Less than a week away from First Kick 2011 and the office is a beehive of activity as we put the final touches on launching the season. The entire Front Office is excited to kick off the season on a positive note both on and off the pitch. There are so many changes with Buck Shaw 2.0 that it kind of feels like getting ready for a housewarming party. One thing that I would like to stress to fans is to get there early. All gates open at 5:30 p.m. – two hours before kickoff – and the new, fan-friendly Epicenter will be rocking from the get go.
We have a full pre-game show planned with Quakes Ambassador and former player Kelly Gray and announcer John Shrader leading a discussion of the team's offseason moves and what it will take to win another MLS Cup. The pre-game show starts at 6 p.m. and runs 45 minutes with a lengthy Q&A session. Fans can submit questions for the show directly to me at: President@sjearthquakes.com.
The perfect combo with the pre-game show is getting there at 5:30 to sample one of our new food options. First of all, Bon Appétit is our new concessionaire and has a wide variety of tasty as well as healthy food options beyond the traditional stadium fare. This year our players could actually eat our concession food and avoid the wrath of our strength and conditioning coach. For instance, we will have fresh fruit at multiple locations with everything from apples with peanut butter to fresh fruit with chile a limon. I have to say that the Ampai's Thai Chicken Sandwich – named after our new midfielder and available behind the north stands – is pretty awesome. The Carvery Station in the Epicenter features the Seismic Sandwich (a flavorful carved meat sandwich with your choice of turkey or roast beef), Wondo's BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, and for those of you with big appetites, the Convey's Carved Meat Bowl with your choice of turkey or roast beef draped over mashed potatoes and gravy. Yummy! Bon Appétit's entire menu, locations, and prices are listed here.
If that isn't enough variety, we have brought in three distinctive and fun gourmet food trucks. I am not sure all our fans have experienced the gourmet food truck phenomenon – most notably captured in the Off the Grid extravaganza in San Francisco (http://offthegridsf.com) - but you will this season at Buck Shaw 2.0. This coming week includes the El Tonayense Taco Truck, which is one of the highest-rated gourmet food truck's on Yelp.com and features carne asada and pollo tacos, tortas, and super burritos. We also have fantastic vegetarian options like tikka paav at the Indian fusion Tikka Bytes gourmet food truck as well as a spicy chicken tikka masala naanwich. Finally, if you are a fan of teriyaki chicken, you make sure to visit BBQ Kalbi for a Korean-style taco or burrito.
Finally, for those with a sweet tooth, we have Kara's Cupcakes KaraVan at the Epicenter. Yes, that is correct. We have a van full of cupcakes. Additionally, for the third and fourth home games, fans can welcome the approaching summer months with ice cream courtesy of the trendy TreatBot Truck. These guys are flat out entertaining and the ice cream is fantastic.
Click here for our gourmet food menu
Click here for our concessions menu
The Epicenter has plenty of other great games and activities that are new this year. Kids will enjoy the face painting, inflatable, and sign-making stations presented by Amway. Foosball is here and, if you get there early, you may be able to challenge Quakes General Manager John Doyle who, the current office champion. In general, we encourage folks to get there early and celebrate First Kick 2011.
While there is much to celebrate as we kick off the season, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami tragedy. We recognize that there are thousands of families in the Bay Area who were affected by this tragedy. Since we all live in a similar seismic area, there is a special connection here in the Bay Area with a tragedy of that nature. Our organization felt compelled to do its small part in helping the cause by donating $1 for everyone attending the opening game to the Red Cross to support the disaster relief effort in Japan and other affected areas as well as making an additional $50 donation for every save this season. With Jon Busch in goal, that will likely be a big check!
Finally, for any of those casual fans who may not be season ticket holders, we have single-game tickets available for opening day on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. as well as a Demolition Four Pack that includes a cool foam sledgehammer from Demolition Day and four tickets to the opening game. If you have not gotten a ticket please go on-line to www.sjearthquakes.com or call 408-556-7700.
San Jose Earthquakes