Whether you're one of those poor souls who no longer feels welcome tailgating outside Reliant Stadium or whether you just prefer to tailgate at home (my personal choice), here are a few suggestions for partying down at home while keeping it local.
Spec's downtown location is my favorite place to shop for party supplies (the important supplies, that is, meaning food), with its 5,000 square feet of deli items and groceries. And for as many exotic foodstuffs as the store stocks, it's also a good source of local treats for those who've taken the Houston-based SLGT movement (an anagram which stands for "Support Local, Grow Together") to heart.
Last week, I picked up an assortment of wholly Houston foods to enjoy while watching the Texans on Sunday.
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Pita Pal is a local company best known for its hummus, which is just about the best pre-made hummus you'll find anywhere in town. The company has expanded its selection from mainly Middle Eastern-inspired dishes like tabbouli salad and frozen falafels to a Lone Star favorite: Texas caviar.
Pita Pal's Texas caviar is an interesting twist on the old standby, incorporating chunks of sweetly crispy jicama and a tangy dressing made with orange juice, canola oil and sea salt. Don't like black-eyed peas? They're almost an afterthought here, surrounded by pieces of red bell peppers and corn that make the whole salad hum sweetly.
Spec's also makes its own guacamole in house, which is one of its best offerings. It's a simple mix of mashed avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeno and salt -- nothing overly fussy here -- that is only one step removed from making it yourself at home.
Paired with a bag of Xochitl tortilla chips (okay, they're from Dallas, but they're still Texan) and your choice of Saint Arnold Lawnmower or Southern Star Bombshell Blonde, this little spread is enough to get me happily through a Sunday afternoon of football without feeling too full for dinner.