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Baseball Food 2014

Safeco Field's Centerplate Updates

Ditch those ideas about hot dogs and cola because Centerplate (hospitality partner of the Seattle Mariners) has upped the ante yet again. Executive Chef David Dekker* and the crew have been working with Ethan Stowell since 2011, and they've created some amazing dishes.

Before we talk details, there are a couple of overarching principles you should know about Safeco and Centerplate. First, they are completely aware that even though it's a baseball field and people, supposedly, come for the game, they have to provide an atmosphere, food, and beverage that make people want to return. It's called hospitality and they're all over it. Second, they're promoting local companies throughout the stadium. A telling statistic is that 70% of the beer pulls at Safeco are craft beer. We're talking Georgetown Brewing, Pyramid Brewing, Fremont Brewing, Elysian Brewing, Schooner Exact, 7 Seas Brewery, Silver City, Skagit River Brewery, Black Raven Brewing, Diamond Knot Brewery, and No-Li Brewhouse. That's Washington; there are several from Oregon as well. The Northwest Beer Bar in the Power Alley in the Main Concourse, section 129, has now added cask conditioned ales from local brewers.

Spirits include Oola Distillery, Woodinville Whiskey Company, Rogue Spirits (Portland), and Fremont Mischief Distillery. Hand-crafted cocktails have been created by Anu Apte, owner or Rob Roy in Seattle. These can be found in the suites as well as The Sound Bar, Club Level, section 248. You can also get beer and wine at The Sound Bar.

Sound Seafood, Club Level, Section 249, has updated seafood created by Ethan featuring fish and oysters from Taylor Shellfish. Fish and chips made with Manny's of Georgetown Brewing are excellent, and the fried oysters have been getting great feedback. The crab roll features fresh (truly) crab, Old Bay seasoning and a touch of tabasco. There's salmon chowder, clam chowder and other options as well. The outside wall of Sound Seafood has been glassed in, making it more comfortable on cool or breezy game days.

First Base Vine has updated their offerings to include estate-grown keg wine from Washington Estate vineyards, and carafe service for two. And if you're lucky enough to hang in the premium suites, you'll have access to Autumn Martin's molten chocolate cakes, cookies, s'mores and other desserts from her Hot Cakes store in Ballard.

The Pen has a whole new concept: Swingin' Wings, two of which use Bonache sauces of Ballard. Choose from classic wings, honey serrano wings (pictured), and barbecue wings (tossed with house-made whiskey-cola barbecue sauce). In addition, Dirty Tots have made the menu and maybe your afternoon: Northwest tater tots, Beecher's Flagship cheddar, Carlton Farms pork belly and Bay Valley picked peppers. Or go for the fried Beecher's Cheese curds or deep-fried pickles.

Other local companies involved at Safeco include Painted Hills Beef, Northwest Grass Fed Beef Company, La Mexicana, Ballard Bee Co., Brit's Pickles, Theo Chocolate, St. Jude Seafood.

Considering all that's happening food and beverage-wise at Safeco, it's probably not the day at the park you remember from being a kid. And considering that Centerplate is a multi-national company serving more than 115 million guests each year, and that on any given day 47,000 people are at Safeco, it is a tremendous accomplishment to serve restaurant-focused and -quality food. Make this year the year you get out the ballpark. And take your appetite.

Ethan being interviewed by Root Sports

Centerplate: www.centerplate.com

Mariners: www.seattle.mariners.mlb.com

Ethan Stowell: www.ethanstowellrestaurants.com

*Chef Dekker has left; Michael Johnson has taken over

Connie Adams/April 2014


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