Monday, March 8, 2010

Eating my way through Spring Training, V

Just because we finished with Spring Training games it didn't mean we were finished eating. On our way out to Camelback Mountain on Friday we drove past a Sprinkles cupcake shop. I shrieked with excitement. We didn't have time to get cupcakes that day (plus it would have voided the calories we burned hiking), so I made sure to make it back on our way out of town Sunday.

I'm not saying that getting cupcakes was the highlight of the trip, but it darn well was up there. It would have been more of a highlight if I would have gone on Saturday when they had the strawberry cupcakes, but instead I settled for a black & white cupcake and a lemon cupcake. Yummy.

After our stop at Sprinkles, we headed south to the Arizona State University campus. On the edge of campus sits deli/bar Bison Witches, a must eat in Arizona I was told before leaving on the trip. The selection offered up at Bison Witches was part pub food and part deli. I opted for the $7.75 deal of a half sandwich, half soup. I got a roast beef and brie sandwich on wheat with clam chowder.

Roast beef and brie with clam chowder. Yum, yum.

My dad got the Sundevil on rye. Both sandwiches were served on thick, homemade-like bread. The soup was served in a bread bowl. I was able to down my whole meal, my dad ended up taking half of his sandwich home. It was a little heartbreaking that we had to get on the road after eating here because the beer selection was excellent.

Eating my way through Spring Training, IV

Our last game at Spring Training. Giants vs. Diamondbacks.

Saturday marked the last game for our Spring Training trip. Unlike my father, who had a hot dog every game, I had managed to not repeat on food and today would be no exception. After making a circle around the stadium and eying the wares I decided upon a cheeseburger from the BBQ stand.

This burger was sub-par for sure.

As a self-proclaimed burger connoisseur this was NOT a good burger.  First of all it wasn't very warm, like it had been bbq'd earlier then set aside. Second, I hate when you just slap a slice of cheese onto a burger without it being melted. The only positive to my lunch was that I found a beer kart behind home plate that sold Shock Top beer -- a much better alternative to Bud or Coors Light. The burger set me back $7.75 and the beer was $7.25.

Dinner was a much better experience. We headed into downtown Phoenix near where both the Suns and Diamondbacks have stadiums. The dinner destination was Alice Cooperstown.

All of the menu items were cleverly named for various athletes and musicians. I got the Sundevil Clubhouse with chicken, sweet garlic mayo, bacon, lettuce and tomato. It came with two sides and I got fries and mandarin slices. The sandwich was great and the fries were perfectly crispy.
The Sundevil Clubhouse with fries.

My dad got "The Great One" bbq sampler with ribs, smoked turkey, pulled pork, hot link and brisket. Everything was great and the proportions weren't overwhelming. The best part were the prices. My sandwich only set me back $9.99 and my dad's plate was only $13.99. If in town I'd check this place out again.
"The Great One" bbq sampler

Friday, March 5, 2010

Eating my way through Spring Training, III

Today was a little better as far as food goes. Heck it was a pretty darn good day in general.

The day started with Kashi bars and bananas on our way to Camelback Mountain. We decided that since we ate so poorly the day before we needed some exercise, so we went for a hike. I found out about Camelback on Many people had written they had enjoyed the hike and that it had some great views once you reached the top. The description on the Phoenix parks site said that it was a trail recommended for experienced hikers only -- that is correct. I hike to the highest point in San Diego probably one to three times a month. It's a good hike that gets the heart pumping, but nothing compared to this hike. There were parts of the hike where you had to hold on to railings bolted into the ground going up and down because it was so steep.

Are we hiking halfdome?!

But in the end, the panoramic views of both Scottsdale and Phoenix were incredible. In all we hiked for just over two hours. I estimated that we probably burned off a hot dog or two.

At the game I wasn't in the mood for another hot dog. Instead, I headed to the third base side of the stadium to get some noodles I had seen the previous day. For $6 you could get a Chinese food-sized takeout box filled with noodles and various vegis. For $8 you could get ginger chicken on top. I love ginger so opted for the chicken. Not worth the extra $2. Sure, they gave you lots of chicken, but it was way too salty for my taste.

Left-field award winning noodles. Eh. At least it wasn't a hot dog.

After the game (which in case you were wondering was the Giants vs. Rockies - Giants won 7-4) we took a pedi-cab to Scottsdale Road and went to happy hour at Salty Senoriata. We drove past this restaurant around noon when returning from our hike and the patio was packed. It wasn't much different when we arrived. We opted to get our drinks from the inside bar. Happy Hour margs were $4. There were various other happy hour specials from 3-7pm, but we stuck with the basics.

Pedi-cab ride from the stadium to Salty Senoritas.

