The Northwest League's short-lived foray into Vancouver Island, the mighty Victoria Mussels, may have marked the last time bivalves appeared in a west coast ballpark. That 32-year drought ends this year with the addition of steamed Penn Cove mussels to Safeco Field's concession menu.
Safeco already leads its division in seafood offerings, with salmon sandwiches; fried cod; clam chowder and sushi available at the stadium. San Francisco's AT&T Park also serves clam chowder, and is famed for its Dungeness crab sandwich. But hungry fans seeking raw or steamed bivalves were forced to address their cravings before or after the game until last season, when the Red Sox departed from the chowder-and-fry approach to shellfish, opening a raw bar with clams and oysters on the half shell.
Centerplate executive chef David Dekker, who oversees concessions at Safeco, believes the ballpark will be the first serving steamed mussels.
Another new item on this year's menu is brisket. The Painted Hills beef is treated with Dekker's signature rub and smoked for eight hours; If the sample served at this weekend's Fan Fest is representative, the technique produces a juicy, pleasantly fatty meat with a zesty crust.
Dekker plans to serve the brisket on a sweet potato bun from Mario Bakery.