Ithaca, N.Y. — When he returns home on Saturday with hockey’s biggest prize, Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown will be taking the Stanley Cup on its second Ithaca adventure in three years.
Each player on the winning Stanley Cup team gets to spend a day with the trophy. During their 24 hours with the Stanley Cup, other hockey champions have been known to drink champagne, eat cereal and even baptize their children in the venerated vessel.
(What great Ithaca meal do you think Brown should eat with the Cup? Take our poll, which you can find at the bottom of this story.)
From fundraising to greeting well-wishers in Cass Park, Brown will have a full schedule this weekend.
But he hasn’t, at least publicly, addressed a major question: What is he going to eat out of the Cup? In a town as ripe with food, wine and quirkiness as Ithaca, there’s no reason that Brown shouldn’t feast to his heart’s content.
We’ve taken the liberty of drawing up a list of friendly suggestions for how Brown should enjoy the Stanley Cup during their day together.
8 a.m.: Start the day off with a real champion’s breakfast — fill the cup with berries and syrup at Carriage House Café, and dip into it with some brie-stuffed French toast. Or with brioche French toast. Or your fingers. Or your face.
10 a.m.: Felicia’s Atomic Lounge is hardly a sports bar, and the unfailingly hip waitstaff might mistake the trophy for an ironic piece of oversized bling. Either way, they will certainly be impressed enough to plop the layered deliciousness of their Brunch Bowl into a more exciting container.
Noon: Shake off the food coma with a pick-me-up from the original Gimme Coffee on North Cayuga Street — sipped with a smile from the silver rim.
1:30 p.m.: Like the LA Kings themselves until 2012, Ithaca’s ice cream scene has experienced dry spells, particularly during the hiatus of the Cornell Dairy Bar, which reopened in January. Toast the end of lean times with a chalice full of Cornelia’s Dark Secret at the dairy bar.
3 p.m.: Swing by the Piggery and fill the cup with pate — sometimes dismissed as the dainty domain of rich people, pate is actually the perfect way to celebrate hockey domination. Nothing says sports victory like a giant goblet of ground-meat-and-alcohol paste. Scoop it out with your hands, like a classy caveman.
4 p.m.: After years of being schlepped around ice rinks, forgotten in snowdrifts and otherwise languishing in chilly climes, it’s time for the Stanley Cup to host a steaming helping of noodle soup. Saigon Kitchen’s pho is rich and savory enough to melt the heart of even the craggiest Canadian.
6 p.m.: As evening approaches, snag two stools at the Chapter House — one for you, one for your shiny companion — and pile the Cup high with popcorn, in the tradition of the Devils’ Martin Brodeur. Munch, mingle and catch a game on TV. Smile indulgently at the lesser sports teams on screen.
7 p.m.: In all its adventures, the Cup has never taken part in a ritual as sacred as the baking of dessert…until now. When filled with the light, almond-scented blueberry frangipane dough and baked in Madeleine’s hallowed kitchen, the Cup will finally achieve its full potential. Everyone knows that only losers are satisfied with desserts that aren’t shaped like trophies.
8:30 p.m.: It wouldn’t be the Stanley Cup if it wasn’t filled at some point with alcohol. Skedaddle over to the Ithaca Beer Company and fill your illustrious mug with as much Flower Power IPA as possible. Consume with reckless abandon and let it drip through that rugged playoff beard you worked so hard to grow.
Midnight: Between the beer and the saturated fat, you’ll surely have lost all need for gravitas by this point in the tour. So shake off any remaining inhibitions — and admiring hangers-on — and head back uphill to Level B for the fishbowl to end all fishbowls.