Stadium Food Power Rankings: Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers
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This week marks the final week in the NFL regular season, and our coverage spans three final matchups: the Washington Redskins' FedEx Field versus the Dallas Cowboys' Cowboys Stadium, the Philadelphia Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field versus the New York Giants' MetLife Stadium, and the matchup featured here, the Oakland Raiders' O.co Coliseum versus the San Diego Chargers' Qualcomm Stadium. With our record at nine wins and nine losses, we are anxious to see how we’re looking as we head into the playoffs, and creep ever-closer to the Super Bowl finale in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
O.co Coliseum was filled for the first time in September 1966, when the Raiders played against the chiefs Kansas City Chiefs. In 1995, the Coliseum underwent an extensive renovation, adding 22,000 new seats, 90 luxury suites, two private clubs, and two state-of-the-art scoreboards. Based in Oakland, Calif., the team is 4-10 this season, and it's looking like a win this week might be a challenge, seeing as how their matchup with San Diego went back in September. But let’s see if Oakland's food has what it takes to beat out San Diego this week, and maybe carry through to a team win overall.
O.co Coliseum's Cholula Kalua Nacho. Photo courtesy of Aramark.
Unique items / Variety / Presentation
Fan favorites at O.co begin with the Cholula Kalua Nacho, made with Cholula hot sauce-seasoned pork, avocado sour cream, and pico de gallo. The Long Bomb Bratwurst comes in second, made of a 1-pound, 20-inch seasoned pork sausage with onion-bacon jam and brown mustard-mayonnaise sauce served on a grilled sourdough baguette, followed closely by the Tailgate Dog, a hot dog topped with chili, macaroni and cheese, jalapeños, and ketchup; and the new 1-pound, 24-inch Bavarian bratwurst, which is served on a grilled sourdough baguette and brushed with garlic butter.
Highlighting the theme we’re seeing here of lots of pork and sausage, a major partnership of the stadium includes Saags Sausages. (Our mouths are watering already…)
The Long Bomb Bratwurst at O.co Coliseum. Photo courtesy of Aramark.
O.co Coliseum's Tailgate Dog. Photo courtesy of Aramark.
Healthy / Organic / Allergy-Minded Options
Ranked as the number three most vegetarian-friendly NFL stadium in 2012 by PETA, O.co offers a slew of vegetarian favorites, including a black bean burger, Texas toast grilled cheese sandwich, burrito bowl, veggie burritos, veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, fresh fruit salad, and vegan desserts.
It seems it's not just pork and sausage on the menu after all.
Qualcomm Stadium, home of the Chargers, rivals their fellow-Californians in this matchup. The stadium opened in 1967, so the timeline is pretty similar to rival Oakland. Stadium renovations and additions took place in 1984 and 1997, bringing seating capacity up to 71,500, and adding 34 suites. Now with 52 concession stands, three restaurants, and 113 executive suites, the stadium's food offerings seem rearing to go. Let’s see how they fare against the Raiders.
The Dog House at Qualcomm Stadium. Photo courtesy of Centerplate.
Unique Items / Variety / Presentation
Fan favorites at the stadium include the items from the Dog House, a vendor featuring variety of gourmet topped hot dogs, where diners can choose a signature stadium recipe or create their own. Some popular dogs include the Carne Asada Dog, with 100 percent ground carne asada with fresh peppers, black beans, pico de gallo, sour cream, and fresh cilantro served on an Amoroso roll; and a selection of quarter-pound hot dogs including the Big Kid Dog, topped with macaroni and cheese; the Nacho Dog, a topped with nacho cheese, jalapeños, guacamole, sour cream, and olives; and the Tailgate Dog, topped with black beans and barbecue sauce. First Down Fries, another popular vendor, is an interactive fry bar, featuring 25 different seasonings, including, but not limited to, salt and pepper, Alamo Zest, and taco seasoning, a variety of hot sauces, and selections of sweet potato fries, coming with maple cinnamon spice or fresh honey.
Other popular stadium items include the Hamburger Huddle, hamburgers noted for their fresh, custom-ground and grilled patties, and the signature bratwurst, a 1/3-pound, 9-inch brat topped with grilled bell peppers and onions, and the option of sauerkraut.
Farm to Fan at Qualcomm Stadium. Photo courtesy of Centerplate.
Healthy / Organic Options
Healthy stadium options center on the Farm to Fan vendor, featuring a variety of vegetarian-friendly offerings as well as locally sourced fruits and vegetables. The 3 Grain Burger, made with brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, vegetables, and fiber, offers the texture of a meat burger, and comes with local field greens with basil pesto. Also offered are the Farmstand Nachos, with house-prepared tortilla chips, black beans, shredded Cheddar cheese, red jalapeños, pico de gallo, and cilantro; citrus hummus dip; and freshly tossed salads, with a variety of customizable fresh produce that's served in an herbed tortilla cone.
After much deliberation, we have come to a winner, and the Oakland Raiders take the food win of the week. Variety and inventiveness won us over, although San Diego definitely has the hot dog thing on lock. Let’s see if the Raiders can pull is off this Sunday. Tune in at 4:25 p.m.
Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on twitter @atylersullivan.
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