Part of any great ballpark experience is eating. We, as Gaslamp Ballers, know this inherently. Another part of a great ballpark experience (at least at Petco) is letting those around you wonder where you got that amazing meal you're eating. Was it Toyota Terrace? Someplace outside the park?
Therefore, we asked Gina, the Cheese Wiz at Veinissimo Cheese what she would pair with a ballpark hot dog and beer, and from that was born this post. Before the game, drop into Venissimo, say hi for us, pick up a potential pairing and impress your date, the people around you and/or your taste buds with your foodie expertise.
Hi - I'm Gina, Cheese Wiz at Venissimo Cheese (871 G Street, near 9th), just blocks from the ballpark. We sell cheese - fromage, formaggio, food for the fabulous. We are insanely crazy about cheese & excited to share these "udderly" spectacular pairings with you...
HOT DOGS: Hook’s 10-year Cheddar from Wisconsin is sharp & spectacular, either on its own or alongside a ballpark frank. You’d think a cheddar that’s been sitting around for 10 years would be a bit dry, but not this one. It’s moist & meaty & turns a good hot dog into a great hot dog, dog.
Intrigued? Hungry? More after the jump!
BEER: Two words are all you need to remember for the best all-around beer cheese on the planet: Red Dragon. All the way from Wales, this beauty is essentially a double-crème cheddar, studded with whole mustard seeds. We’ve paired it with everything from Budweiser to Heineken & it never lets us down. Incidentally, it’s also in our top five with hot dogs & hamburgers. As the Welsh would say, "Da iawn!"
RANDY JONES BBQ SANDWICH: Gotta go with blue cheese on this one (no need to be frightened). For just a hint of light blue flavor, try California’s own Point Reyes Blue. For a punch in the mouth, try Roquefort, the most popular blue in France, also known as one of the three musketeers of blue cheese (along with Stilton & Gorgonzola). We’ve got about 20 blues to choose from, so give them all a try to see what you think.
POPCORN: Mama mia, you’ve got to grab a jar of Italian truffle salt. Stick your nose into the jar, take a deep breath & transport yourself to Italy. This stuff is truly magic dust - sprinkle a little (or a lot) on your popcorn & nothing else in the world will matter. Use it on eggs, burgers, fries, nuts, pasta, rice, pork, chicken (need I say more?) Literally & figuratively, it’s worth its weight in gold.
PEANUTS: Who thinks, like me, that salty peanuts pair perfectly with sweet caramel? Then may I recommend any number of our goudas, all of which have a slightly sweet, caramel/toffee finish. Favorites include Vlaskaas (silky smooth & rich), Ewephoria (made of sheep milk, slightly crunchy) & Noord Hollander (aged four years, almost like rock candy).
GARLIC FRIES: Be the envy of your section by wrapping thin slices of Prosciutto around the scrumptious garlic fries. Chef Mario Batali himself couldn’t create anything as easy & molto buono.
NACHOS (SPOILER ALERT): If you, dear reader, are a fan of ballpark nachos, you may or may not want to know that each serving contains roughly 1600 calories (yikes). Instead, come & grab some crackers & a chunk of Firehouse Cheddar, an organic cheese from Northern California that is spiked with jalapenos, red peppers, cilantro & parsley. Your taste buds & your physique won’t regret it!
PICNIC PACKS & CHEESE PLATES: For just $20 (perfect for 2), we can put together a picnic pack for you. Our "Picnic in the Park" is packed in a sleek ballpark-legal, reusable cooler & includes two cheeses, salumi, crackers & chocolate. Fill it again & again, all season long, for only $17. Or try a cheese plate, three ounces of cheese with a piece of baguette & fruit for only $5. Now that’s highfalutin ballpark food.
Hungry? Come visit Venissimo, padre, when you’re ready to cheer on the Padres!
Thanks to Gina (and Sam and Robert) at Venissimo! Be sure to visit their downtown location during the season and try a pairing! -Dex
871 G Street (between 8th & 9th on G)