My original intention was to write an article highlighting the differences between the food available at Seattle sporting events such as Mariners and Seahawks games versus the food available at Vancouver sporting events like Canucks or Lions games. It was going to be my first article for The Vancouver Observer, a local on line source for all things Vancouver. While doing a little research for the piece I realized that I wasn’t qualified to write such an article as I haven’t been to a Canucks Game in over 2 years! I checked on the website for Roger Arena and it seems that the selection has improved quite a bit since my last visit.
So much for my first VO article, that will have to wait until sometime this week or maybe next week as I might be headed up to Whistler for work. So what am I left with? I think there are some lessons to be learned from Seattle’s sports franchises and their food and beverage services. The one thing the 2 cities have in common is ridiculously over priced alcoholic beverages, with draft beer at Qwest Field in Seattle emptying your pocket at a rate of $8.50 a piece. The difference being that Americans have a wonderful thing called the Tailgate. I was lucky enough to be with someone who knew a Tailgater and we were graciously invited to join their party even though they didn’t know us and we weren’t from Seattle. They offered us beer and pulled pork sandwiches, gave us a place to park for free and when we all left to go inside the stadium they made sure they said goodbye and said it was nice to meet us.
To say I was surprised by this generosity isn’t right, but I certainly didn’t expect it. In my opinion this is less about what Canadians think about Americans and more to do with what Canadians think of themselves. Tailgating would never work in Vancouver because there would be fights and vandalism and the city would never allow an event on city property without controlling with security and or ticket sales. In Seattle the tailgater’s converge on a place called Tailgate alley arriving as early as 7am to get a good spot, it is about a block from Safeco Field and 2-3 blocks from Qwest Field. The crowd taunts fans of the opposing team but it all feels very good natured and never feels uneasy like it might escalate into something less desirable. Canada’s view of our neighbors to the south could use a modern awakening as I fear we see them through a filter given to us by television and our own preconceived notions that we are somehow more polite and dare I say, better than them. This is simply not true.
That’s enough of my rant for now except to say that I personally love America and Americans, except for Anderson Cooper. The food at Qwest field is pretty good, with lots to choose from. You can have anything from Popcorn, soft pretzels, hot dogs and hamburgers to pizza, Mexican food, Southern BBQ, fish and chips and the world famous garlic fries. I chose to try the BBQ, specifically the beef sandwich with spicy BBQ sauce and a soft pretzel on the side. The sandwich was good but as is the case with most things at a major sporting event it was over priced. Sliced beef on a bun with sauce on the side for $9, a little steep. The pretzel was a little too salty for me but dipping it in the sauce of the sandwich made it easier to eat.
I hope that when the renovations at BC Place are complete that the food lives up to the new look of the stadium. Qwest Field is an amazing facility with great sight lines, amazing views of the downtown Seattle skyline and it is filled with great fans who cheer for their team louder than any other fans I have ever met. Thank you Seattle for a great day and for restoring my faith in America and her people.