Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Baseball Buffet II: The Other Bay Team

As fair play, I decided to make a visit to the Oakland Coliseum—home of the Athletics (or A’s). Of course, I did it during the awful showing of my Yankees when they were in town. Sigh. This is turning out to be a long baseball summer for The Single Guy Chef.

The vibe is dramatically different at McAfee Coliseum (yes, this ballpark changes its name often too) from AT&T Park where the San Francisco Giants play. At AT&T, it’s all about fun, fancy foods and pretty bay views. In Oakland, it’s all about baseball. Here, a hot dog is a hot dog. There’s no Niman Ranch. And there’s definitely no sushi.

So here’s my tour of the baseball eats at the Coliseum. Thankfully the Yankees aren’t playing the A’s on their turf for the rest of the season.The Coliseum actually has a spot that provides what comes close to a restaurant feel. The Westside Club on the upper level provides luxury box-like seating where you can order from a menu and watch the game. Unlike other ballparks’ club rooms, this club is open to anyone with a ticket. You have to check in with a hostess and get seated, though, and there may be a wait. The menu offers a full range of soup, salads, sandwiches and other typical baseball munchies.Here’s how garlic fries look on the other side of the bay. You buy them from the Gordon Biersch stand. The tray looks a bit smaller than what you get in San Francisco, but it’s $1 cheaper in Oakland. Again, me no like fried food. So I didn’t do a comparison test.I searched and searched for something unusual to try out for my lunch. That’s when I realized that at the Coliseum, there’s no fancy food like a Crazy Crab sandwich or a Cha Cha Bowl. So instead I settled for a Philly cheese steak sandwich ($7.50). As you can see from the picture, it was a real mess when I removed the wrapper, and it didn’t look that appetizing. But surprisingly, it tasted pretty good and the meat was thinly sliced making it easy to chew. So what if the cheese wasn’t gruyere (I’m sure it was some kind of processed American cheese), it sure felt comforting.My favorite go-to meal at AT&T Park is the individual pizza. In Oakland, they get theirs straight from Round Table. Nuff said.Of course, there were tons of beer stands. This particular one had a Hawaiian theme. I thought it was funny that they were selling “liquid Aloha.” Hmmm, growing up in Hawaii I think they called that a mai tai.Fried food everywhere! Here’s a picture of the fish and chips for sale. Any guesses on whether I tried it? I think not.The one thing I have to say about the Coliseum’s food offerings is that the prices don’t border on price-gouging as it can often happen at AT&T Park. Most of the food items in Oakland range between $6 and $7 (other than the Westside Club where prices are slightly higher because you have seating). But one place where the prices were a bit high (nearing $11) was this barbeque joint on the third base end of the ballpark. You can get a variety of barbeque items like rib dinners and pork sandwiches. There was a line despite the prices.Despite all my ramblings about fried food, it’s nice to know that at most ballparks, including AT&T in San Francisco and the Coliseum, items are fried without trans fat—that ugly man-made fat that has been linked to various diseases. Still, some kind of fat is being used. Which is why I’m off looking for a burrito.


mcp said...

Why would you eat a Philadelphia cheese steak in Oakland? Cheese steaks do NOT travel well. For one thing, people expect gruyere or something, and God intended a cheese steak to have CheeseWhiz. OK, if you're feeling gourmet, American or maybe Cooper Sharp. And then there's the whole issue of Amaroso's rolls.

Single Guy Ben said...

Actually, one of the best cheesesteaks I had was in Hawaii! :) I rarely get a chance to go back to Philly, even though one of my best friends live there. So I have to get my cheesesteak wherever I can, even though I don't eat it that often. Anywho, I don't remember what the cheese was but it looked close to CheeseWhiz. ;-)