The ultimate tailgate party of the year kicks off this Sunday -#8212; Super Bowl XLVIII -#8212; so it's time to huddle if you're playing kitchen quarterback.
Here's one possible game plan: For the first half, prepare your favorite appetizers, light finger foods like guacamole and chips. Then get down to business at halftime with a hearty spread of pulled pork sliders and barbecued ribs.
To officiate at the feast, we consulted with chef/owner Jeff Young of Twist Eatery in Forestville, a lifelong Niners fan and devot?of barbecued pork.
At Twist, Young is known for his savory sandwiches, including the ever-popular Pulled Pork, which he tops with housemade barbecue sauce and a slathering of 'slaw.
His Asian-inspired barbecue sauce is the key to the dish, boosting the pork's flavor with its blend of soy sauce, sambal chili sauce and red curry paste.
"It definitely has some character," he said. "Most barbecue sauce is either too sweet or one-dimensional. You want some flavor and some kick."
When he holds a Super Bowl party at home, Young always serves up his baby back ribs, which start out with a chile-brown sugar dry rub, then get finished with his signature barbecue sauce.
"It's something I've worked at for years," he said of the sauce. "I look back at my recipe from 10 years ago, and it was totally different."
Rather than the expected green salad or Caesar, Young suggested pulling an audible and serving up his Organic Beet Salad with Fresh Herb Vinaigrette as a side dish.
"I love it, and it's simple," he said. "All you have to do is go down to the store and get local beets, then boil and peel them."
He uses a blend of rice wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, fresh sage, salt and pepper as a dressing for the beets. There's no goat cheese in sight.
"It's just beets, and that's what people like about it," he said. "I serve it on a small bed of local lettuce from Shone Farms."
Like the other relatively new restaurants in Forestville, Twist serves all-local, sustainable or organic produce, plus organic eggs and chicken.
"It goes back to the days of Wine Country cuisine," Young said. "That's what John Ash was doing."
The chef, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Toni Echols, already was in the habit of sourcing fresh produce. For 11 years, he cooked out of an extensive garden as the winery chef at Alexander Valley Vineyards in Healdsburg.
Young and Echols opened Twist about 18 months ago as a breakfast and lunch cafe, but they now serve lunch only from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
"We're learning about what people like," he said. "You have to find out what makes everyone happy and makes business sense."
Echols does the baking and works the front of the house, while Young mans the stoves at the cozy cafe, which has nine counter seats indoors and an additional 20 outdoors. Those seats often fill up fast.
"Toni and myself have done 60 people in one day," he said. "We were swamped the weekend after Thanksgiving."
For his sandwiches, Young sources soft, deli rolls from Costeaux Bakery in Healdsburg and rosemary focaccia rolls from Nightingale Breads just up the street, where baker Beth Thorp creates them especially for Twist.