Doggone-good ballpark fare
Stadium hoping to hit a home run with the addition of healthier snack options
By Natalie Haughton, Daily News Food Editor
Article Last Updated: 04/10/2007 12:11:13 AM PDT
You don't expect to eat healthy when you go to the ballpark. Beer, peanuts, hot dogs and Cracker Jack are the classic fare. Not anymore at Dodger Stadium. This year, seven Healthy Plate items have been added to the menu — available on carts on the field and loge levels behind home plate.
Among the selections are a grilled vegetable wrap, spinach and strawberry salad, hummus with vegetable dippers, fruit salad, an oven-roasted turkey wrap, a turkey hot dog and even a veggie dog.
"Other Levy ballparks (where Levy Restaurants has the food contracts, such as Wrigley Field and Cominsky Park) don't do this," said Joseph Martin, executive chef, Dodger Stadium. "We're the first in the country."
"The Healthy Plate food is really all about options and choices and lifestyles, said Gilbert Verdugo, Southern California regional executive chef, Levy Restaurants. "We don't see it as a trend, we see this kind of food as a lifestyle — the way people live now.
"There are times when you want a healthy choice — clean, fresh, great textures and flavors — and something out of the ordinary," he added, noting that his favorite among the new items is the spinach-strawberry salad.
"I deal with a lot of celebrities who want the choice of a hot dog, and then again, when they come with their wives, want to eat healthy. With friends, they toss caution to the wind, have fun and eat the dogs and other foods," Verdugo continued. Among those latter options are steak and chicken sandwiches, nachos, andouille sausage on a bun, corn dogs, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, beer, and soda, along with items from California Pizza Kitchen, Carl's Jr. and Panda Express.
"The healthy-food idea was already in the works when I came on board (from Staples Center) last December," said Martin. It was conceived by David Meyers, the director of operations at Dodger Stadium, from feedback from guests and fans who desired healthy options.
But it was Martin who was charged with coming up with the specific ideas and recipes.
Before finalizing the selections, Martin and his colleagues had several taste tests. The items are being made fresh on game days in the Stadium Club (a membership-only restaurant at the ballpark offering upscale seasonal and local food creations) kitchen.
Although somewhat controversial over the years, the Dodger Dog (introduced April, 10, 1962, in the inaugural season) made by Farmer John is now grilled.
On opening day, Martin arrived at at the stadium at 4 a.m. to start grilling dogs.
"For Monday's opening game, we grilled 35,000 hot dogs," Martin said. (Normally just over 20,000 dogs are sold per game.)
If you're not looking for healthy choices, there's plenty more to tempt you during a game. If you watch the action from a Dodger Stadium suite, you'll have access to the awesome dessert cart laden with 24 sinfully rich, decadent items, ranging from taffy apples dipped in caramel with M&M's or chopped peanuts on the outside, chocolate chip, peanut butter, macadamia and white chocolate cookies, Snickers pie, six-layer carrot cake, triple-chocolate cheesecake, lemon bars, s'mores bars and much more.
Natalie Haughton, (818) 713-3692