As a fanatical football fan and foodie it should come as no surprise that tailgating is one of my favorite activities. Mingling with fans who are as passionate about their food as the they are their football teams is worthy of any Bucket List. Though I’ve been fortunate enough to tailgate at several college football games, I had never tailgated at a NFL game. So when Texas Tourism invited me to Houston to experience tailgating Texas style, I jumped at the chance.
Houston celebrity chefs, Terrance Galvan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of The Pass and Provisions put together a Texan’s Tailgate Tour. The VIP tour included transportation to and from NRG Park, access to several of the best tailgates, a generous swag bag, and tickets to the Texans game against the New Orleans Saints.
I met the tour group at 8a.m. for transportation to the stadium and was handed a St. Arnold’s beer upon boarding The Wave. When I commented that I had never had a beer that early in the morning, the reply was, “Welcome to Texas!”
After arriving at the stadium, we made our way to Terrance and Seth’s tailgate spot in the parking lot. They lit a Weber grill and began adding ingredients to a large pot to make gumbo. While the gumbo simmered, we were guided through the parking lots adjacent to the stadium to some of the most elaborate tailgate setups imaginable. We sampled foods that you would expect to find on a dinner menu at your favorite restaurant. It was hard to believe that this food was prepared in a parking lot.
Just as my stomach was about to bust from overindulgence, we arrived back at Terrance and Seth’s tailgate spot where the large pot of gumbo was waiting for us. The smell of the roux and the sight of the sausage and extra large shrimp proved too tempting to resist. It was honestly the best gumbo I’ve ever had. I didn’t say so at the time, as a courtesy to the New Orleans fans who take great pride in their gumbo. (New Orleans used to be the best place I’d ever had gumbo.) I ate the entire bowl and had to go to the game with my pants unbuttoned. (Note to self: Wear stretchy pants next time you go tailgating in Texas.)
To make the day even better, the Texans won. Not that I care, I’m an Atlanta Falcons fan, but whenever the home team wins, the post game mood is always more fun.
Drinking beer and sampling incredible food always makes for a great day, but to do it in the atmosphere of thousands of Houston Texans fans in varying states of sobriety is something that one must experience to fully appreciate. Trust me – it belongs on your Bucket List!
What are some of your favorite tailgate experiences?