A New Orleans style spread for the Super Bowl
WHEN THE QUEEN OF CATERING has a few friends over to share a big football day, you know there will be more than TV watching on the menu.
This year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans was the perfect inspiration for Mary Kay Waters and her husband, district attorney Jim Waters, to entertain outdoors at their home with its amazing view of Mission Bay. An added advantage is that the Waters have firsthand experience with the food and restaurants of New Orleans and lots of football fans as friends, including ex-Chargers place kicker Rolf Bernischke and his wife, Mary. Other guests included lawyer friends, the Waters’ son Sean and other relatives.
Mid-winter entertaining in San Diego may involve sunshine, showers or a com-bination thereof. The Waters’ outdoor living room is covered but open on one side to the perspective of a large, grassy lawn. In the event of a mid-party squall, the room can be closed off with protective canvas curtains.
A path mid-lawn leads to a water view-point on the edge of the property that is a favorite spot to locate the bar for a party. For this day, it was a spot to order drinks on arrival, including craft beers from New Orleans, and later to linger over one last glass of wine while viewing the sunset.
Another reason for the Waters to entertain these days is a patio with their new outdoor pizza oven that can be utilized to cook far more than the Italian pie. Counter space in this area also functioned as the oyster bar, with the abundant bi-valves arranged on an antique silver epergne from Jim’s family. The oysters were paired with pickled beets and okra, house-made cocktail sauce, mignonette, Brennan’s remoulade and, of course, lemon wedges.
For this Super Bowl gathering, the re-modeled kitchen of the Waters’ Bay Park home, with extensive granite counters, could accommodate preparation on one side and the arrangement of a variety of the ongoing offerings of the menu on the other end — just steps away from the television.
In the outdoor living room, a coffee table surrounded by seating in clear view of the football game provided another place for serving food buffet style.
In the patio area, a table for sit-down dining was set with La Tavola linens in sunset colors from Napa. The formal dining room also was set in case it was needed, though most of the gathering remained around the kitchen and patio in full view of the game.
“The Game Book,” as Mary Kay called her menu, started with the “Oyster Bar,” then “Side Lines,” including warm, roasted-artichoke fondue, sweet potato-bacon hush puppies, Bayou Cajun chicken wing-dingers with a buttermilk-blue-cheese dressing and sliders served on the kitchen bar and around the television.
A big hit among many was the Central Market mini muffaletta, a classic stacked and stuffed French bread with ingredients that included salami, cured Italian ham, mortadella, mozzarella and fontina.
The “Wood Fire Oven Station” served up sizzling pan-roasted crawfish, andouille sausage, mozzarella, herbs and peppers on Mary Kay’s hand-formed crusts.
“Half Time” amazed the guests gathering on the outdoor patio with a Louisiana shrimp and crab étouffée served over steamed white rice.
By game’s end, a state of exhilaration was greeted by the guests with a glorious “Sweet Victory” array of pastry chef Joe Burns’ Valrhona chocolate mini cupcakes decorated with footballs, French Quarter beignets paired with several sauce choices, New Orleans pecan praline pops on a stick and Commander’s Palace bread pudding.
All in all, it added up to one super, super day.
Entertaining: By Phyllis Van Doren Photography by Martin Mann