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Food Network
Tyler Florence hosts several Food Network shows.

Cities face off

San Francisco serves up Dungeness crab.

Heading into this weekend’s Super Bowl, oddsmakers are giving the 49ers a slight edge when they face off with the Ravens.

But when it comes down to deciding the spread between San Francisco and Baltimore?

Let’s just say giving an advantage is a bit more difficult.

San Francisco

Population: 812,826

By the bay: The city is on the west side of San Francisco Bay and is connected to the east side by the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

Home-field advantage: Dungeness crab gets its name from the Washington town of Dungeness though it can be found in estuaries along the West Coast. Its flavor is sweet and delicate but is described as being able to stand on its own.

Fan favorite: Rice-A-Roni. Known as the San Francisco treat, Rice-A-Roni is based on an Armenian rice dish the founding family enjoyed and is a blend of rice, pasta and spices. Chicken was the first flavor in 1958 and since then, more than 30 flavors have been introduced.

Meal time: Chop Suey might be considered a Chinese dish but it actually originated in San Francisco.

Moment in history: San Francisco was hit by a devastating earthquake on April 18, 1906. The event is often remembered for the fire it caused, which blanketed the city. Nearly 30,000 buildings were destroyed and an estimated 3,000 people died.

End zone: It’s It – a favorite since 1928 – sandwiches ice cream between oatmeal cookies and then dips the sandwich in chocolate.

Star-studded lineup: Among the famous faces of San Francisco is Tyler Florence. The chef got his start in New York before landing on the budding Food Network. Since then, he’s opened a number of restaurants, including one in San Francisco, and lives just outside the city.


Population: 619,493

By the bay: The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, and Baltimore is on the north side of the 200-mile body of water.

Home- field advantage: Blue crab. The state crustacean of Maryland, the blue crab has a rich, sweet flavor and is steamed or boiled. The cooked crab can be eaten as is but is often served in crab cakes.

Fan favorite: Old Bay seasoning. According to the company, “There are two things you need to know about Old Bay Seasoning: 1) It’s great on seafood and 2) it’s great on everything else.” Old Bay is a blend of 18 herbs and spices that first found its way into the hearts and mouths of Baltimoreans more than 70 years ago.

Meal time: Baltimore’s version of barbecue is pit beef. The meat – top round – is grilled rather than smoked.

Moment in history: On Feb. 7, 1904, an alarm sounded, tipping off Baltimore firefighters that there were flames in the John E. Hurst & Co. building. What started as a basement fire became a daunting task for firefighters as the blaze went from the ceiling toward the elevator shaft and an explosion blew off the roof and broke windows. The fire spread, burning for more than 30 hours, destroying 1,500 buildings and damaging 1,000 more. Damages were estimated at $100 million.

End zone: Berger cookies – a hand-dipped, thick treat that Baltimoreans love.

Star player: Duff Goldman, who is known for extravagant fondant-covered confections, has baked a cake for the NFL to celebrate the Super Bowl. The celebrity chef founded and owns Charm City Cakes bakery in Baltimore and starred in the Food Network show “Ace of Cakes.”