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NBA CITY FOOD BRACKET!

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The NBA PLAYOFFS are just around the corner. I have been watching a TON of basketball lately. I have also been spending a lot of time around food. If you saw our 10 p.m. sportscast on Thursday night, you saw I spent a lot of time in the concession stands at ONEOK Field during the Drillers home opener. Yes, I sampled.

They have some AWESOME new burgers and dogs this year. That got me thinking… what is the iconic dish for each major city in the nation? Then I thought about hoops. What is the top dish for each playoff city?

THEN I thought... if we had an NBA CITY food bracket what city would win the NBA iconic foods championship!? My tummy is growling already. Below are the current playoff seedings and iconic foods that correlate with that city (based on the standings today):

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Chicago – Deep Dish Pizza

I was torn here. I needed to ask around the sports office to break the tummy-tie. Is the Windy City better known for Deep Dish pies or the famous Chicago-style hot dogs? We settled on the pizza. Although, the vote was close.

2. Miami – Cuban Sandwich

You could have gone with any number of seafood dishes here. You could have done with key lime pie, seeing how Key West is just a few hour drive away. The top choice for LeBron and D-Wade's city is the sandwich that represents the largest, most diverse ethnic majority in Miami.

3. Indiana – Breaded Pork Tenderloin

I had to do some research on this one. Apparently, Indianapolis locals go gaga for deep fried piggy. I can't blame them. It sounds delicious.

4. Boston – Clam Chowder

The Celtics' faithful have tons of good grub to enjoy before games. I, personally, would be elbows-deep in the good, old fashioned Boston Cream Pie if given the choice. The creamy dessert is REALLY good, but there is no debate when it comes to Bean Town's top dish. You've gotta go with the Chow-dah.

5. Atlanta – Chicken and Waffles

Is it breakfast? Is it Dinner? Either way, it's pretty close to perfect. Sure, Georgians rave about their boiled peanuts and juicy peaches but the iconic dish of the Dirty South is deep fried and served with maple syrup.

6. Orlando – Grouper Sandwich

I am from the state of Florida. I lived in the Tampa area for most of my life and my wife is FROM ORLANDO. I wasn't totally sure what Orlando was famous for but knew she would know. I probably would have just tossed out some kind of Mickey Mouse guess. She says O-Town is a seafood town (makes sense) and that Grouper is king. Sounds like Magic to me.

7. Philadelphia – Cheese steak

Geno's or Pat's? Those adjacent neighbors do battle for the title of Philly's top sandwich right across the street from each other. Both claim to be the best. Our sports producer Joe McCann says Pat's is #1 hands down. Either way, we can all agree that cheese steaks are AWESOME.

8. New York – Pastrami on Rye

Jerry Seinfeld may say Matzo Ball soup is Gotham's top food. MANY others would vote for the thin-crust pizza or bagels or hot dogs. Clearly, this was the most difficult city in the NBA to narrow all of the foods down and pick a favorite, iconic dish. We figure, you can't go wrong with a New York deli sandwich.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Oklahoma City - Steak

Living here in Oklahoma you know that steak is king. There are more cows in OKC than people. Almost. Like in every city there will be plenty of diners who think their favorite food should be the mainstay in everyone's diet. Let's just call steak the favorite.

2. San Antonio – Fajitas

I have been to San Antonio and ate dinner on the river during our Alamo Bowl trip with Oklahoma State two years ago. It was pretty much a Mexican food town. I had a hard time finding a restaurant on the river that didn't serve steaming plates of rice, beans and cheese.

3. LA Lakers – In-N-Out Burger

There are two LA teams this year so we had to come up with two iconic foods. Hard to do, even in a city the size of Los Angeles. We'll assign In-N-Out burger to the Lakers because it's a predominantly west coast staple that most people love. There are tons of Lakers fans. There are tons of In-N-Out fans.

4. LA Clippers – Fish Tacos

There are fewer Clippers fans. So, we had to go with a food that's got a little bit less palate please-ability. While many people love fish tacos they aren't always the best thing in the world. When they are good, they can be great. When they're bad, they can be awful. The same can be said for the Clippers. Odds are these fish tacos came from a truck.

5. Memphis – BBQ

Dang that stuff is delicious. I ate my fill of Memphis BBQ just a few weeks back while covering the TU Golden Hurricane in the Conference USA tournament. I wasn't in town very long. I was kind of bummed about that because I had a lot more ribs and sausage to eat.

6. Dallas – Chicken Fried Steak

Sports reporter Keith Leventhal is from Dallas and told me he had no idea what the iconic food from his hometown was. I've been to Dallas but it's such a melting pot for foods that it's tough to pick just one that most people would agree is the top Dallas dish. So, I googled. That's how we ended up with Chicken Fried Steak. Apparently, gravy is a must.

7. Houston – Texas Brisket

Keith also told me I had to put brisket on here for one of the Texas cities. Since Dallas was a toss up and San Antonio was clearly Mexican food, I put brisket down for Houston. The Rockets play there so I was tempted to go with some kind of dehydrated space powder foods. Alas, brisket it is.

8. Denver – Rocky Mountain Oysters

I had to ask our resident Denver chick, Tara Vreeland, on this one. She says this is the top dish in the Mile High city. I have personally never tried them. If I didn't know what they were, I'd be more inclined to give it a taste. Since I DO know what they are, I'll probably never sink my teeth into, well, you know.

MATCHUPSEastern Conference

1. Chicago – Deep Dish Pizza VS 8. New York – Pastrami on Rye

2. Miami – Cuban Sandwich VS 7. Philadelphia – Cheese steak

3. Indiana – Breaded Pork Tenderloin VS 6. Orlando – Grouper Sandwich

4. Boston – Clam Chowder VS 5. Atlanta – Chicken and Waffles

Sports office votes:

Joe McCann: CHI, PHI, IND, BOS >> CHI, PHI >> PHI

Keith Leventhal: NYC, PHI, IND, BOS>> NYC, PHI>> PHI

Bobby Lewis: CHI, PHI, IND, ATL >> CHI, PHI >> CHI

MATCHUPSWestern Conference

1. Oklahoma City – Steak VS 8. Denver – Rocky Mountain Oysters

2. San Antonio – Fajitas VS 7. Houston – Texas Brisket

3. LA Lakers – In-N-Out Burger VS 6. Dallas – Chicken Fried Steak

4. LA Clippers – Fish Tacos VS 5. Memphis – BBQ

Sports office votes:

Joe McCann: OKC, SA, DAL, MEM >> MEM, SA >> BBQ

Keith Leventhal: OKC, HOU, DAL, BBQ >> BBQ, DAL >> BBQ

Bobby Lewis: OKC, SA, LAL, MEM >> OKC, SA >> OKC

NBA FOOD CHAMPIONS

Joe: PHILLY

Keith Leventhal: PHILLY

Bobby Lewis: CHICAGO

So two guys like Philly Cheese steaks more than anything else in the league. I like me some tried and true American steak.

What's your favorite?

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