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The Annual Heart Break That Is Chavez Ravine

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Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 12:44 PM

Again, I am compelled to remind you that my beloved handle, Slow Foodie was wrested from me and only the Silverlake Bodhisattva sprang to my defense. I am now me. Layne Murphy and it's spring and we’re back at Dodger Stadium, so hardcore that we attend pathetic freeway exhibition games although it gave us an opportunity to check out our new seats and the new fifteen buck (!) parking system. And man, it would be so easy to run some shuttle buses up from the Chinatown Gold Line station, but that’s another big ole Dodger chip on my weary shoulder, along with their chums at Union 76.

But every spring I return to the stadium with the hope that there is something edible to eat. Our new seats are near a South Street Philly Cheesesteak which we’d never tried and so I dropped 8 bucks for a miniscule sandwich and a fistful of potato chips. The dainty thing was nicely oniony and satisfying in that way that cold meatloaf is satisfying, if it is satisfying to you, of course. But may I be condemned to dine only from the salad bar at Burger Continental for the rest of this and infinite other lifetimes, if I do not religiously import food to Dodger Stadium for every single game. There is not one thing at the stadium that is anywhere near is delicious as any number of things which can be brought in. And don’t you forget it.

I may have a malt or an ice cream or one of those insipid frozen yogurts in the plastic batting helmet during the dog days of summer. I may even succumb to the $3.00 beverage they have the nerve they call coffee if the vicissitudes of being a professional carpool driving menopausal she-devil have born heavily on me. But, with perhaps the exception of a Dodger Dog (for luck, occasionally) and a Camacho’s taco, which I have never tried but feel obliged to eventually, as it is actually a local merchant and more importantly, local to our seats, I will not even fall victim to the garlic fries nor the rancid peanuts, however artfully they are tossed at me. Report on Camacho’s coming soon. Otherwise, brown baggin’.

The absolute best Dodger carry-in is banh mi. I am fussy and only really love the sandwiches at Baguette Express in San Gabriel and haven’t done a decent recent exploration of Chinatown, so this perfect of portable foods, hasn’t been on the menu as often as I’d like. Langer’s is a great option but their unusual hours require a bit of clever strategy. Phillipe’s also is a good carryout choice, heavy on the house mustard. Another favorite is a selection of sushi and stuff from either of the two great supermarkets in Little Tokyo. Remember, no canned drinks, only plastic bottles are allowed inside.

Bag o’ tacos from truck is always a good option too, although in the interest of personal hygiene, I would patronize a truck that’s rather dainty of hand and grease and make sure to have a ton of wipey things in my purse. However, even my new huge feedbag could not contain enough wipies were we to bring in barbecue, so that is verboten, likewise are hamburgers because they just get icky when they’re cold. Even Rover won’t eat a cold burger. In all but the most beer soaked of sections, Zankou is just too smelly.

Alas, stadiums all over the country purvey local food specialties. Piroshki and stuff. We have Dodger dogs, which, I’m sorry, is a sub sui generis hotdog. There. I said it. Dodger dogs suck. Grilled. Steamed. Beef. Even if you can find a little packet of sauerkraut they suck suck suck. Even though Skully gushes so much love into the radio spots. Bleech Dodger dogs I say Bleech!

Give me deli and Viet Namese sandwiches and tamales and real food from the best food city in the world as befits our beloved Dodgers. Do they really deserve Carl’s Jr.? And think about the Goldline shuttle, too, ok?

More writing about food by the same writer is at that writer’s food blog:

http://manifeasto.blogspot.com/

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  1. Dommy RE: Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 01:13 PM

    We once brought in Zankou Chicken... Messy but GOOD... Another Dodger/Hollywood Bowl favorite of mine is Bay Cities Deli, but I'm coming from the West Side. Tacos also kinda get icky when they are cold, but Burritos travel very well!

    I laughed at your post... Heart break doesn't even come close to describing it (Mostly a heart TEARING with bare hands...:P) but that is why I always make sure to have my 14 inch bag full of absolutely great grub...

    --Dommy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dommy
      nancyhudson RE: Dommy Mar 30, 2007 01:32 PM

      I loved your post, and I'm an A's fan!! Are you really allowed to bring your own food to Dodger Stadium??!!

      1. re: nancyhudson
        Dommy RE: nancyhudson Mar 30, 2007 01:56 PM

        Yup!!

        http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/ballpark/ballpark_guide.jsp#24

        HOWEVER, all bags brought into the statium must be no bigger than 14x14. This is a tad smaller than your usual run of the mill Jansport (I have a Kenneth Cole Backpack that is EXACTLY that size)... This is TIGHTLY inforced (They actually have a little square where they will measure your bag.)

        http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/...

        Best!

        --Dommy!

    2. m
      malibumike RE: Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 02:18 PM

      You want some really good food for Dodgers stadium it just over the hill from the stadium , great sandwiches - The Eastside Italian market and deli 1013 Alpine street.

      http://www.esmdeli.com/

      2 Replies
      1. re: malibumike
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        phant0omx RE: malibumike Mar 30, 2007 03:43 PM

        i think they close early at about 3/4pm? and they're not open on weekends.

        1. re: phant0omx
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          malibumike RE: phant0omx Mar 31, 2007 07:41 AM

          Yes, they are open on saturday but only till 2 pm, closed on sunday.

