Salt River Fields’ twist on spring-training treats
February 27, 5:30 pm
By Jourdan Rodrigue
“Noodle Manager” Jeremy Meadows stirs up a wok of flavor at Island Noodles. (Photo by Mary Kate Lau)
The tantalizing odors that waft through the air at the Salt River Fields aren’t just emanating from baseball staples like hot dogs and beer.
Instead the spring training facility offers a wide variety of foods, from Philly Cheesesteaks and fresh barbecue to tacos and stir-fry.
Jeremy Meadows, Noodle Manager, runs the most popular concession stand at the fields, Island Noodles.
“The line sometimes goes past the stairs,” Meadows said. “It’s a mad fury of noodle-slingin’.”
As customers begin to crowd around his booth, Meadows fires up his 3-foot wok. He dumps a broccoli-carrot combination into it as a base layer, then begins deftly slicing up sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, ginger, asparagus, green beans and sugar snap peas. The veggies are all fresh – in fact, Island Noodles prides itself on being 60% organic.
“Fire in the hole!” yells Meadows as he turns up the heat and a 4-foot flame whooshes out of the wok. He grabs two long wood-and-metal utensils and begins to flick and chop the veggies.
“Okay, I’m gonna add our special noodles and sauce,” says Meadows, thoroughly enjoying himself in front of an audience. “The noodles are Yakisoba noodles, a traditional Japanese type that’s actually egg-free, and the sauce is soy-based with some ginger, brown sugar and wasabi.”
He slides about three pounds of noodles into the sizzling mix and pours sauce over it. His hands move lightning-fast as he talks and the utensils flash as vegetables and noodles fly around the pan.
The entire process takes around five minutes for a batch that feeds 12 people.
Diamondbacks fan Caitlin Novak believes the short wait is well worth it. Whenever she visits the ballpark her first stop is the Island Noodles stand.
“I even come early to avoid the crowd,” she said.
The noodles may be a fan favorite but traditional ballpark foods are also offered at Talking Stick.
Home Plate Hot Dog, named after its ideal location behind home plate, offers variations of an old-time favorite. Their hot dogs vary from the Arizona Dog, which comes with chorizo on top to foot-long corn dogs, to their most popular New York and Chicago dogs.
“I think those are the most popular because we see a lot of people from those places here for Spring Training,” said hot dog Hawker Andy Vlismas.
Like Island Noodles, Home Plate Hot Dog emphasizes freshness and don’t create their massive dishes until they’re ordered. It’s quite an achievement for a vendor that sees hundreds of people each day.
The variation of foods creates a mouthwatering environment at the Salt River Fields and one that mixes traditional treats with contemporary creations that keep fans emptying their pockets and filling their stomachs.
Traditional ballpark franks sizzle at Home Plate Hot Dog. (Photo by Mary Kate Lau)
Post Author: Jourdan Rodrigue .
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