Cubanos at Ironside
Ironside is a solid lunchtime and post-work destination for the SOMA work crowd, but their foil-wrapped Cubanos to-go ($10, available on game days only) have to be one of the more decadent ballgame options. A heft pile of country ham and roast pork is dripping with melted cheese and a pickle-laced sauce. Pressed into a flaky roll, the sandwich is rich enough to feed two, but good enough that you may want it all to yourself.
The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
There is no bad time to eat grilled cheese. And before a ballgame may be the new best time, considering The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen's immediate proximity to the ballpark, its outside patio, its rotating selection of beers on tap, and its extended hours before all Giants games. Oh, and its awesome selection of creative, delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.
Baguettes To-Go from The Butler & The Chef
While textbook-perfect French food may not be your first instinct when thinking about ballgames, the baguette sandwiches (all $10) from The Butler & The Chef will change your mind. Fresh, flavorful toppings are served on foot-long, impeccably fresh baguettes, from Brie and butter to cured meats with Emmenthal. The Jardinier (pictured) combines smoked turkey with tomato, zucchini, and lemon aioli. The to-go menu isn't all sandwiches, too; you can get a Nicoise salad, a slice of quiche, or even a selection of cheeses. And hey, if that's your game day craving, we say go for it.
The to-go menu is available Tuesday-Sunday until closing, around 3 pm.
I grew up eating Amici's, and while I realize it may not em>quite live up to its "East Coast Pizzeria" name, I still love it for its charred crust and salty cheese topping. On game days, the King Street location sells cheese slices to-go outside the storefront (2 for $4).
HRD Coffee Shop
Things that generally seem like a good idea: a spicy kimchi pork burrito. A Mongolian cheesesteak (pictured, $7.25). Any food item that combines the greasy, flavorful highs of both American and Korean cuisines. Somehow, these things sound even better when combined with a cold beer and a baseball game. Thankfully, HRD Coffee Shop's thriving to-go business is blocks away from AT&T park, allowing this dream to become a reality.
HRD is open Monday through Friday until 3 pm, and on Saturdays until 2 pm.
Burgers at Marlowe
Potentially one of the best cheffy burgers in the city and definitely the best SOMA, Jennifer Puccio's juicy blend of Niman Ranch beef and lamb is a burger you'll want to sit and enjoy. Topped with bacon, horseradish aioli, and shredded lettuce and served on an Acme bun, Marlowe's easy access to the park and Caltrain are just added bonuses to planning on this burger before or after a ballgame.
Photo: David Kover
21st Amendment Brewery
The 21st Amendment does have a solid food menu, and is a great spot for pre-game burgers, sandwiches, and even meatloaf. But really, you want to come here for the beer. Considering they open an outdoor space solely for the purpose of housing thirsty Giants fans, clearly, beer is the name of the game here. From a crisp, hoppy Opening Day IPA to the just-sweet enough Watermelon Wheat (served with a slice of fruit), there's a tasty brew for every taste here.
Photo: David Kover
So, Deli Board is a little far away to term it ballpark food. Thankfully, with their new pop-up 1058 Hoagie, the Deli Board guys are making massive, 12-inch sandwiches for delivery. The #6 (pictured here) combines turkey, bacon cream cheese, red pepper and garlic sauce (a.k.a. Shhh Sauce) on a fresh sesame-studded roll. All sandwiches are $10 (and can easily feed two), and there's a 2-sandwich minimum for delivery. Perhaps you should drink a beer at 21st while you wait?
Burritos from Victor's
You can't have a food guide to Giants games without including a burrito. Victor's burritos may not be the most lauded in the city, but their meats are flavorful, their salsas are spicy, and the woman behind the counter calls everyone Mama and Papa, which never hurts anything. Burrito fillings include the standard beef and chicken, and pork ($6 for regular, $6.50 for super, including guacamole, sour cream, and cheese), but chicken mole, nopales, and an all-day breakfast burrito (with chorizo and eggs) are also available.
Victor's: 210 Townsend Street, San Francisco CA 94107 (map); 415-495-7018
Primo Patio Cafe
You can get the delicious Caribbean fare from Primo Patio to-go, but I find their pocket-sized outdoor patio to be one of the best places to sit and enjoy some food and Red Stripe on sunny days. Anything with jerk chicken, such as the tender chicken salad (pictured, $7.25), or the chicken sandwich or pita, is a great bet. The finger snaps ($7.75), morsels of crisp, freshly fried snapper, are also a perfect pre or post-game snack. Be sure to ask for extra dipping sauce; it tastes like a Caribbean spiced-Thousand Island dressing.
Red's Java House
People have their preferences when it comes to Red's Java House versus the Hi-Dive (in the background), but Red's has been my favorite Embarcadero dive for a while now. For one, their back patio juts out into the Bay, instead of simply running along the sidewalk. Also, their menu of quick-and-dirty burgers and hot dogs is awesomely no frills; "We don't serve lettuce or tomato," a sign under the menu declares. Can you really complain, when the most expensive item on the menu is a double cheeseburger, fries, and Anchor Steam combo for $12.75?
Red's Java House: Pier 30, San Francisco CA 94101 (map); 415-777-5626
Beers and Fries at Red's
And really, what more do you need on game day other than a bucket of PBR, some $2 french fries, and some Tapatio mixed in with your ketchup?