Game Day plan? Hah! It’s been a very long time since I joined the Niner faithful on a winter day, in a dark bar to watch the 49rs and Joe Montana redeem years of hope. I do remember the whole room holding breath, cheering until they were hoarse, and then strangely, walking outside into the dimming day squinting like little moles.

Tick forward to actual adulthood (tho I must have been of age back then ;-), and I rarely watch a game – in honesty I only start to pay attention midway through the season, but I do enjoy a real contest on the day of the big game. This year it meant two really nice teams would face off. I am not particularly geared for game day menu planning and large parties. I simply want to enjoy the game. Just like I will really watch a great tennis showdown or figure skating – something I appreciate and am not capable of doing myself, but at least in two out of these three sports, I have tried. Sometimes feebly…

Thus we keep it very simple. That means a batch of chili: anything from the black bean chili from Cafe Beaujolais’ cookbook and famously ordered by Julia Child on her visit there, to serious meat and New Mexico chiles without beans at all. This year we took stock of the pantry and himself created a good vegan chili, and I made some simple Chili Cheddar shortcakes. Of course it required the right accompaniment – so besides a Bohemia, we opened a really gorgeous 2006 Madden Ranch* Syrah from Fleming Jenkins. That seemed absolutely appropriate.

*yes, grapes from that John Madden – his Livermore vineyards