Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Strangest Foods at MLB Stadia (Pt. 1)

By Kevin Beane

If there's anything I love as much as sports, it's food. I consider myself an adventurous eater and while I consider it a rite of passage to eat a hot dog at any sporting venue I attend, other than that, I look toward foods that aren't often available at stadia and ballparks. This is the first in a three-part series of the most unusual food items available at each Major League Stadium. I tried not to include the foods at on-site, sit-down restaurants, just walk-up concessions (although this is admittedly an exercise in guesswork):

Yankee Stadium — Although they pretty much stick to the classics, being the most classic franchise in baseball, there are some (ha!) concessions to non-tradition fare. I thought that fried pickles were pretty much a Southern thing, having not seen them until I moved to Texas from North of the Mason-Dixon line, but nope, they are at Yankee Stadium, where they are known as "frickles." There's also a cocktail stand and a salad bar.

Fenway Park — I have to note here that their concessions page is awesomely organized by food. I'm given pause by the fact that they have two types of hot dogs (Monster Dog and Fenway Frank), but I'm straying from my purpose, here. They have New England staples such as lobster roll and clam chowder (what a great food to have when a foul ball's coming your way), and, less New England-y, Cuban sandwiches and Turkey BLTs.

Rogers Centre — Also helpfully organized by food. First off, no poutine. WHAT THE HELL, ROGERS CENTRE? Secondly, the food that jumped out at me was "Mediterranean-topped fries." I can offer no more insight on this item, because the only Google result for "Mediterranean-topped fries" is the Rogers Centre concessions page. Speaking of the Mediterranean, lots of Greek food like gyros and souvlaki. What, you haven't heard of the Greek army of Blue Jays fans?

Tropicana Field — Not much of interest here. They have Cuban sandwiches too, but that's less surprising than in Boston (or, as it turns out, Minnesota). They also have "chipsticks," which are potato chips cooked on a wooden skewer that (I guess) you eat like a shish kebab.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards — Their website is worthless, so I had to go to secondary sources for this one, where I found a pretty interesting selection: rockfish tacos, bacon on a stick (everything's better on a stick, if you didn't know), and burgers that have a crab cake on them in addition to the beef.

Progressive Field — My hometown stadium seems a bit more focused on unusual toppings rather than unusual foods. They have barbecue popcorn (or, if that's too working-class for you, cracked pepper and rosemary popcorn), hot dogs with "scallion bacon ketchup," and broccoli pizza.

Kauffman Stadium — One concourse offers "five artisan sausages with all the fixings (be still, my beating heart!)" Sheboygan bratwurst (over the objections of the Milwaukee Brewers, I assume) and "Espinaca and chips," which I learn just means chips with spinach dip. Their website really makes you work to find the food.

Comerica Park — This is the most boring selection of offerings yet. The only interesting items were at the "Brushfire Grill" and included turkey legs and black bean burgers.

U.S. Cellular Field — Now this is more like it. They have "vienna beef burgers" (does that mean it's made of the same type of meat as vienna sausages? Most of you are grimacing at the thought, but I'm all over it), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Genius! That'll entice the kids. Why has no other ballpark thought of that?), and corned beef sandwiches.

Target Field — Looks like I saved the weirdest, and possibly the best, for last. Here, we have a $9 "mega meatball," several Food Network-branded items that all sound good (bacon sloppy joes, buffalo chicken mac-and-cheese, etc.), and walleye skewers, which is exactly what it sounds like.

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