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6/12/2007 12:32:00 PM
Top five stadium foods
Make sure you try the fish tacos at Petco Park.
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
While in San Antonio last weekend for Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals, I had to do something to kill the boring downtime between the boring games. And in a booming metropolis like San Antonio, this meant only one thing: minor league baseball. On Saturday night I went with a few friends out to the appropriately quaint Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, plunked down $9 and bought the best seat available, fourth row behind the plate. Much like the NBA Finals, I didn't witness much of an offensive game -- the final score was 5-0 and the San Antonio Missions were two-hit by the mighty Corpus Christi Hooks.
What could have been a boring evening was rescued by a trip to the concession stand, where I was introduced to a regional fare that immediately vaulted into my personal list of top five stadium foods I've sampled. Here's my top five below. You'll get your chance to chime in momentarily…
1) Fish Tacos at Petco Park in San Diego: The fish tacos are catered by a regional restaurant chain called Rubio's, and they are simple and spectacular: a tortilla, a fillet of beer-battered fish, cabbage, salsa and a mysterious white sauce. The gorgeous setting and temperate climate enhance the crunchy-chewy combination.
2) Roasted Peanuts at Turner Field in Atlanta: They're nothing special, the same mass-produced, pre-packed peanuts available at stadiums around the U.S. But I love the ritual involved in cracking the shells, tossing the heavily salted peanuts in your mouth, throwing the debris on the ground. A special mention here goes to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, where they sell only unsalted peanuts, which have all the flavor of Styrofoam. You'd think The Boss could shell out a little extra to keep the fans fat and happy.
3) Frito Pie at Wolff Stadium in San Antonio: I'd never heard of a Frito Pie before visiting San Antonio, but now I'm having trouble forgetting it. Imagine a bowl of Fritos drenched with chili and cheese, creating so much mass that the only way to eat it is by using a fork. Not exactly your standard stadium fare, but it should be.
4) Meat Pie at Old Trafford in Manchester, England: It was a cold, blustery night a few years ago when I settled into the lower stands to watch Man United play, but I was really more interested in getting something to tide me over until dinner. The concession stands had chips, chocolate bars and ... meat pies? Having never heard of such a thing, I immediately ordered one. It was basically a cross between an empanada and a potpie, filled with an undefined ground beef paste. It was flaky on the outside, warm in the middle -- just the thing to ward off the cool Manchester evening.
5) A Watered-Down Coke at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia: My idea of heaven. In recent years, more and more stadiums have taken to selling plastic bottles of soda, which is probably easier for them to manage. But for my money, nothing beats sitting outside in the blazing fall sunshine, hailing a wandering salesman carrying a metal tray full of Cokes which have lost their potency in the heat. It may take a few sips to get past the layer of melted ice, but it tastes so great. And anything that's great requires at least a little work.
What's your favorite ballpark food? Let us know below…
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.
Nothing better than a hot pretzel right off the grill at the Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Facility in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Add a little spicy mustard and front row seats along the Orioles dugout and it's a dream come true!!!
Polish sausage, served Maxwell St. style with grilled onions and mustard at US Cellular Field (aka Comisky Park aka Sox Park) in Chicago. You can smell it coming of the escalator onto the concourse. Its like nothing else!
Did a baseball tour back in the late 80's, 19 games in 23 days in ten ballparks in seven cities and food highlight was bratwurst smothered in peppers and onions at old Milwaukee County Stadium. Also had the best seat, a regular chair with a table in front in the outfield mezzanine where you could set your beer and food.
Peanuts and watered down Coke? Of all the concessions at stadiums across the US and apparently the world (meat pie man), Lang chose these? What, did you write this acticle on your BlackBerry while dropping some kids off at the pool this morning? Pretty "Lame Whitaker"
Many, many years ago I worked as a vendor at Soldier Field in Chicago. One hot night I was selling Cokes and decided to have on to quench my thirst. One of the other vendors came up and asked what I was doing. When I told him, he said I should do what all the other soft drink vendors do: sip a little out of each cup, add water to make up the difference and then sell the entire load. Quench thirst and lost no money.
I think Churros at the Cell are wonderful. Long, thin Mexican pastries, nice and hot, filled with chocolate, strawberry, apple or many other flavors, coated in sugar. They are economical, give you a sugar buzz and they soak up beer like nothing else.
You can't beat the bratwurst with secret stadium sauce at Miller Park. The polish sausage is right there, too. Bonus points if you eat all five sausage products before the famed race. Triple bonus if the race finishes in the same order you ate them!
