Monday, August 26, 2019

Weekend Gourmet Travels: Food Options at Seattle's T-Mobile Park #WGTravel #seattle #tmobilepark #houstonastros #ballparkfood

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know one thing for sure: The Weekend Gourmet team members are huge Houston Astros baseball fans! We traveled to Cooperstown, New York, to see Astros legend Jeff Bagwell inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017 -- such a fun memory! We also love planning trips around Astros road games. After taking a break while I focused on my stroke rehab last season, we made it to Seattle earlier this season to see the Astros play the Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Getting around the ballpark required a few physical accommodations on my part -- but the ballpark is definitely accessible for those with some physical limitations. Before the game, The Weekend Gourmet team was invited by the Mariners organization to taste some of the delicious food concessions available at T-Mobile Park. Traditional peanuts, hot dogs, etc. are still popular...but today's baseball fan also wants to enjoy creative, upscale dining options!

We arrived at T-Mobile Park a couple of hours before first pitch and were greeted at the ticket gate by Mariners' spokesperson Rebecca Hale. She told a bit about the ballpark's history as we made our way to The 'Pen -- a dedicated area behind the bullpen in the outfield. Fans gather before and during the baseball game to grab a bite to eat...or drink their favorite beverages! This fan-friendly area has tons of amazing food options. There's everything from artisan Southern-style chicken juicy burgers. There's even a very unique snack on the menu that's not for the faint of heart!

The Mariners' hospitality partner -- Centerplate -- partners with consulting chef Ethan Stowell to provide the fans at T-Mobile Park fresh, local flavors. Our first item to try at The 'Pen was artisan pizza from Chef Stowell's Ballard Pizza Company. From the very first bite, it was clear that this isn't generic concession stand pizza! Ballard's New York pizza features quality ingredients. The crust is soft without becoming soggy, and they don't skimp on the cheese or toppings. We tasted several flavors...but we're pizza purists -- the spicy pepperoni pizza was our personal favorite. Our T-Mobile Park menu sampling was off to a great start!
On the way to our next dining location, we made a pit stop to try one of T-Mobile Park's most popular -- and unique -- food items: toasted grasshoppers. Yep... grasshoppers...which are topped with a flavorful chile and lime seasoning! I couldn't be persuaded to try them myself, but my Social Media Director  stepped up to the plate to pinch hit for me!
Crystal said the grasshoppers were crunchy and nutty, with a bit of tang and spice from the seasoning sprinkled on top. I decided to take her word on that! From there, we moved on to fried chicken...which is much more my speed. New this season at T-Mobile Park is Fat's Chicken. They offer delicious Southern-style chicken sandwiches and crispy chicken strips.
We sampled the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Strips and the Five Spice Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich. The chicken strips were large and perfectly fried -- golden and crispy outside and juicy inside. The chicken sandwich was totally a flavor explosion! It featured a fried chicken thigh, garlic aioli, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and a killer house-made pimento cheese. This sandwich is messy, but oh-so-good. It's easily one of the best things we've eaten anywhere this year!

We had sodas, but we also needed a fun adult beverage to accompany all of the tasty food we were enjoying. We were brought G & G cocktails to sample. This simple concoction has only two ingredients: gin and grape Kool- Aid. It's deceptively potent! We had a great time toasting to our good fortunes...and hopefully an Astros win! After a few sips, it was clear I needed to switch back to diet soda for the remainder of our sampling. What can say? I'm a lightweight! The 'Pen is located in the outfield of T-Mobile Park...and it offers expansive views of the field. It's a fantastic area to hang out, eat, and enjoy a cocktail before or during a game!
Our final savory food sampling came from Li'l Woody's Burgers & Shakes. One of Seattle's best burgers is also available at T-Mobile Park! Li'l Woody's uses quality ingredients -- including locally sourced beef -- for its burgers. We tried The Big Woody and The Little Woody. The Big Woody features a 1/3-lb flame-broiled hamburger patty, bacon, Tillamook cheddar, onion, pickle, tomato, lettuce, ketchup and mayo. This classic cheeseburger is elevated by using quality ingredients. The burger was juicy and good!
The Little Woody is for smaller appetites. It's a 1/4-lb. burger that comes with Tillamook cheddar, onion, pickle, ketchup, and mayo. The most unique item we tried from Li'l Woody's is the '95 Slide -- named for Ken Griffey, Jr.'s iconic slide into home plate to win Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS against the Yankees. The '95 Slide -- aka Crack -- is salty French fries that are dipped into a creamy Full Tilt ice cream shake. The sweet-salty combination is downright addictive.
By then, it was getting close to game time...but we had one last stop to make at The Frozen Rope for a create-your-own ice cream sandwich! We opted for a combination brownie and chocolate chip cookie sandwich. Inside was creamy vanilla ice cream...and the outside was coated in mini peanut butter cups and M&M candies. It was so much fun to watch our creation being assembled from start to finish!

This over-the-top ice cream sandwich was plenty for The Weekend Gourmet's four-person team to split. The dual sandwich exteriors of brownie and cookie is a genius idea -- the best of both worlds! The chocolate chip cookies that The Frozen Rope uses are from Seattle's popular Metropolitan Market. They're made with two kinds of Belgian chocolate, toasted walnuts, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. The cookies can be purchased separately if you're not in the mood for an ice cream sandwich. 

With that, our tasty pre-game food tour was complete! We thanked Ms. Hale for introducing us to some of the best food options available this season at T-Mobile Park. Then, we headed to our seats -- also provided by the Seattle Mariners -- in time for first pitch. On the way, we noticed how easy T-Mobile Park makes it for fans to quickly and easily locate their favorite ballpark foods. We saw several maps throughout the ballpark for fans to reference the Level and Section for every food concession located inside the park -- such a nice touch! We had a fabulous view of the field from our seats, which overlooked the third-base side of the infield. It was a chilly Seattle afternoon...overcast an in the 40s!! We were bundled up, so it was a perfect afternoon for baseball. 
All in all? It was a perfect day at the ballpark: fantastic food, friendly Seattle Mariners Astros win was the cherry on top! If you find yourself visiting Seattle during baseball season, taking in a Mariners game...and enjoying some delicious food  in the an ideal way to spend an afternoon!

Disclosure: The Seattle Mariners organization hosted The Weekend Gourmet for a pre-game tasting of T-Mobile Park's food and beverage options. They also provided us with two pairs of tickets to the Mariners-Astros game. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

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