For dinner we ventured back to downtown Scottsdale on a recommendation from a friend of mine. The night's cuisine was Italian food at Pasta Brioni. The restaurant was in a strip mall off Miller Road, just east of Scottsdale Road. It was a decent size, nicely set up with a good dinner atmosphere for family or date night. I got the spaghetti and meatball which I give two thumbs up. The meatballs were perfectly seasoned, no overkill on parsley or any other crazy seasoning. The pasta sauce was light and also not overly seasoned. My dad had the veal piccata. The sauce was very light and the meat was so tender that it melted in your mouth. Both meals were satisfying and delicious. I would check it out again if I were back in town. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Eating my way through Spring Training, II

It's a good thing I made no disclaimers on the type of food I would be eating while here in Arizona. Today was a golden junk food day for sure.

Barry Zito warming up before the home opener for the Giants.

It was day two of Spring Training today and we went to Scottsdale Stadium to see the Giants take on the Brewers.

There was some drama in today's game as the Giants' starting pitcher Barry Zito hit Brewer Prince Fielder on the first pitch. Fielder earned a target on his back after the two teams met back in September and Fielder pulled an elaborate stunt after hitting a game winning homerun with two outs in the 9th inning. The un-sportsman like production included many Brewer teammates falling over like bowling pins when Fielder leaped in the air and struck home plate. Was Zito justified in the retaliation? I think so.

Enough about baseball, what about the food?! Well, it was a doosey of a day, I'll tell you that much to start.

As I reported in my day one blog, Scottsdale Stadium took 7th place out of 11 teams on the ranking of stadium food. The selection that the Peoria Sports Complex had by far out shadowed the Giants' home base. There was the famous Gordon Biersch garlic fries, but I'm not a huge fan of them. They smell good, but don't get make the cut in my book.

Lunch was enjoyed on the outfield grass area.

For my stadium lunch selection I opted for a Giant dog at the bbq stand between third base and right field. This was my first dog of the trip, and probably not my last. I happily got my favorite dog toppings: catchup and jalapenos. Yum. The dog was standard, but took on some extra flavor because it was bbq'd. As far as stadium dogs go, it was pretty good.

We took a break from baseball action to catch a hockey game.

As if eating stadium food once during the day wasn't enough, we decided to head over to Arena to watch the Phoenix Coyotes take on the Colorado Avalanche in some hockey action. A friend of mine recommended this outing and also told us that for $30 you got seats behind the goal AND all you can eat at the concession stand. Sweet! On the menu (and I am going to sound very glutonous for this one): two rounds of nachos, a pile of goober peanuts, a hot dog (no jalapenos this time) and three diet pepsi's. I think I for sure got my moneys worth.

All you can eat?! Now that's something I can really get behind.

Next up on the menu? I guess we'll have to see tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eating my way through Spring Training

Day One
At 6a.m. the sun rose above the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest and I was behind the wheel of my car headed east to Phoenix. Thus begins the trip to Spring Training 2010. The lineup: Day one, Giants at Mariners; Day two, Giants vs. Brewers; Day three, Giants vs. Rockies; Day four, Giants vs. Diamondbacks.

I went on a solo trip to Spring Training two years ago for a quick weekend where I saw two Padres games. For this year's trip my dad joined me. He has never been to Spring Training and is a huge Giants fan, so watching him get ready for this trip has been like watching a kid in a candy store.

A bit of planning went into the trip including, of course, where to eat while in Arizona. I checked out Yelp, got some word-of-mouth recommendations and found a few ideas on

On the Spring Training Connection web site they ranked which stadiums had the best food. Peoria Sports Complex, where the Mariners play, was ranked number one. Giants' stadium in Scottsdale was ranked number seven out of eleven locations.

For Day One I decided to try Randy Jones' BBQ in Power Alley behind third base. I got their bbq pulled pork sandwich and it was not a disappointment. For $6 I got the sandwich, piled high with pulled pork, potato salad and corn on the cob. My beer on the other hand, a measly Bud Light, was $7.25. Guess you can't win all your battles.

We also went to a small beer garden near center field where there were some better beer choices. A big cup of Fat Tire and Blue Moon was only $7.25 each. A great value in my book --only in terms of ballpark prices, of course.

For dinner after the game we crossed the street into a shopping center that had a bunch of different restaurants. We checked out a word-of-mouth recommendation by going to Abuelos. The food was really great and reasonably priced. The best part was the happy hour drink specials. Most drinks were $3-4 each. I got a two enchilada plate with chicken in a green sauce and avocado in a cream sauce. My dad got a Matamoros plate with chili relleno that was excellent - nice and crispy with great flavor. I would go back here indeed.