If you venture to the Southside of Chicago for a White Sox game, (the only side in my opinion) you have to have the Maxwell Street Polish. MUSTARD ONLY! All of the food at U.S. Celluar is good, but this is a taste extravaganza.
I could do on forever... -Roast Pork Italian at Tony Luke's in Philly -Crab Cake Sandwich and a Baltimore Brewing Company Hefeweizen on a hot summer day at Camden Yards -Primantis, Quaker State and Lube Wings at PNC -And underrated favorite, the hot roast beef snadwich with horseradish at what used to be the Red Bell Brewery at the First Union Center.
The Frito Pie is a generic name for what is known at Neyland Stadium and Thompson-Boling Arena as a Petro, the official food of the 1982 World's Fair. Those are the only two stadiums that I know that serve Petros, and it's certainly worth mentioning if the Frito Pie made your list.
Primanti Bros Sandwiches at PNC Park. A local tradition that you can only appreciate if you eat one. Excellent white bread piled high with a choice of meat, along withe cheese, fries, and cole slaw. It is the best!
@ fenway you are required to eat a sausage washed down with a sam adams summer ale on yawkey way. if the sausage isnt your style try the "rem-dawg" its a hotdog the size of a babies arm....sounds good huh!
Definitely the Tony Luke's cheesesteak or roast pork w/ sharp provolone from Citizen's Bank Park. In case anyone doesn't realize, South Jersey/Philly area is the best place to get a sandwich in the WORLD.
A hot potato knish at Shea on a really cold night. No, they aren't really very good but when that bitter wind is blowing off Flushing Bay and your hands are frozen, you won't really care what they taste like.
The hot(and sweet) sausage sandwiches at Yankee Stadium. The combination of the soft bread, the carmelized peppers & onions, and the tasty sausage makes the pilgrimage up the 50 ramps to the top floor worth it.
I agree the Dodger Dogs are one of the best dogs out there. No list of greatest stadium food is complete without the good 'ole Dodger Dog. As Farmer John commercials put it, "They're the Eastern-most in quality and Western-most in flavor."
he mentioned it as #1 so i wont say much but rubios has the best fish tacos of any place, ever. if you ever come to southern california, which everyone should, get 2 or 3 fish tacos from rubios, a corona, and youre set
My favorite ballpark food is the barbeque nachos at Autozone Park in Memphis, TN. How can you go wrong with nacho chips covered in pulled pork, barbeque sauce and nacho cheese. Autozone is home to the AAA Memphis Redbirds (Cards).
you have to try the Schmitter's sandwhich at Citizen's Bank Park in Philly. It's a heart attack waiting to happen, but a truly unique combination with three pieces of cheese separating some fried salami, steak, tomatoes, and some sore of special sauce.
The Fish Tacos in S.D. are outstanding, and a deserving no. 1!
Another notable are the tri-tip steak sandwiches available at the Fresno Grizzlies games, courtesy of The Meat Market (a local establishment). They make it worth sweating out the 90-100 degree evenings watching AAA baseball!
Only fitting that the best ballpark food item would be at the best ballpark. Sorry, Philly, A Primanti Bros. sandwich at PNC Park is the pinnacle of the sandwich world. Almost every website I've seen created by people who have taken ballpark tours across the country list this as the #1 food item.
Being a cubs fan I have to admit the food is much better at the cell on the south side. A Polish "wit" (onions) is just about the best thing on this earth to eat. The Dolphin Dog in Miami is a close second. they put some kind of cuban salsa on it that is great.
Garlic Fries at Safeco Field, Seattle. Yeah, you smell like garlic but so does everybody else so who cares? The waft that precedes you, with your order of fries as you head down the aisle to your seat turns everyone's heads with a hungry smile.
The Mama's Of Corona sandwich at Shea Stadium is fantastic - fresh mozzarella, salami, and ham in a hero sandwich with mushrooms and peppers on the side. It's every bit as good as you'll find in the best Italian delis in New York. They also have an antipasto salad with incredibly juicy green olives. The crabcake sandwich at Camden Yards is also pretty good, and you can't go wrong with a cheesesteak in Philly.
hey moron, what yankee stadium have you been going to? of course they sell salted peanuts. they're bazzini brand and they are great. and the peanut vendor can hit you on the numbers with a bag from 3 sections over.
I've been to 25 stadiums and I would have to say my favorite was the smoked meat sandwich and Poutine at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Not to mention you could by a beer all through the game and after the game was over.
Nothing like a lazy Saturday night, at Comerica Park watching the Tigers with a cold brew and some finger lickin Montgomery Inn BBQ Ribs and potato wedges..makes that 7th inning strech a great chance to loosen up the belt buckle and settle back in for the night time fireworks.