Friday, August 9, 2013

Game Day at The Catch

The Catch
2100 E. Katella Ste. 104
Anaheim, CA 92806

I used to live, eat, and breathe baseball. Back when I was a kid, I collected baseball cards, scheduled my day around baseball on TV, (this was way back when there were only like six games on a week), and I used to be able to tell you every teams starting lineup. My love for the game kind of went away after the labor disputes and my introduction to faster paced sports, like hockey. I still like baseball, but it is hard to sit down and watch a whole 3 hour game on TV. Plus, now there are too many restaurants for me to write about.

Another reason for my lack of interest this year has been the poor play of our hometown Angels. They are awful. I could probably write forever about how they are so bad, but this is not a sports blog, and I would probably drive most of you away. I still do enjoy going to the games though. Most people love getting a hot dog at the game, along with some peanuts and maybe even a beer. I find the food at Anaheim Stadium to be pretty bad. They offer Jack in the Box, Chronic Tacos, and Panda Express. Not exactly mouth watering faire here. The hot dogs are not even as good as they used to be. The two games I have been to this year, the hot dog buns have either been stale or too soggy. The hot dog itself was not as flavorful as I remember from my youth.

So with the limited dining options at the stadium, a good alternative is to eat before the game, but where to go? There are a smattering of restaurants that surround Anaheim Stadium, but there is only one that borders the parking lot, which helps cut back on the walking involved getting to the game, especially after a few adult beverages. That restaurant is an OC original restaurant, The Catch. They moved from their original location on State College at least three years ago. This new version of The Catch has a much more modern feel to it, along with a lighter, vibrant vibe. We were recently invited to come see what they offer before Angel games, and see if it could match what is offered at the stadium. I am sure the guys at The Catch are not worried about being outdone by the cold pizza and hot dogs being served across the parking lot.

We were greeted out on the fantastic patio with our choice of cocktails. They were featuring cocktails made with Amethyst Gin on this particular afternoon. Amethyst Gin comes from the state of Washington, and they are now branching out by coming to California. This gin is distinctive because they add a hint of lavender to it. The first cocktail I had, I could not detect the lavender used here. It was the Royal Tea, which really resembled a Long Island tea, but was less sweet and more manageable. I really liked this version a lot. The other cocktail was a Lavender Martini. This had lavender hints in it, but it did not overpower the drink too much. A little too sweet for my taste, but Katie really enjoyed this cocktail a lot.

I refrained from having beer, because I knew that we would be having lots of food, and beer always fills me up way too fast. The beer list here is pretty awesome. Along with the award winning beers from Victor Novak, who creates beers at Taps, which is the sister restaurant to The Catch, they also have a great list of craft and large batch beers. At this event, I had the chance to meet Greg From OC Beer Blog, and he seemed real excited by a number of the beers here, especially the Chocolate Porter from Hanger 24. I was happy that I did not bow to the peer pressure of having a beer, because the food started making its way out of the kitchen at a fast and furious pace.

Starting things off nice and light, the good folks at The Catch brought out Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare ($13.99). Here they use sashimi grade tuna, which is diced up and joined in butter lettuce cups with sweet chili and soy sauces, green onion, avocado, and a very smooth wasabli creme fraiche. This had lots of layers going on here. The tuna was nice and rich, the chili and wasabli cream added a touch of heat to the dish, the soy sauce added a burst of salty flavor, and the avocado helped to cool things down, while adding a very smooth element. Very well done appetizer, and if you did not want to eat heavy before the game, this might be the plate for you.

Getting into more of my wheelhouse, was the Reuben Bites ($11.99). These bite sized Reuben sandwiches in fried form are stuffed with corned beef, which is braised in Taps Irish Red Ale, Gruyere cheese, sauerkraut, and then rolled in seeded rye bread crumbs. These are accompanied by a thousand island dressing and a creamy horseradish sauce. These were not as greasy as I imagined that they would be. They corned beef kind of got a little lost here, with the big flavors from the sauerkraut and the cheese dominating this appetizer.

