The O's won the playoff, and fans will eat the payoff

October 08, 1997|By Rob Kasper

IT IS TIME not only to savor the Orioles' victory, but also to feast on the winnings. Baltimore-area eaters are getting ready to enjoy the shipments of fresh Pacific seafood and crisp Washington-state apples that are coming our way.

These goods are payment for food bets made between fans of the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners. The Orioles beat the Mariners Sunday in the initial round of baseball's American League playoffs. Instead of mounds of cold cash, the payoffs of these good-natured wagers are being made with shipments of delicious regional foods. This has produced much gloating and much licking of lips.

Early this week, for instance, Gary Michael, a vice president at Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, was waiting to get the fresh Pacific salmon that he won in a wager with business associates at Doctors Inc., a telemarketing service in Seattle.

The salmon is only part of his baseball winnings. Michael and his co-workers at Mercy are also getting a case of Washington-state apples and a pound of coffee from Starbucks, the coffee outfit that now seems to be in every mall in America but at one time was confined to Seattle. For their side of the wager, Michael and crew had offered, in the unlikely event of an Orioles defeat, to shell out a bushel of crabs, a case of Maryland terrapin soup, and bottles of Catoctin Vineyard's "Eye of the Oriole" wine.

Michael said the bet was the culmination of a summer of ribbing between colleagues in the two cities. "They kept saying their Junior (Ken Griffey Jr.) would beat our Junior (Cal Ripken Jr.)," Michael said. Eventually, he said, the Baltimore contingent told the Seattle group to put their food where their mouths were. Or something like that.

Meanwhile, down in the nation's capital, Maryland's Barbara Mikulski was asking her colleague in the U.S. Senate, Washington's Patty Murray, "Where are the apples?"

Mikulski was referring to the case of Washington state apples Murray had agreed to deliver if the Orioles won. For her part of the bet, Mikulski had anted up a half-dozen crab cakes from Mamie's Cafe in Hampden.

Monday, a spokesman for Senator Mikulski said that while the Marylanders had not, as yet, seen the Washington state booty, they had been told by Murray's staff that "the apples were in the mail."

A day after the Orioles beat the Mariners, I called Seattle and talked with people in the food business. I wanted their advice on what to do with the apples and salmon that are showing up here. I also wanted to remind them that "our Orioles beat your Mariners."

Sharon Lane, food editor of the Seattle Times, told me the best way to enjoy the Washington-state apples was to eat them whole, as a snack. The variety of Washington-state apples that is usually shipped, Delicious, is rarely used to make apple pies, she said.

As for the salmon, Lane recommended keeping the cooking treatment simple. "The less fussing you do with a good piece of salmon, the better it is," she said. Use a lemon-butter sauce, but don't drench the fish with it, she said.

Jon Rowley, a Seattle seafood consultant, was in a grim mood when I reached him in his Seattle office. He was making arrangements to ship 100 dozen Olympia oysters to the Old Ebbitt Grill in downtown Washington, D.C. The oysters, from Elliott's Oyster House in Seattle, were payment for a wager made between the two restaurants on the Oriole-Mariner series. If the Mariners had won, the Old Ebbitt would have sent the Seattle restaurant a load of Kegotank (Va.) "salts," oysters from Virginia's Eastern shore.

When the Olympia oysters arrive at the Old Ebbitt they will be served at no cost to all Orioles fans in attendance, a restaurant spokeswoman said. The exact date that the Olympia oysters will be given away has not been determined. But a smart bet seems to be that it will happen within the next two weeks.

Pub Date: 10/08/97

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