Get ready for game day with pure comfort food recipes

Get ready for game day with pure comfort food recipes

By Chad Sparrow

In these uncertain times, stress comes in many forms. It could be financial stress, relationship stress, work stress, stress over your children or just about anything else. With COVID-19 still a major factor in our day to day lives, a lot of these stresses are magnified.

Now, I have always been a glass half full personality. Even in the pitch black I can see some light. I know everyone doesn’t share this view, but the one thing I always share with people or employees who ask for my advice is to have a positive outlook. Never look at things from a point of view on how it can or will fail, but how it will succeed. This has helped me get through tough times and always keeps me looking forward.

Another thing that helps me when I am feeling stressed is cooking. I never feel more free, relaxed or really disconnected from all of lives other distractions then when I am in the kitchen creating and cooking. And when could be a better time to cook than for America’s biggest sporting event, the Super Bowl.

I love football and always find myself cooking something special for it. Since I can remember – and still to this day – I watch every Redskins, now Washington Football Team, game with my dad. Regardless of if we were at RFK Stadium or Fed Ex Field tailgating or in the comfort of our home, we would watch and eat chili dogs. This has been something we have shared for most, if not all, of my 40 years.

Even though the Washington Football Team isn’t playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday, I figured why not share this amazing comfort food.

The writer is managing partner of Common Plate Hospitality, the restaurant group that owns Mason Social, Urbano 116 and Augie’s Mussel House and Beer Garden.

Recipe: Big Al’s chili dogs


  • 8 hot dogs (Nathan’s or similar)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh jalapenos (optional)
  • 8 potato hot dog rolls
  • 8 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 cup Big Al’s Chili (see below)


  • Boil hot dogs for 3 to 4 minutes in water on stove top.
  • Turn oven on to low broil.
  • Place rolls on baking sheet and top evenly with cheddar cheese, put in oven and broil until cheese melts, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Dress each roll with 1 tsp of mustard spread evenly. Add hot dog, chopped onions and jalapeños and top with chili. Serve immediately.

Recipe: Big Al’s chili


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 4 ounces of brewed coffee (preferably dark roast)
  • 1 bottle Port City Optimal Wit
  • 5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground oregano
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp white sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • In sauce pan, brown ground beef and garlic over medium heat, stirring and breaking up meat.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
  • Bring to boil then reduce heat to low simmer and cover. Let simmer for 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust salt as needed.