Sounders Beat Union 2-0, But All I Care About Are the Snacks

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Yesterday was the big kick-off for Major League Soccer nationwide, and Seattle's own Sounders promptly schooled the Philadelphia Union two to nothing at the Qwest Field opener--which, from what I understand of soccer, counts as a near-epic blowout.

And while I might not care that much about what happened on the field, what did catch my eye was what folks were eating at the stadium. Because while yesterday might've been a big day for the Sounders, the MLS and the fans (all of whom made my commute yesterday afternoon such a delight), it was also a big day for Qwest Field's kitchens (operated by Levy Restaurants, who also run the concessions at about a zillion other venues, ranging from Dodger Stadium and Lambeau Field to the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, CA) and executive chef Jon Severson who rolled out his new menus yesterday for the starving crowds.

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Nacho, nacho man...
So what's new at Qwest Field? Glad you asked. As much as I'd love to sit and watch any kind of game (even soccer) while wearing a Springfield Isotopes Nacho Hat just like Homer's, Severson (who has been at Qwest Field since 2006, and did time at venues in Chicago and Denver before coming here) ain't exactly a hot-dogs-and-nachos kinda guy. I mean, if you want dogs and nachos, you can get 'em (particularly in the new All-Inclusive upper section where hot dogs, popcorn, nachos with cheese, pretzels with mustard and peanuts--all the old-timey classics--are available, their price included with the cost of a ticket), but Severson's strengths really lie...elsewhere.

He's got coconut curry chicken skewers on the board now, pasta Bolognese, kielbasa with cream cheese and caramelized onions at all the Seattle Dog stands. For the fancy-pantsy Field Level guests (who, I think, get to eat right on the field--which, even during a soccer game, doesn't sound like the best place to be having a picnic), he's cut a deal with Beecher's down in Pike Place Market to provide local cheese, and will also be offering crostinis served with dips and spreads, fruit, a fresh green salad, sandwiches and dessert. Also locally, Top Pot will now be providing coffee and donuts all over the place (which is awesome), and Severson has contracted with the Northwest food co-op Ladybug Produce in order to get his hands on the best of the area's local greenery--which, in my experience, is not generally a big concern for stadium concessionaires, but matters a great deal when they're cooking up Thai noodle salads, house-made veggie burgers, specialty pizzas and burgers based around the tastes of the opposing team's city (Philly cheesesteak while Union was in town, of course), German rostbratwurst with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and homemade red cabbage sauerkraut, Parisian chicken sandwiches with black olive tapenade and fresh apple cobbler topped with bourbon vanilla whipped cream. Severson has even got gluten-free beer and gluten-free gummy bears on the menu, ferchrissakes.

But before you get to thinking it's all finger sandwiches and cheese tastings over at Qwest Field now, Severson and his crew have also brought back the Victory Knot--a massive soft pretzel the size of a pizza box, made with two pounds of dough and served with three different dipping sauces: beer cheese, chipotle honey mustard and a vanilla cinnamon crème.

That alone might be enough to get me to sit through a soccer game--no nacho hat required.

 
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