The game is football and good food

Pork sliders from Sharky's. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Are you ready for some football? It’s that time of year again. Bring on the chicken wings, chili, brisket, and beer. Turn it up a notch with a michelada (a Mexican cocktail based on beer and lime juice), sea salt caramel apples, and an apple-spiced bourbon toddie. Here are some recipe ideas as well as some local establishments where you’ll find food, drink, and camaraderie to go with the game.

Sai Mai at the Ritz. The Ritz in Oak Bluffs is an obvious place to watch some football: cheap drinks, casual atmosphere, a few TVs, and yes, chicken wings. Not just any chicken wings though: Thai style wings. Because The Ritz gave control of its kitchen to Sai Mai, you can enjoy fresh spring rolls, crab rolls, Pad Thai, and curries alongside an icy cold Singha or Chang, which are offered in addition to a selection of domestic beers.

Sai Mai’s delicious and authentic cuisine can be enjoyed in their partially separated dining room or right at the bar. If you haven’t yet, try the duck choo chee, crispy duck with noodles with veggies and “secret sauce.”

On a recent, blustery and particularly quiet night on Circuit Avenue, I took the advice of those brilliant foodie bloggers at Hungry Native and ordered the Pad Garlic and Pepper with beef, though it’s advertised with chicken, and I was absolutely not disappointed — sublime deliciousness in the form of tender beef, crisp broccoli, garlic, peppers, cilantro and a rich, meaty sauce. Sai Mai is open for lunch starting at 11:30 am serving food until 9:30 pm Tuesday through Sunday.

Seasons Eatery and Pub in Oak Bluffs offers free chicken wings from 4 to 6 pm during all NFL games and boasts 16 satellite TVs. In addition to typical football fare like nachos and chili, the sushi bar is open for miso soup, seaweed salad, sashimi, hand rolls, and more. Check out Seasons’ $5 appetizers Monday through Saturday from 3 to 6 pm and 25 percent off sushi on Thursdays.

Coop deVille on the Oak Bluffs harbor shows the NFL games, but their real passion is for English football. They’re the last man standing on the harbor, the only place left to watch the game with that view. Check out the Coop’s vast selection of local, domestic, and imported beers. The Coop offers eight flavors of chicken wings including the tangy, sweet, New Orleans “voodoo” for $29.99 a bucket. They’ve got burgers and fried clams and a raw bar to keep it classy, so who cares if the wine is served in a plastic cup? Be sure to wish the Coop bon voyage (until next season) at their blowout BBQ on October 20.

Sharky’s in both Oak Bluffs and Edgartown is always good for a game-day deal. They’re offering 25-cent wings during Patriots games and 50-cent wings on all other NFL games.

Try the jalapeno poppers, chile rellenos, or BBQ pulled pork sliders to share (it comes with three). They’ve also got a wing menu and burger menu. Wings come in small (9 pieces), medium (17), large (26), extra large (35), or as boneless breast bites. Favorites include classic Buffalo, habanero pineapple, and sweet chili. The burgers are 100 percent black Angus (or substitute grilled chicken breast), the Texifornia (California meets Texas) is with Applewood smoked bacon, house-made guacamole, sliced tomatoes, American cheese, and red onion. Get on Sharky’s text message list to stay up to date on all the good deals.

Not only is The Wharf the most obvious place to watch the game in Edgartown, with eight high-definition televisions, but they have also just debuted a brand-new menu. Last week they had snow crab legs served with corn on the cob and broccoli as a special. The Wharf opens the big back room to allow for more mingling during games and they offer half-off wings at the bar from 3 to 6 pm.

Here are a few things to try if your game-day plans don’t extend beyond the comfort of your home.

Honey-Sriracha Wings

(adapted from the Sriracha Cookbook)

You’ll need:
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
4 pounds chicken wings
2 sticks unsalted butter
2/3 cup Sriracha
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Pour 2 to 3 inches of oil in a cast iron or other heavy-duty pan. Tuck the wing tips beneath the wing to avoid burning them (or remove the tips and save them for stock).


. Heat the oil to 350°F. Fry the wings in batches for 10 to 12 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. (Be careful not to crowd the pan.) Keep batches of cooked wings on a wire rack set over a baking sheet (or on a foil–lined baking sheet) in the preheated oven until all the wings have been fried.


. While the wings are frying, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the Sriracha, honey, salt, and lime juice, stirring to combine. Keep warm over low heat. Put the cooked wings in a large mixing bowl and toss with the Sriracha mixture. Plate the coated wings on a large platter. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds.

Cheers to sweater season with this fun (no-fuss) cocktail.

Apple-spiced Bourbon Toddies

You’ll need

1 quart fresh apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise, plus 4 more for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup good-quality bourbon (Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, etc.)
4 pats butter (optional)

1. Place the cider, cinnamon, and star anise in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half and flavor is intensified (about 10 minutes.) Add the lemon juice and bourbon and stir until warmed through.

2. Pour into warmed mugs or snifters and garnish with a cinnamon stick and star anise and, if desired, a pat of butter.