’s good execution.
Now the final drive—and your chance to make up for all the plays you missed: the long pre-rolled flour tortilla breakfast burrito with melty cheese, eggs, sautéed onions and peppers, the light blueberry mini-muffins, the caprese-bruschetta combo of mozzarella, tomato and shredded basil on a crispy slice of bread.
Now you’ve got a championship-caliber food-beer-champagne buzz going. And while the spacious Bluefin affords great deals and viewing angles, your game craves the cozy competitiveness of a smaller sports bar. Luckily, across the street at the new Jerseys (the former Monterey Jack’s), it’s fiesty and festive, with outspoken folk filling the primary sports-viewing bar area where TVs are strategically placed in high corners.
Prepare to tackle the second part of this doubleheader: more bargain beer and an Original Philly Cheesesteak ($9.95 with fries).
Domestic pitchers here are also $7, the microbrews $12 and pints of Coors Light $2. The cheesesteak, well, say it: “Good call, coach.”
The white American cheese gooiness, the massive pile of tender meat, and the sautéed onions reveal that something is right with Philadelphia even if the Eagles aren’t. Each of the variations drafted on past visits—the combo (with bell peppers and mushrooms), the hot cherry pepper version of the original—were also worthy.
Here come the Coors Light girls, all distraction with their tight tops and silver bucket of temporary tattoos and Raider eye patches. Keep your head in the game—Coach knows it’s hard when one says, “Don’t you wish you had a girl to lick up that [spilled] beer”—but you’ve still got a lotta game (and another venue) left in you.
Across the street at Sly’s, the upscale scene apparently
reserves its rowdiest football frenzy for Monday nights—scouts
say that’s when the best blitz of bargains and postgame
R&B takes place—but is still good on the eyes, between the
ocean views and the Raiders getting schmooshed by the Broncos
on the big screen. So kick back, rookie, and have a gin and
tonic ($6.50) and some tasty onion rings. Helluva performance
today—just make sure to intentionally ground your vehicle and
take a cab home.
Bluefin Cafe and Billiards
685 Cannery Row, 3rd Floor
711 Cannery Row
700A Cannery Row