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The Super Crab Bowl: Baltimore and San Francisco Politicians’ Super Bowl Wagers

There is a lot at stake in tomorrow’s Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Obviously, the most important match-up is the one on the field between the Baltimore Ravens and your five time Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers. Then there is the HarBowl element of the Super Bowl, with the game pitting brother against brother, John Harbaugh, the head coach of the Ravens, versus Jim Harbaugh, the head coach of the 49ers.

Intriguing storylines abound. Over a hundred million people worldwide will be tuning in. Beyoncé is performing at halftime. Who knows how many thousands of gallons of jambalaya will be consumed Sunday?

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Add another match-up to watch and analyze Sunday: the food wagers between Baltimore and San Francisco’s mayors, and similar bets between the senators of Maryland and California.

Knowing how iconic crabs are to both cities’ cuisines, is it surprising that the blue or red crustacean plays a prominent role in the wagers?Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee both will have the loser of the game’s mayor do some charity work with AmeriCorps in the winning city. In addition, the losing mayor will wear the winner’s jersey and visit a local crab market in the winning city. Of course, it has to be blue crab at the market in Baltimore and Dungeness crab in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin (all Democrats, so they’re friendlier in the Senate Chamber than at the Superdome) have their culinary bets prepared as well. Guess what, crab is involved.

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If the 49ers win, Maryland will send west some Faidley’s crab cakes, Heavy Seas’ beers, and Berger’s cookies. For good measure, Senator Mikulski would add in some hairspray too, a nod to the musical theatre based in the Charm City. In that case, maybe Senator Feinstein can send a San Francisco skyline hat from “Beach Blanket Babylon.”

If the Ravens win, then California sends east some Northern California cheese, Dungeness crab, Napa Valley wine, and the obligatory sourdough bread.

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One would guess that cheese would be from Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station, the wine a classic big label such as Robert Mondavi and Louis Martini (though I’d recommend a Fumé Blanc from Grgich Hills, Zinfandel from Tres Sabores, and Cabernet Sauvignon from Corison), and the sourdough from either city stalwarts Acme or Boudin. California eats its crab plain or in cioppino, crab cakes are almost unheard of, except at a few Fisherman’s Wharf tourist restaurants.

What is messing? Well, first of all for the World Series last October I crafted the perfect San Francisco meal Mayor Lee should have wagered against his counterpart in Detroit. The real surprise this time around is the lack of Anchor Brewing Company’s beers. For Baltimore, how about adding a pit beef sandwich? Maybe some crab flavored Utz potato chips and lots of Old Bay seasoning for those crab cakes, then Baltimore peach cake for dessert?

Tomorrow we’ll find out which Harbaugh will win and which Senators will be enjoying a crab feast soon. But, who is the favorite in this wager?

I can’t vouch for the Berger cookies, but I would have no problem enjoying a Heavy Seas Black Cannon Ale, or the crab cakes if they are of the caliber of the ones I had at the Inner Harbor restaurant Phillip’s, with an estimated ratio of 99% crab to 1% filler.

However, the clear winner here is California. Mt. Tam cheese? Napa’s finest bottles? Acme sourdough? Fresh steamed Dungeness crabs? Both in the food wager and on the field Sunday, San Francisco/California will emerge victorious, but the win on the food side will be even more lop-sided.

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