How To Throw The Perfect Westchester Tailgate Party

You finally scored season tickets—or your kid finally made varsity—and you’re doing it big this year: “reserved” parking spot, up at 6 am to prep, and no expense spared on the weekly (or big annual) spread. Here’s how to kick your tailgate up a notch, or several, this season.    

Upgrade: Your Burger

Replace your boring beef-and-American patty with this Greek-inspired flavor bomb from Chef Michael Psilakis, owner of MP Taverna in Irvington, and served at his New York City restaurant, Kefi. (See www.foodsafety.gov for guidelines on keeping your pre-made patties cold until ready to cook on-site.)

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Lamb Burger (Makes 1)

8 oz ground lamb
1 shallot (diced)
1 scallion (chopped; green and white part)
3 cloves garlic confit (Cook garlic in 2 Tbsp of olive oil on very low heat until very soft)
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dill
¼ tsp crushed coriander
salt and pepper
brioche bun

For garnish:

4 arugula leaves
1 slice sweet onion (grilled)
4 Thassos olives (pitted and diced)4 sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp crumbled feta
fresh dill and mint1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Upgrade: Alternative Beer Beverage

Rather than ostracizing thirsty non-suds-drinkers or hassling with mixed-drink ingredients, pick up a couple boxes—yes, boxes—of Bridge Lane wine. Lieb Cellars’ lighter, fruitier label is affordable and features a portable 3-liter box ($40) and a 19.5-liter plastic keg ($260). Find the locally made and produced Long Island wines at Rochambeau Wine & Liquors in Dobbs Ferry (www.rochambeauwines.com) and www.liebcellars.com

Upgrade: Your Culinary Chops

Impress your crew by earning your chef’s coat at The Official Jets Cooking School, held at The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in Manhattan. For $150 per class, learn to make gourmet game-day dishes from ICE’s professional chefs, plus meet current and former Jets players and cheerleaders. 

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Remaining classes (through January 31, 2015) include Tailgate Tennessee-style with Comfort Dishes, Flavors of the AFC East, and Thanksgiving with a Tailgate Twist, which will feature a perfect deep-fried turkey and sides and sweets designed for reheating on the grill.

You can can take home a gift bag containing, among other items, a Wusthof knife set and Jack Black grooming products. And you’ll also gain access to an exclusive VIP Jets Experience, including a behind-the-scenes tour of MetLife Stadium. Sign up at www.ice.edu.

Upgrade: The Other Game

Encourage group activity—and keep your blood flowing—by commissioning a custom, regulation pair of hand-painted birch cornhole boards from Hudson Valley-based Ward Boards ($179.95 to $270; www.wardboards.com). All have collapsible legs for easy transport and storage. 

Upgrade: The Day After

We asked Ilyse Schapiro, a registered dietitian and nutritionist in Harrison, how to curb the inevitable hangover after a great game. Besides drinking plenty of water before, during, and after imbibing, she advises:

• Choose a healthier meal. “It’s a myth that greasy foods help with a hangover, and don’t eat them before drinking either. A mix of protein, carbs, and good fats will slow the absorption of alcohol in your blood.” 

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• Take a multivitamin before you go out or first thing in the morning to replenish B and C vitamins depleted while drinking.

• Eat a banana to replenish depleted potassium stores, which may exacerbate hangover symptoms.

• Stick to light-colored drinks like light beer, vodka, and white wine to avoid compounds that increase the likeliness of unpleasant after- effects even in lower doses. 

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