Okay, I have to apologize for the next set of pictures. I was so excited to eat, that I did not get the full versions of the next two items, so just keep in mind that these are the sampling versions of these. Sorry about this rookie food blogging mistake. The Twisted Carne Asada Fries ($15.99) are unlike anything you can get across the parking lot at the stadium. They starts with a well fried french fry, then is topped with marinated tri-tip steak, pico de gallo, pepper jack cheese sauce, guacamole, sharp cheddar cheese, grilled scallions, jalapeno peppers, and just for good measure, a toasted chili de arbol. Tons of layers and flavors going on here. I would have liked a little more cheese on my sample, but looking at the full version, it had more than enough cheese on it. What is an outing to a baseball game without nachos? Right, pretty boring and lame. The Snack Bomb Nachos ($15.99) put those bland tortilla chips and a sorry excuse for cheese sauce to shame, that are served at Angel Stadium. At The Catch they use two kinds of chips, Frito's Scoops and Salsa Verde Doritos, then pile on the nacho cheese, beef chili, pulled carnitas, sour cream, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, sports peppers, and green onions. I really liked the inclusion of the Frito's Scoops here, because it made scooping up the toppings so much easier. The full size version of these nacho could easily feed four, and might be able to be used as an emergency pitching mound at the Big A.

We did not get a chance to try this, but it was too big of a burger not to post on here. The O.M.G. Burger ($59.99) is five pounds of ground chuck, ten slices of cheddar cheese, a head of lettuce, a bunch of tomatoes, shaved red onions, dill pickles chips, and mayonnaise, all on a fourteen inch bun. Just for good measure, this gigantic burger is served with four pounds of fries. Yeah, lets see Adam Richman tackle this one on Man Vs. Food. This burger can also have bacon, avocado, jalapenos, and even double meat added for an additional charge. Good for a group of about twelve hungry people, or maybe me and three of my friends.

The Catch is known for their seafood, but after eating these tacos, they might be making a name for themselves with their Mexican food. On their Game Time Menu they offer Tacos By the Rack (12.99 3pc., $24.99 6pc., $35.99 9pc.). They have two varieties to choose from, Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas and Blackened Mahi Mahi. Out of the two, I was pretty impressed with the carnitas version, which is a family recipe from Sous Chef, Sergio Lopez. Along with the carnitas, the tacos contain salsa quemada, queso panella, green chile, lime juice, cilantro and white onion. The pork was tender, while the contents provided a nice mix of flavors, along with moisture. The tortillas did a fine job of keeping everything together. The Mahi Mahi was a good taco also. Predictably, the fish was cooked right, this is a seafood restaurant after all. The chipotle sour cream was a nice topping to go along with the mahi mahi.

The last item that made it out of the kitchen for us was the Roasted Pork Cemita ($12.99). To be honest, before this event, I had no idea what a cemita was. I have since learned that it refers to the type of bread that is used. The bread originally comes from Puebla, Mexico, and like the sandwich above, it typically has sesame seeds covering it. The inside of this sandwich should not be overlooked though. The pork is joined under the bun by Oaxacan cheese, papalo (Bolivian coriander), sweet onion, avocado, lime juice, and  pork chicharrones. This was a very hearty sandwich, with a very unique taste. I got the flavor in waves. A splash of citrus, the crunch from the chicharrones, the sweetness from the onion, the creaminess of the avocado, and the gently spiced pork all hit at different times while I was eating this.

To finish up our night, we had an aptly named Rally Monkey Shot. I was in a food coma when they were describing what was in this shot, but I do know it had 99 Bananas liqueur, along with chocolate syrup, and something to make it creamy. This shot was little, but definitely packed a punch.

So, the Angels are a horrible team right now, and the food at the stadium is not much better. If you are going to watch a bad baseball team, at least you can eat well before it. The Catch is a great spot to enjoy your pregame festivities. The drinks are a lot cheaper than at the ballpark, and the food prices are right on line with the stadium, but bigger portion sizes and way better quality. It seems like a no-brainer that The Catch is the place to be before a game. The Game Day menu really impressed me, and I did not even mention the Sausage Hoagie, or the Highfalutin Dagwood Dog, which is a foot long corn dog on a pretzel bun, topped with chili, cheese, sports peppers, mustard, red onions, green onions, and jack cheese sauce. Just typing the description of this makes me want to sit through another Angels loss, of which there have been many.

We would like to thank everyone at The Catch for this wonderful opportunity to experience the Game Day menu here. All of the waitress's, bar staff, food runners, and management at The Catch were phenomenal on this afternoon. All of the customers on the patio really seemed to be having a great time as well. Lastly, we would like to thank the great Lee Healy for thinking of inviting us to this great event. Thanks so much Lee, everything was great.

If you would like to find out more about The Catch, and get more information about any of the items you saw on this blog, click here to go to their website:

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