Pregame Platter: Jacksonville at Ravens

Our picks for the best eats and drinks during this Sunday's game.

By Mike Unger -

Pregame Platter: Jacksonville at Ravens

Our picks for the best eats and drinks during this Sunday's game.

By Mike Unger -

Crab tots and alligator bites. -Abbey Burger Bistro

Jaguars at Ravens, Sunday Dec. 14, 1:00 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium, CBS

The Jacksonville Jaguars may be the most nondescript city/franchise combination in the NFL. Quick—name the most talented player on the Jags. Now think about some of the city's famous landmarks. Its famous native sons? You get the idea. One thing I can tell you definitively is that no one in the NFL possesses a better mustache or boat than Jags owner Shad Khan.

The Jags and their hometown don't generally get a lot of attention outside of north Florida, but that won't matter when the Ravens play the AFC South's cellar dweller. Baltimore is a big favorite (14 points) against one of only three teams in the league without a win on the road this season. Still, with only three games left and the playoff picture uncomfortably crowded, the Ravens can't afford to overlook anyone, no matter how insignificant they might be.

What to Eat: Jacksonville isn't known for any one food item or cuisine. It's hardly New Orleans. How do I know this? The Florida Times-Union's food editor said so in the lead of a story he wrote on the subject in the days before the city hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2004. Buried at the bottom of the article is a mention of the one Jacksonville original—a Lubi sandwich. You can only get an authentic one at one of the three Lubi's locations in Jacksonville, but I'm going to attempt to create one in my kitchen:

  • Lean ground sirloin
  • Kraft American Cheese
  • Onions
  • A sub roll.

Load the cooked sirloin onto the sub roll, top with cheese and onions (peppers can be added as well), and steam. This is the key step. Lubi's are steamed, which can make them messy to eat. Most people use a knife and fork. (I know what I'll be eating isn't a true Lubi sandwich, but it sounds gooey and delicious, doesn't it?)

If you're heading out, a plate of alligator bites at Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill is sufficiently Floridian. They're battered and fried, and served with a spicy honey mustard sauce.

What to Drink: Stick with me here. Each year one of college football's most cleverly-nicknamed games is staged in Jacksonville, where Florida meets Georgia in “The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." This season the Gators upset the Bulldogs. Eight days later, the Jags played the Dallas Cowboys in London. Since it's scheduled to play one game there each year through 2016, Jacksonville is unofficially England's NFL team. Thus, on Sunday I'll be drinking British Bulldogs:

  • 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 2-3 oz half cream

Measure one-ounce shots of the butterscotch schnapps, coffee liqueur, and vodka into a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Stir in the half and half to top off drink. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

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Crab tots and alligator bites. -Abbey Burger Bistro

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