Rejoice, baseball gourmands! Because the Xtreme Depression is forcing baseball team owners to be creative to draw fans to come out to the ballparks in these tough times, they're finding that the easiest way to attract us is to bribe us with delicious new foodstuffs. The concession stands at new ballparks like Citi Field, renovated ballparks like Kauffman Stadium, and even stagnant old monsters like Rogers Centre are going to be bursting at the seams with more than just the typical hot dogs, peanuts, and Bud Lights. But worry not, traditionalists: some of the newer parks in the Midwest are just going to lower prices (and portion size) on the old hat items. It's a win-win, people!
So let's take a listicle-powered look at what's new across some of the 30 stadia in the majors:
- Petco Park's bacon-wrapped hot dogs and red velvet cupcakes: The good folks at Gaslamp Ball alerted us to the new Mexican-style items at the Padres park, including the Sonoran hot dog, a spicy wiener enveloped in bacon nestled in a bun stuffed with beans, tomatoes and onions, then doused with jalapeño sauce, mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise. NOM. Looks like the cupcake trend has finally hit the West Coast four years too late, but $5.50 for a red velvet cupcake the size of my head is a pretty good deal.
- Nationals Park's new beer selection: Via Dan Steinberg's Sports Bog, here is what the Nats will be offering on draught on the Red Porch this season: Peroni, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Bell's Kalamazoo Stout, Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, Southampton Triple Abby Style Ale, Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen, Williamsburg Tavern Brown Ale, Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager. That Dogfish IPA has an a.b.v of 9.0%, over twice that of a Bud Light. Translation: it's going to be easier to put up with the terrible Washington team when you're six IPAs deep.
- Citizens Bank Park's new cheesesteak purveyor: Rick's Steaks replaced Geno's Steaks at CBP in 2006 but now Rick's is forced to hit the bricks in favor of Campo's Deli. Tough news for Rick who also got the boot from Reading Terminal Market last year. I've never had Campo's before but as long as their product isn't too greasy, I will gladly stuff one of the Holy Feldmans down my maw at the Heist. (A spicy cheese steak made with hot sauce, jack cheese, grilled onions and ketchup).
- Kauffman Stadium's concretes and royal turtle sundaes: In Italy, they have gelato. In single women's freezers in Manhattan, they have Haagen-Dazs. In the middle of America, they have frozen custard. Noted Kansas City desserty business Sheridan's Frozen Custard is finally opening a proper full size store inside the newly-renovated Kauffman Stadium. A Royal Turtle Sundae is fresh vanilla frozen custard, hot fudge and caramel, topped with roasted pecans and cherries. Ain't that America? Owner Jim Sheridan promises there will be 25 ice cream eating competitions during Royals games this year. Don't bother signing up, though: Sidney Ponson just won all twenty-five of them.
- Citi Field's lobster rolls and clam-and-corn chowder: Well really, Citi Field is actually going to have everything your culinary heart desires, but I'd like to focus on Chef Dave Pasternack's Catch of the Day stand. Scoreboard Gourmet enjoyed the corn-and-clam chowder (one commenter wonders if he can get corn chowder without clams), but Esca's chef is also preparing a fried flounder sandwich, a lobster roll, and a grilled shrimp po'boy sandwich. Oh, and his own version of crab fries to compete with Chickie and Pete's version at CBP. The Phillies/Mets rivalry doesn't stop at baseball, folks.
- Dollar Menus at Great American Ball Park and Miller Park: I love this move. Not only can families save cash on food items, the portions will likely be smaller to promote healthier eating. In Cincy, fans can get a hot dog, a 12 ounce Coke, a bag of nuts, a scoop of ice cream, or a Redlegs French Chew taffy for a buck each. Dear Midwesterners, you just don't need to ingest a 55-gallon drum full of buttered popcorn and a Coke the size of a stockpot in one sitting. Also, what's up with that chili over spaghetti thing? Gross!
- AT&T Park's Green Garlic Fries: Green as in "sustainable," not green as in "specially-colored for St. Patrick's Day". The hippies out in San Fran have converted the popular Gilroy garlic fries stand to reduce the amount of energy it takes to fry up those delicious taters for the starving fans, and they painted the stand with a fresh coat biodegradable paint! How...wonderful. No telling whether or not they'll pass the energy savings on to the consumer, but they will continue to pass the bad breath and heartburn on to everyone who ingests these creatures.
Also, the Yankees will be selling retro beers like Ballantine, Schlitz, and Schaefer, Fenway Park rejiggered the recipe for the famous Fenway Frank, and the fatsos in Arlington can now gorge themselves in a new all-you-can-eat section. Sounds delish! Anyone got anything I missed? I'm headed up to New New Yankee Stadium tonight so hopefully, I'll have a full report for you this weekend.
(Special thanks to the Scoreboard Gourmet blog that satisfies two of the three biggest desires that Walkoff Walk readers possess)