Not only does Charlotte claim its football team will come out on top this weekend, but we also have better food than our colleagues in Phoenix.
Context: The Carolina Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at 4:05pm. Both teams are 1-2, with the Panthers sitting second in the NFC South and the Cardinals in third in the NFC West.
What’s happening: We swapped starting lineups with our Phoenix team, and Axios’ Jessica Boehm has you covered on the Cardinals’ angle, the food angle that is.
Quarterback: The chimichanga — the main dish. The special sauce. The most important player on your team (or your plate). That’s obviously the chimichanga in Arizona.
- For the uninitiated: It’s a deep-fried burrito packed with meat, beans, cheese or some combination of the three.
- Culinary lore says it was created in Tucson, Ariz., when a restaurateur accidentally dropped a burrito into a vat of hot oil. What a happy accident.
Running back: Beans and rice — it completes the offense, or in our case, rounds out the main course.
- These quintessential Mexican side dishes can be concocted several ways.
- Yes, but: Any native Arizonan knows the beans should be refried and the rice should be simmered in tomato sauce.
Defense: The dips — these are your linebackers, they set the tone, but they can’t carry the team on their own.
- You don’t go to the game to watch the defense (with the exception of the ’85 Bears), but you’ll always remember if they sucked.
- Similarly: A smattering of salsas, bean dips or queso occupies that role. A good dip is an expected appetizer in my book.
Kicker: The sopapilla — essentially deep fried dough covered in honey and powdered sugar.
- If the rest of your team does their job, you don’t need a great kicker. But if you have one, it’s the cherry on top.
- In the same vein: If you’re at a Mexican restaurant that offers a sweet sopapilla dessert — DO. NOT. PASS. IT. UP.
Here’s the Panthers angle:
Quarterback: The South loves barbecue.
- There are plenty of options to try, including Midwood Smokehouse. Try the brisket burnt ends barbecue plate, with the pimento cheese fries as your tight end — you’ll probably pass them the ball, but unless you had Greg Olsen on your team, how much you target them will vary.
- A good chicken sandwich is a lot like Christian McCaffrey — your team looks better when he’s there, and your gameday spread is better with a good chicken sandwich.
Left tackle: Head to Al Mike’s for fried pickles.
- They’re the foundation of the team. You may get along fine without them, but you’re so much better with them, especially when they’re done right.
Thought bubble: What is an offense without a left tackle. The Panthers have been trying to figure that out for years.