Ballpark Food


Pacific Bell Park down… SBC up

Or, how to avoid Ballpark Food with,
Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad

Way back in February when Spring Training was about to begin, the Giants held a FanFest and part of the deal was a five ticket package for April and May games in View (that’s up top) Reserved for $58, they pick the seats and the games. That’s a deal, and the seats and the games have been good. But this is about the food.

The food at the Giants ballpark—its on its third name; Pacific Bell Park, SBC Park, AT&T Park—is not too bad and there is some variety, but unless you sit in the Club Levels, you have to go find it.

We have had the good fortune to sit in the Field Club Level five rows behind the Giant’s dugout (friend’s season tickets). The food is good and interesting and the atmosphere is very clubby, so it’s okay to spend $8.50 for a generous serving. Here’s what the Giants web site says:

On the Field Club Level and Club Level, you will find Joe Garcia’s, Giuseppe Bazurro’s, Edsel Ford Fong’s and John J. McGraw’s Derby Grill. Joe Garcia’s: This Pan-Latin concept is named for our own wildly enthusiastic Giants fan, Joe Garcia, who ran the elevators at the AT&T Park construction site. The choices include authentic soft tacos, burritos and quesadillas. Giuseppe Bazurro’s: Giuseppe Bazurro was a San Francisco restaurateur whose restaurant was regarded as one of the best in the city during the Gold Rush heyday of the late 19th century. Our menu includes pizzas and “bazurros,” fresh flat bread, filled with luscious salads and lightly rolled. Edsel Ford Fong’s: Named after Edsel Ford Fong, the San Francisco Chinatown waiter made (in)famous by his unique style of service. Choose from rice bowls, sushi, cold noodle salads and fruit spears. John J. McGraw’s Derby Grill: Hall of Fame Manager John J. McGraw inspired this American grill featuring premium hot dogs and sausages, burgers, fries, beer and peanuts.

There’s also a cart with fresh sliced brisket sandwiches on a sourdough roll. Now that’s good!

There are a couple special places for ordinary fans, but they’re remote:

Orlando’s (Orlando Cepeda) is Home of the Baby Bull Tri-tip sandwich and Cha Cha Bowl. Both are real good. The Cha Cha bowl is salad with jerk pork and more than I can eat. ($8.50) But that’s way out above the Left Field Bleachers. Our seats are on the View Level behind home plate, so it’s about a four-block walk to get there.

Murph’s Irish Pub has Fish & Chips and the fish is really good but the chips are mushy ($8.50). They also have Bangers, which are great (6.50) and Harp, Guinness or ‘Alf ‘n’ ‘Alf ($8.25). Can’t go wrong there but its way out on the Right Field end of the View Level (only two blocks away).


Harp & Guinness…Gilroy Garlic Fries

Where we normally park our buns; dogs, burgers, tacos, pizza, and garlic fries abound, and there’s nothing special except the prices. The first game we had two beers a Brat and a Cheeseburger. That came to $29, Holy Hotdog Batman! That’s more than the seats! And let’s not overestimate the quality of the food. Its fresh and hot and the right size, but before long the wallet is empty.
burgers and buns

dogs & dogs…burgers & Bud

Our bargain seats are in the next-to-last row, Row 17, which translates to 65 steps. They’re great once we get there. So we get food, go up, sit, and leave at the end of the game. No food and beer runs. I manage to get through a game on one Bud in a 16 ounce plastic bottle.

quantity rules

our high seats…kid or coke…quantity rules

In light of all this, I decided make food to take to the next game. I cooked up some Italian sausages and put them in hard rolls with mustard and pickles. That was fine, but the rolls got a bit soggy (and they’re too large for my taste), and the sausages, while not cold, were not hot, either. The following game, I cut big slices from a batard to transport the sausages, better, but not wonderful.

Friendly Confines

The Friendly Confines from Club Seat Perspective

Which brings to mind the time in 1989 when Eric made homemade sushi (maki rolls, actually) and took it to a Sox game at Fenway Park. Sure he elicited unwanted stares from the surrounding spectators, but he was a man ahead of his time! I’ve seen folks carrying sushi at Giants games, but I haven’t found a sushi stand. That got me to thinking about the Cha Cha Bowl from Orlando’s and I figured that a salad of some sort would be good, but it had to be substantial enough for a meal. I had a chicken leg and thigh in the refrigerator—left over from the excellent Roast Chicken with Fennel of the week before. Now, how do I stretch that into a meal for two?

I seem to remember going into restaurants when traveling, the kind you might find in an ordinary hotel, and ordering a Chinese Chicken Salad. What comes out of the kitchen is chicken with thin noodles, bits of cucumber and maybe Mandaran orange sections and a soy based dressing. Maybe its called Asian Chicken Salad; whatever: chicken, noodles, Asian dressing.

I consulted some cookbooks and found chicken salads without noodles and noodle salads without chicken. I resorted to—not my favorite website, but vast— and found two recipes, the first serves 20(!) uses linguini and a peanut butter dressing, yuk. The second uses spaghetti, shredded carrot and spinach leaves, yuk too.

But my recipe index on the computer had one reference that might be useful. Some time back, I made a recipe for Soba Noodle Salad with Tamari Dressing in Dean & Deluca: The Food and Wine Cookbook by Jeff Morgan. The book didn’t make my Essentials list, but it has some good stuff in it. In any case, if I substitute my leftover chicken for the shiitake mushrooms the recipe calls for, and fiddle with some of the other ingredients, I might have me what I need.

It turns out that I did, and here it is for your next ball game. Can’t beat the quality and the price.

quantity rules

chicken & noodles,sectioning an orange,julianne a cucumber

Ballpark Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1 tablespoon chile sesame oil (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons sake (you could substitute dry vermouth)

12 ounces dried soba noodles
3 oranges peeled and segmented
3 small English or Japanese cucumbers cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1 bunch green onions cut into 2 inch long diagonal pieces

2 cups roasted or poached chicken, shredded

Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir to blend. Let sit 30 minutes.

Toss the chicken with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the dressing, just enough to color it, and reserve.

Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse with cold water, drain well, place in a large, shallow bowl and toss the noodles with most of the dressing. Taste, and add more dressing if desired. Add the oranges, cucumber, cilantro and half the sesame seeds. Toss again. Divide among containers. Scatter the green onions and chicken over the top of each container and sprinkle each with the remaining sesame seeds.

Now, see if you can wait to the third inning to crack the top of your noodle container. Accompany with an overpriced beer of your choice.

Here’s what the Giants say about the “ordinary” ballpark food:

Located throughout the ballpark are concession stands, bistros, and portable food carts featuring traditional ballpark fare and a wide variety of ethnic, gourmet, and specialty food concepts for guests of AT&T Park. All food and beverage services are operated by Centerplate and Bon Appétit.
On the Promenade and View Levels, you will find Doggie Diner, Say Hey Sausage Specialties, Gilroy Garlic Fries, Portwalk Pizza, Carl’s Jr., Krispy Kreme, John J. McGraw’s Derby Grill and specialty carts including California wines, Vienna Beef Chicago dogs and Fruitazza Smoothies. Tully’s Coffee is served throughout the ballpark.
Fans are also allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks in cans or plastic bottles to the ballpark.

2 thoughts on “Ballpark Food

  1. Pingback: Jillian Hall

  2. Interesting, thanks for that. My son has a total aversion to eating raw fruit for some reason, so I make it into smoothies for him and then he can’t get enough of it! I also found some great smoothie recipe here and thought I’d share – lots of other great ideas there.


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