Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Play Ball! Food at AT&T Park

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am a huge, huge baseball fan. Specifically, I am an SF Giants Fan. I'm a season ticket holder and I've been going to games at AT&T Park (formerly known as SBC park, formerly known as PacBell Park) since it opened. Being a foodie, I have also had the pleasure of sampling every type of food offered in the park over the years, except for the sushi because that just seems ridiculous, and any fake meat products, because why eat fake meat when there is perfectly good real meat to consume. Here are some of my favorite foods in the ballpark.

Club Level
I'll write about this first to get it out of the way. The food in club level seating is much better than the food elsewhere in the park. However the tickets are also more expensive. If you get a chance to sit here, definitely come hungry. The burgers and hotdogs and sausages are better quality, hotter, and more nicely prepared up here. Fries are fresher. All of that stuff. Some of the highlights of club level that you can't find elsewhere are fancy pizzas, really good panninis, corned beef sandwiches, DELICIOUS strawberry shortcakes, and sometimes they have really yummy perfect little sliders at the main grill area. When my parents are in town we generally get club seats. However my seats are with the real fans, in view reserve....

Third Level - View Reserve
I sit in section 310, which is really prime location for food. Right outside of my seats is a stand with the amazing gilroy garlic fries. These are thick-cut french fries, smothered in chopped garlic, salt, and parsley. In my case, also ketchup. These babies are so, so good. Sometimes all I eat are garlic fries. Because they also sort of make you feel sick....but its worth it, believe me. If you like garlic, you will love these. I'm obsessed with french fries, so these are perfect for me.

Outside of my seats are also various hot dog stands. I usually go for a normal polish sausage, which are really good here - more flavorful than your average dog. Sometimes, especially when my dad is around, we get a Sheboygan bratwurst - really delicious, HUGE in a giant bun, with tons of grilled peppers, onions, and sauerkraut. These are sold in a stand, not at one of the normal food locations. They are GOOD! You can also get grilled homerun dogs at this stand.

Close by is a Compadres mexican food stand, another one of my favorites. You can get a burrito, taco salad, or two huge tacos full of yummy spicy beef, cheese, cabbage, and salsa, in crispy shells. These are great on days when I've been to a few games in a row and I'm sick of hot dogs (it is possible to get sick of hot dogs). Speaking of hot dogs, there are also stands that sell various other kinds of sausages - italian, lemon chicken, etc.

Also on the third level, you can get your average nachos, pizza, pretzels, and normal ballgame snacks. At the other end from my seats is a fry bread stand, another one of my favorites. They have various funnel cakes and indian fry breads with toppings - SO delicious. Lastly, on the third level you can get the delicious Ghirrardelli ice cream sundaes. It used to be these were only sold on the third level, though now you can find them at field level also. Two scoops of vanilla ice cream are topped with a ladle of chocolate sauce, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry of course. View reserve has some good food.

Field Level
There are a few things at field level that you cannot get at view reserve - just stop there on your way up to the top. One is the emerald roasted cinnamon nuts - I think you can get these upstairs at view now, but they are fresher down here. Almonds or walnuts, roasted and toasted with cinnamon and sugar. Nuts are good for you, right?

Also there are a few specialty stands down here. There is a fish and chips place, which is actually pretty good. Also North Beach Restaurant has a stand with 40 cloves of garlic chicken sandwiches, and some other yummy italian goodies. I believe there are also a few safeway deli sandwich locations down here - there might be one upstairs as well. Just sort of a normal deli sandwich, but tasty. Another thing down here (and I believe there is one of these upstairs too) is a stand that sells chili and clam chowder in big bread bowl. This is hard to eat at baseball games, I wouldn't exactly recommend it. But if you are in the mood go for it!

Center Field Pavillion
Out behind center field is a plethora of different food options. One of my favorites is the Orlando Cepeda Cha Cha Bowl. Yummy rice served with jerk chicken and a really good mango salsa. Another good option if you are sick of the basic ballpark food. Up here there is also stand that sells crab and shrimp cocktail, crab and shrimp poboys, fried fish, and calamari. There are some nice tables up here too, you can sit and relax and look out at the boats.

Below the Pavilion
Down below the pavilion used to be the only place to get the indian fry bread - now that is all over the park. But it IS the only place for one of my favorite foods - slow cooked bbq pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, with extra sauce on the side. Sometimes its hard to find your way down here, but if you are in the mood I would suggest it. These are great!

Other food and drink finds
Other foods that you can find randomly all over the park that I really enjoy - the fresh squeezed lemonade, huge delicious bags of kettlecorn, big bags of popcorn with real butter, peanuts/crackerjacks, small pink bags of cotton candy (not the multicolored stuff), and beers of course! If you come up to a counter and they have a beer you aren't fond of, don't despair. Basically, every single food counter sells a different beer. In addition there are liquor carts with different beers, margaritas, and wine all over the place. I've seen everything from pabst, to coors light, to Stella (yum!). Just walk around for a minute and you will find something you like.

Things to Avoid
The churros are atrocious. Don't waste your money. They are cold and just not worth eating. Really, that is the only bad thing I have ever consumed at this ball park.

All in all, AT&T is a great place to eat. There are tons of food options, the weather is great, the park is gorgeous, and you can see Barry Bonds hit some home runs (love him or hate him, he is fun to watch.) Come on out to the park and enjoy And baseball too.

bye bye baby!


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