Going Organic at the Ballpark
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jax, or an organic chicken sandwich and gluten-free flatbread. It’s been a while since Will Clark reigned in the Bay Area and nearly every stadium has made dramatic improvements to their menu since. Still, as the first team to feature garlic fries, the Giants have always been a little bit ahead on the culinary front and I think we’d all be hard-pressed to find better food options at another sports venue in the country. As a huge Warriors fan, I can say that the Dubs have a thing or two to learn but who really cares about eating during a basketball game? Baseball is another story. Don’t get me wrong, baseball was my first sports love and I still think it is special but it can be slow and at AT&T Park where I wear a ski vest in August, food and beverage breaks are a central part of the experience.
I heard that there were some new organic options this year so last Friday I took my partner on a hot date to the Giants game to check them out. We started at the Organic Chicken Coup, near section 134. Since I stay away from birds, Cami tried the chicken sandwich, which she said was delicious and I have to admit that it looked pretty good. I scarfed down organic tater tots, with an array of un-named organic beers, and followed this up with an immensely refreshing organic vodka lemonade. How I made it past the 3rd inning is anyone’s guess.
We noticed some other new food options such as Tony’s Slice House while we walked around before the game. The Director of Concessions for Centerplate, Sandie Filipiak, explained to us. “It’s all about choices. You might have to walk a little further to get what you want but you can get it.” At other sports venues, even if there seem to be many options they are usually just offering more of the same in different locations but AT&T Park has a huge variety and the quality seems to improve with each season, even if the bullpen does not.
A few years ago, Filipiak added a wine bar, Vintage 58, which pours an array of wines and a couple of beers on tap. She’s also expanded the adult beverage choices throughout the stadium to include microbrews and boutique wines.
Afterward, we were given a tour of The Garden behind center field, which opened in 2013. It is sandwiched between Hearth Table, which offers gluten-free food, on the King of Kale, Hunter Pence’s right field side and the vegetarian Garden Table on the left. Both work with The Garden’s produce as much as possible, supplementing it with produce from local, sustainable farms. With hydroponic towers of lettuce and kale interspersed between the herb, fruit and vegetable patches, it’s easy to forget that there are professional baseball players on the other side of the wall. The Garden Table serves some organic wines including Medlock Ames Sauvignon Blanc ($14) and Tablas Creek Rose($15). Across the way, you can get order Redbridge and Omission gluten free beers ($9.75).
If you are not completely satiated with the healthier savory foods, check out Cream above section 130, a local family owned cookies and ice cream concession. Their products are all natural and sourced from Bay Area farms. We were going to share an ice cream sandwich but ended up getting our own, and my snickerdoodle cookies with cookies and cream ice cream officially put me into a food coma. But that was not without trying Cami’s double chocolate chip cookie with salted caramel ice cream version, which was just as heavenly. If I never eat another piece of cake or pie I’ll live but whoever came up with the idea for an ice cream sandwich should be canonized.
Eating and drinking is part of the experience and even when the Giants are not playing at their best – that would be right about now – fans can take comfort in knowing they can stuff their faces in consolation without getting additional heartburn.
Let’s Go Giants!