It only comes once a year, that special day filled with pleasures of the manly sort: beer, balls, betting. It's Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4), and one of its greatest features—perhaps almost as important as the game itself—is its cuisine. The foods that accompany the watching of the year's most important football game—pizza, chicken wings, hot dogs and, yes, cheesesteaks—hold a special place in the hearts (and arteries) of men everywhere. In honor of this great day, WW has pitted Portland cheesesteaks against one another in a sammy battle of the highest order: the Super Cheesesteak Bowl. To find out why Tributes didn't make it past the first round or how Philly Cheesesteaks & Burgers knocked out Steakadelphia, see our scouting report.
Philly Cheesesteaks & Burgers (cart)
701 SW 6th Ave.
This Pioneer Courthouse Square cart team packs a mean hot-beef punch, even in nasty weather. Its combo of "intangible" assets—perfectly grilled steak, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions—slathered in white American cheese (classic!) and served on an authentically tough Philly-style roll is 12 inches of pure heaven ($6.25). This team also takes direction from one of the sport's most lovable coaches, grillmaster Ben Isaacson.
MVP: The virtual cream sauce that forms from this sammy's combo of steak juice and and melty cheese—simply unbeatable.
6800 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 247-7211
Undoubtedly a tough competitor for the PCS cart, this Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard-based team brings on a fierce combination of plays, from A.1.- or barbecue-sauce-laden steaks to chicken steaks and, of course, the classic Cheez Whiz steak ($4-$9).
MVP: Steakadelphia's untraditional but awesomely delicious topper of shredded lettuce, tomato and mayo (or ranch!)—think Carl's Jr. commercial applied to a cheesesteak and you're getting close.
Ford's on 5th
121 NW 5th Ave., 226-2828
A classic downtown team, Ford's works overtime (open late!) and handles the ball with finesse—each Angus cheesesteak ($6.95 with side) features roasted-garlic mayo and large slices of grilled green bell pepper. The coaches are knowledgeable old-timers, and their Italian (pizza) steak—a mozzarella-subbed cheesesteak plus marinara—hits the opponent where it counts.
Special Teams: Ford's bitchin' red-potato salad runs it back every time.
Philadelphia's Steaks & Hoagies
6410 SE Milwaukie Ave., 239-8544
Philadelphia's undoubtedly has tradition on its side, as this team offers real-deal Philly-shipped bread and tough-to-beat Tastykakes (the Little Debbie of the City of Brotherly Love). It's also got tasty benchwarmers like the buffalo chicken variation ($8.25, topped with blue cheese!), as well as an authentically prepared classic ($6.75).
Penalty: Philadelphia's bread gets a flag thrown for occasional dryness.
529 SW 4th Ave., 228-7605
This once-thug-filled team has cleaned up its act, and it gives fans what they often want: Cheese Whiz. The Rialto offers up a mean defensive line of sometimes-too-thick steak and a super-long crusty loaf, meaning its strength sometimes overpowers its skill.
Penalty: The Rialto's cheesesteak ($8 with fries) receives a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer (your stomach).
Brooklyn Park Pub
3400 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-7772
A relatively new Southeast side team, the BPP cheesesteak ($5) comes on quick with a slippery offense of melty cheese, and a lineup of eclectic players (great microbrew and whiskey selection) wins the Brooklyn Park Pub the extra point.
MVP: The BPP cheesesteak's super-beefy taste—like the meat's been grilled in a bath of reduced beef bouillon.
2272 NW Kearney St., 299-1200
Tributes' cheesesteak ($7.
45) storms in with a tight, meaty defensive line, but a showboaty draft pick—the charming creamy hot sauce—overpowers the rest of the players' talents, proving to be the team's downfall.
Penalty: Tribute's hot sauce receives a 15-yard penalty for roughing the tastebuds.
NY Sub Shop
725 SW Alder St., 525-4414
This expansion team (more of a deli-oriented competitor) offers tasty sub-style sammies, and its cheesesteak ($5.85 half, $10.70 whole) features classic sub toppers like mayo, lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing.
MVP: Banana peppers add some zing to the NY Sub Shop's plays.
Every team except Philly Cheesesteaks & Burgers, Ford's on 5th and the NY Sub Shop is open Super Bowl Sunday.