      2. a_and_w RE: Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 02:23 PM

        Damn, I was really hoping Chavez Ravine would be different after the gustatory purgatory of Yankee Stadium and Shea. In my experience, Italian combo sandwiches work the best...

        PS: What's wrong with garlic fries? They taste great at PacBell/AT&T/?? park in SF...

        1. n
          nosh RE: Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 02:23 PM

          I will solve your problem deliciously and conveniently. Stop at Carnitas Michaocan, on North Broadway and 19th, just to the east of the stadium. Get a burrito or three -- I recommend the al pastor, carved from revolving spit, though others prefer the carne asada or the carnitas. I get mine without beans. Their salsa roja is the VERY best -- a dark brick-red smoky spicy complex amazing taste sensation. Bandini's (The Great Taco Hunt) top choice for 2006.

          You will be so indebted to me that I'm sure you will pass on tickets for a Cardinals game later in the season. Enjoy. And note that they also do fine nachos special with meat on top of the cheese, a quesadilla with cheese and meat inside if requested, and even a good burger and fries.

          4 Replies
          1. re: nosh
            a_and_w RE: nosh Mar 30, 2007 02:24 PM

            "I recommend the al pastor, carved from revolving spit"

            You just said the magic words!

            1. re: a_and_w
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              nosh RE: a_and_w Mar 30, 2007 02:28 PM

              If you haven't been to Carnitas Michaocan, that particular location, you will be amazed. They only carve off of the revolving spit rotisseried roast occasionally -- I ask and tell them I'll wait until there is some ready for carving. Even so, it is that salsa roja or negra...amazing.

              1. re: nosh
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                phant0omx RE: nosh Mar 30, 2007 03:42 PM

                I've been passing by that place since I was a child and now i'm 26. I guess it's about time to try that place. And, 'carved from revolving spit' makes it oh so much more tasty.

            2. re: nosh
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              Jack Flash RE: nosh Apr 2, 2007 03:11 PM

              I've gotta try that al pastor. Have you ever been to the place across the street, El Tarasco? I'm addicted to El Tarasco's machaca burrito, which I often grab for breakfast. Instead of the usual shredded beef, they actually make it with the meat they use for their carne asada. It's a darned fine burrito. I don't think they have a spit for their el pastor, though.

            3. p
              phant0omx RE: Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 03:41 PM

              you are so right about the food. especially about the dodger dogs. my friends absolutely love them. when compared to a dog at wrigley field which i thought was better they still said dodger dogs are better.

              i do eat them though, maybe i'm not as picky? or i just know what to expect?

              I think the burritos suck there. i once got a carne asada burrito and thought hey this is pretty big. That is until i bit into it to find only a few pieces of carne and a whole mess of refried beans.

              They could really do with better food there. Have you tried the grilled food? It's only on the home side Lodge section. You can get a 1lb anduoille(sp?) sausage, 1/2lb burger, chicken sandwich or something like that. Costs like $10 though. When you order they give you a bun, then you go over to the grill and hand over your receipt to receive your food.

              2 Replies
              1. re: phant0omx
                WildSwede RE: phant0omx Mar 30, 2007 03:54 PM

                I think the beauty of Dodger Dogs is the memories they bring back. At least, that is what it is for me.

                1. re: WildSwede
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                  phant0omx RE: WildSwede Mar 30, 2007 04:02 PM

                  yea, i think thats part of it. it's something i can't understand since i never went to any games when i was a kid.

              2. k
                kek is khmer RE: Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 04:21 PM

                Anyone recommend a banh mi place in chinatown? I would opt for roast duck and rice for my dodger meal. Great post though. I gotta check out a dodger game this season.

                1. s
                  sel RE: Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 05:14 PM

                  I'm not a baseball fan, only been to the abomination (used to be a lovely community)that is Dodger Stadium twice. The first time was with my dad in 1962 and the second and last time was with my GF and twin 13 yo lads last year. She thought that they should experience.......ah that's off topic. Anyway, the lads refuse to eat meat so GF and I had 4 dodger dogs (lower case deliberately) and after 1 then 2 bites I dumped them. Costco dogs are fine dining by comparison!

                  1. i
                    icouldeat RE: Layne Murphy Mar 30, 2007 05:53 PM

                    I work in Chinatown, and if you don't mind a hike, it is possible to walk up the hill after a beer at Hop Louie or grabbing some Banh Mi sandwiches at Via on Gin Ling Way for the game. Cut up to the cul-de-sac at the end of Yale St., there's a scary-looking but harmless spiral ramp up to a bridge over the 110. Turn right up Stadium Way and look for the east entrance to the stadium. There used to be a shuttle from C-town, but the Dodgers stopped funding its operation. The Chinatown BID actually owns the shuttle, and its sitting in some parking lot, lonely and useless since the Dodgers didn't see a cost benefit to it. But thats way off topic. Dude, the garlic fries rock, and even the ones at regular Gordon Bierch restaurants pale in comparison to their stadium counterparts.

                    1. PaulF RE: Layne Murphy Apr 2, 2007 03:37 PM

                      Nice write up ... I don't agree with everything you wrote, but I really liked reading it.

                      I covered the Dodgers for seven years and ate in the press box or brought my food. I only go now because my kids like to go. I prefer Anaheim Stadium.

                      I drink a few beers (we go by bus or my wife drives) and somehow that makes the Dodgers dog okay. I soak it in mustard and relish and -- I dunno -- it's not so bad to me.

                      BTW - I guess you won't be partaking in the all you can eat bleacher section this year.

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