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Fans Can Kick Off Super Bowl With the Right Spread

<i> Benjamin Epstein is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to the Times Orange County. Information for this column can be faxed to (714) 966-7790. Or phone (714) 966-7700. </i>

For many California football fans, Super Bowl XXIX (which coincidentally takes place Jan. 29) is a simple matter of North vs. South; after all, it’s the San Francisco 49ers vs. the San Diego Chargers. But for others, how the annual ritual is observed, and what perishables are consumed, are every bit as important as who happens to be playing.

You can enjoy a traditional buffet of hot dogs, chili, chicken wings and beef ribs for free at Bootleggers Restaurant and Lounge. Bootleggers opened in late November in the historic building that housed the San Clemente jail from 1928 to 1968. The game starts at 3:18 p.m.; the buffet is served from 4 p.m. Draft beers are 75 cents. You can get started early with a champagne brunch ($9.95 without tax or tip), served from 10:30 a.m. until game time.

For $15, fans can load up on all-you-can-eat fried calamari, pasta pesto marinara, chicken involtini (breast stuffed with prosciutto and smoked mozzarella) and other dishes while watching the game on one of seven screens at Villa Nova; the price includes $10 in Villa Bucks, which can be applied at the bar or for future food purchases. The buffet will be served from 1 p.m. Halftime festivities will include games with restaurant gift-certificate prizes.

For $20, you can watch the game at home while enjoying an individual Super Bowl To Go box from Pascal. The meal kicks off with shrimp and avocado salad with mustard-ginger vinaigrette. For the big play, choice of chicken-and-sun-dried-tomato sausage with lentils goes head-to-head with grilled lamb culotte with green peppercorn sauce and fusilli. Super Bowl Rum Baba scores the point after touchdown. Reserve boxes on Friday, pick up on Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Borders Books and Music offers a free alternative to “waiting, watching and recapping the day’s events while consuming an ungodly amount of chips, salsa, hot dogs and a variety of belch-producing beverages.” Puppets and story time for children at noon; from 1 to 3 p.m., the Lagunatics play Dixieland jazz. Baked goods including knishes and Danish pastries will be served in the Espresso Bar “without commercial interruptions.”

Bootleggers, 111 W. Avenida Palizada, Suite E, San Clemente. (714) 366-6700.

Borders Books and Music, 25222 El Paseo, Mission Viejo. (714) 367-0005.

Pascal, 1000 Bristol St., Newport Beach. (714) 261-9041.

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Villa Nova, 3131 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach. (714) 642-7880.

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Saturday at Borders, “Healthy Dining in Orange County” co-author Erica Bohm makes an appearance at 2 p.m. The book details nutritional information on more than 400 low-fat menu items served at 83 local restaurants. Mon Chateau, Pick Up Stix and Coco’s will provide samples of healthy menu items at the free event. The book is $14.95. . . . Or you can forget moderation and pig out at Five Feet Restaurant in Laguna Beach on Monday with a seven-course meal marking Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig. It starts at 6:30 p.m.; chef Michael Kang suggests that celebrants cancel the next morning’s appointments. The cost is $75 “per piglet” exclusive of beverage, tax and gratuity, and the menu includes Chinese broccoli salad with pig’s ear.


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