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ShrimpFest 2020


Mariners' season of eating

Centerplate and Ethan Stowell hit a few more home runs

Spring training and the first games of the baseball season are so exciting - who knows where the season will take us? We do, because we sampled some of the new food items at T-Mobile Park. Our suggestion: pants with elastic waistbands.

Sandwiches seem to be the new magenta (you know, orange is the new black, T-Mobile [magenta] is the new Safeco). At the Hit It Here Café, Ethan Stowell is offering a Crowd Cow (you know exactly where that beef came from) organic beef burger with Calabrian chili aioli, Beecher's dulcet cheese, grilled onions, and Hempler's smoky bacon ($18). Ethan has invited several top chefs and James Beard winners and finalists to create a rotating menu of chef-inspired Crowd Cow burgers throughout the season. Look for Maria Hines, Tilth; John Sundstrom, Lark; Brady Williams, Canlis; and Mitch Mayers, Sawyer.

Ethan's Crowd Cow burger

Another new item is the KuKu Fries which didn't sound interesting to me but were quite delicious. Fries with furikake Japanese seasoning, gochujang chili sauce, horseradish crema, red tobiko, and green onion ($10). Both definitely worth a swing.

Li'l Woody's at The 'Pen has their Big Woody Burger on base ($11). It's Painted Hills grass-fed beef (Omega 3 that you need!), Hills bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, chopped onion, diced pickles, tomato, lettuce, ketchup and mayo. This tastes like an old-fashioned burger that just happens to be better for you than any burger you ever ate as a child. Another way to head back in time is to steal the '95 Slide: hand-cut fries with a side of Full Tilt Ice Cream shake for dipping ($11). I never heard of this as a child, but if I had, I'd be twice the woman I am today. Sweet, fat, salty.

The 'Pen also sports a Fried Chicken Breast sandwich with garlic aioli, house-made pimento cheese, tomato, pickle, and mixed greens ($13.50). Pair it with Fat's Mac & Cheese, elbow pasta with creole-spiced Tillamook cheddar and mozzarella cheese sauce ($6.50). Oddly, these were the two, to us, that impressed the least. The sandwich seemed a bit ho hum and the mac & cheese was somehow both spicy and bland. Keep in mind that we were trying all of these items at one time. Your palate can become a bit fuzzy after a while.

Edgar's Cantina & Edgar's Home Run Porch have the hometown favorite: Paseo's Caribbean Pork sandwich ($16). You know you love it. They also offer another summer favorite, corn on the cob. Only theirs is smothered with garlic aioli, parmesan cheese, Paseo spices, topped with cilantro ($7). Somehow, we missed trying the corn, but we can tell you it looked delicious.

On the stadium's main level, section 105, the Sultan of Sandwich offers a Grand Salami sandwich as a tribute to Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus. It's ½ pound of local salami (I was told it's from Salumi), smoked provolone, and grainy mustard on a marbled rye baguette ($13.50). This has a nice spiciness to it and, for those of you who aren't crazy about rye, you'll find this one is very mild and adds to the sandwich without overpowering it.

Grand Salami

The Natural, section 132, has, appropriately, Beyond Meats vegan sausage, spicy Italian and sweet Italian ($8.50). It's a gluten-free, vegan plant-based protein. Your choice of condiments. We tried the burger and dog versions, and felt the better flavor came from the dog (we didn't do condiments so we could really get flavor and texture, that might help the burger out).

If you've been anywhere near a Metropolitan Market, you've probably been drawn to the cookie area where they sell The Cookie, a Belgian chocolate (two kinds!) cookie extravaganza with toasted walnuts and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. It's $2.99 at the Market and $7 at the ballpark, but hey, you knew that. Find them in The Frozen Rope, main level, section 132). This is a major sugar blowout, you might consider sharing, although that may lead to fights in the seats.

Shug's Ice Cream at Pike Place Market offers an old-fashioned soda fountain experience. Now they can be found in The 'Pen, main level, section 152). Ice cream cone or cup ($7), with several flavors to choose from. New addiction: salted caramel followed closely by blueberry. My guess is that it's all addicting, these were just the two I tried. Ice cream is from Lopez Island Ice Cream. For an extra kick, have a Prosecco Float ($12.50), a single scoop blended with Prosecco. They were using guava which worked just fine.

Ice cream was great and, by the way, this photo of Colleen at Shug's was taken on Wednesday. She had a healthy baby boy on Friday. She's a trooper!

Beverage-wise, you'll find local craft value beers: Crikey IPA and Bale Breaker Topcutter IPA, both 12 ounces, both $6. Or try a Miller Coors Henry's Hard Sparkling Water, 12 ounces, $9. Chateau Ste. Michelle is still on deck with Columbia Winery Chardonnay and 14 Hands H3 Red Blend.

To celebrate the new partnership with T-Mobile, Anu Apte (Rob Roy, No Anchor, Navy Strength) was asked to create a signature cocktail. She calls it the Magenta Mojo ($12.50), and it has a low ABV at 8% to keep the fighting in the seats to a dull roar (especially since the fighting may increase with the attempted sharing of The Cookie). Lillet liqueur, Pamplemousse rose liquor, hibiscus, Peychaud's aromatic bitters, soda water, vodka. Spring and summer will probably stay vodka, cooler weather means bourbon.

This is the ninth year of collaboration between Centerplate, the Mariners hospitality partner, and Ethan Stowell. "It's a great partnership and friendship," says Ethan. "We try to make it better each year and it works because we're all on the same team, sharing the same mission and values, and heading in one direction."

To get back to our elastic waistband suggestion: this was a sampling of what's at the ball park. There is so much more, you will be forced to buy tickets to every game just to make your way through it all. Not a bad way to spend the season.

Connie Adams/April 2019

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