Football game food review: does it pass?

Tri-Tip entree plate – Pancho Villa food truck

Pancho Villa’s Tri-Tip entree plate with garlic bread, potato salad, and cornbread (Ethan Shohet)

Price: $14

Presentation: The plastic container was split into four quadrants, each containing its own element of the entree plate. In the bottom left, the five cuts of tri-tip were glistening with juiciness and grease, with a beautifully browned skin all along the outside, with tender meat visible on the inside. The garlic bread in the bottom right quadrant looked nicely toasted, and the upper right cornbread looked like a misshapen bar of gold. Finally, the potato salad had an unusually strong shade of yellow, but the celery, pickles and onions made for an intriguing appearance.

Taste: The best part of this plate was without a doubt the tri-tip. The flavor of the outside was nothing short of mouth watering, and the tender inside only complimented the taste further. The most surprising part of the dish was the cornbread. While on the outside it looks pretty dry, it had to have been the moistest cornbread I’ve ever eaten – and that’s not a bad thing. The sweetness was also perfectly on point, with little pieces of corn being visible throughout the bread as well. The garlic bread, disappointingly, had no crunch whatsoever, and it felt like eating a 2-day refrigerated piece of sourdough. However, it did have a nice amount of garlic to it, which made the taste somewhat interesting. And lastly, the potato salad did not disappoint. As a self-proclaimed potato salad expert, Pancho Villa’s rendition just about met my qualifications for what I’d deem a good potato salad; the celery was fresh and crunchy, the potatoes had good flavor, and it was all around cohesive.

Overall: For $14, you’re getting a pretty decent amount of food. None of it was truly exceptional, but it all held up in its own categories. For a relatively convenient eating experience and solid flavors all around, I give Pancho Villa’s tri-tip entree a 7/10.


California Burrito – Authentic Street Taco food truck

California burrito with carne asada from the Authentic Street Taco food truck (Ethan Shohet)

Price: $12

Presentation: Coming wrapped in tinfoil in a styrofoam box, the presentation of the tortilla’d burrito was as expected: plain. However, after getting through the first through bites, the looks of the insides opened up and displayed an array of delicious colors. From the red tomatoes, to the yellow fries, the browned carne asada to the green guacamole, the inside of the burrito looked nothing short of splendiferous. 

Taste: The california burrito started off quite poorly as on the first bite, I had to chew through about 8 layers of hard tortilla, which felt like the equivalent of trying to eat through a cardboard tissue box. However after that, the flavor and textures of the burrito started to shine. The first thing I noticed was the crunchy red onions, popping in my mouth like little fireworks. Then came the guacamole, who’s unseasoned guacamole flavor made itself pleasantly present. One of the most prevalent flavors throughout was the chipotle sauce, which lacked spiciness but its creamy flavor was welcomed with every bite. Finally, the carne asada was tender and complimented the mushiness of the rest of the burrito well, but its flavor did not stand out to me. While all of this was happening, however, there was one key player that you couldn’t ignore; the french fries. Layered on the bottom of the burrito like the concrete foundation of a house, the french fries quickly turned into a mildly flavorful starchy paste that helps to bind together the other ingredients into a cohesive and delicious mush. 

Overall: Once you get past the first bite, the california burrito is an extremely enjoyable and solidly sized dish, perfectly fit for consumption at a football game. While the flavor wasn’t incredibly unique, it held its own and stayed consistent throughout, resulting in a burrito on par with a sit-down restaurant. For a reasonably priced $12 for its size and quality, and convenience as a football game food, I would rate the california burrito an overall 8/10.


Nachos – GBHS snack stand

Nachos with jalapeños from the Granite Bay HS snack stand (Ethan Shohet)

Price: $5

Presentation: When I first saw this decently sized serving of nachos, the presentation immediately caught my eye. The shiny yellow nacho cheese was draped over the corn tortilla chips like the early morning sun covering an arid mountain range. The jalapenos, of which I requested to be put on the side, were nicely grouped together like a juicy, yet spicy, grove of trees.

Taste: Much to my surprise, the tortilla chips responded to my bites with a crunch so fresh you would think they just came out of the fryer.  While the mealy corniness of the tortilla chip was nothing to call home about, it was nicely complemented with the warm nacho cheese that made itself known with a slightly processed flavor that still hits your tongue with a small yet distinct kick. However, when you first bite into that not-so crunchy pepper, it soon becomes the only thing you can focus on. As the juices rush towards your heat receptors with a fiery drive, your mouth starts the spice party and doesn’t stop for at least half a minute. The taste isn’t anything special, but it definitely ‘spices’ up the dish.

Overall: The biggest drawback for the nachos was the pretty hefty price for a relatively small portion. The overall enjoyment taste-wise was solid, the nachos just weren’t as imaginative and delicious as they could be. So while the convenience of a finger food is always nice at a football game, I would rate the nachos as a 4/10.