Last week, we released our baseball preview, full of food and drink topics to keep an eye on as the 2013 season kicked off. We’re less than a week into the games and already we have gotten some great feedback about intriguing new items to try out from around the league. Here is an updated version of the food and drink storylines to follow this year in the MLB, from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between. As always, be sure to let us know if we have missed a must-have item!
New Food And Drink Items In Major League Ballparks
- Chase Field, home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, will feature extensive new culinary selections this season. Among the offerings are a handmade “Snake Bite Burger” stuffed with peppers and onions and topped with Jack cheese and pico, “beer hot” bratwurst and Andouille sausage, and a turkey cheesesteak sandwich. We’re most looking forward to the achiote-basted grilled mushroom burrito, though, which is served with cilantro rice, black beans, achiote grilled mushrooms, pepper Jack cheese and salsa rojo, all wrapped in a red chile tortilla.
- New this season for Atlanta Braves games at Turner Field will be a burger kiosk featuring patties by chef Linton Hopkins and his team at Holeman & Finch. Here’s hoping that they plan to offer more than the limited-edition 24 burgers available each night at exactly 10 p.m. at the popular city eatery. In a tribute to recently retired great Chipper Jones, a Yicketty Yamwich will comprise braised short rib, brie, cheddar, apple butter and spinach. Be sure to find a Yicketty Yogurt self-serve yogurt and slushie station.
- Look out for a pair of sandwiches coming to the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park. Pot roast will be served on a crispy roll with provolone cheese and a choice of au jus or barbecue sauce, while the premium steak sandwich will consist of sirloin steak, provolone and caramelized onions.
- Latin flavor is coming to the Colorado Rockies. Coors Field’s newest offering is a smothered Spanish empanada, stuffed with “stinkin’ good green chili,” shredded lettuce, pico and sour cream.
- The Chicago White Sox might not go very far this season, but their offseason menu additions may well be tops in the league. Among the new offerings are a pepper-glazed goat cheese spread, a double steakburger, a tuna, chicken and egg salad sandwich trio, four-cheese garlic bread with multiple dipping sauces and a Bloody Mary from local favorite Eleven City Diner. The “Winning Ugly Grand Slam” – a mixture of Italian beef, Italian sausage patty, pork chop and bacon covered with giardiniera, sautéed onions and peppers on eight-inch muffalatta bread — tops our list of must-try ballpark items for 2013.
- Those heading to Wrigley Field to cheer on their beloved Chicago Cubs will be able to sample from a wide range of new menu items. Among the novelties available this year are a pulled pork sandwich with Chicago-made Uncle Dougie’s BBQ sauce, a bison burger, a chicken sandwich, a city signature giant twist pretzel, nachos with southwest ingredients and a Chicago Dog, served traditionally inside a poppy seed bun and topped with sport peppers, pickle spear, tomatoes, onion, yellow mustard and celery salt. Remember, no ketchup on these!
- There may not be many reasons to watch the Houston Astros and their $27 million payroll (yes, that’s less than A-Rod is making this year), but the faithful will be rewarded with a new Bryan Caswell Grille, dishing out burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, specialty sausages, hand-cut fries, milkshakes and house recipe chili cheese fries.
- Hosting the MLB All-Star Game last summer has apparently got the Kansas City Royals thinking about globalizing the stadium’s menu. We are particularly salivating over the European-style dog on a fresh baked baguette and a pork carnitas taco, which contains braised pork butt, lettuce, queso fresco, pico and cilantro sour cream.
- Pardon the Los Angeles Angels if they were a tad too busy focusing on signing Josh Hamilton this offseason to worry much about stadium food. The only novel option we could find is a specialty hand-twisted pretzel dog.
- A trip to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers this season just might have you ballooning faster than the team’s payroll. The franchise that became famous for the “Dodger Dog” is introducing six new food items — variations of three hot dogs, a pizza, a burger and loaded nachos. And they’re not even bashful about naming them after their targeted demographic. The “Big Kid Dog” is covered with gooey mac and cheese and topped with crunchy Fritos.
- It’s a sad time to be a fan (one of 268) of the Miami Marlins. At least the stadium food promises to impress. Among several new items coming to Marlins Park this season are grilled mahi tacos, a foot-long nacho dog, a rice and bean bowl, and a smoked pork burrito. Those looking to work on their beach bodies are sure to be satisfied with the Sobe chop salad, consisting of fresh romaine and spinach, chili-dusted papitas, roasted corn, onions, peas, faro, cucumbers, tomatoes, queso blanco and cilantro vinaigrette. Got all that?
- We’ve already mentioned the wonder that is the Pat LaFrieda steak sandwich, a late addition to the New York Mets’ Citi Field last season. The team just announced an extended partnership with the “Magician of Meat,” bringing a LaFrieda-branded Chop House restaurant to the Delta Club and a second steak sandwich stand – this one to the upper level of the stadium – that will also dish out Korean-style steamed buns, short rib buns and boneless chicken buns. Additionally, garlic knot meatball sliders will be available from local favorite Two Boots Pizza.
- Not forgetting about refreshments to wash down their new offerings, the Mets are introducing El Verano Cantina, an extension of Danny Meyer’s taqueria. In addition to traditional margaritas and daiquiris, there will be specialty summer cocktails such as agua fresca with tequila, watermelon juice, fresh mint and sugar.
- Perhaps a nod to the fiery play on display from the team last year, the Oakland Athletics’ O.co Coliseum will introduce a Diablo Dog, complete with pimento cheese sauce, bacon crumbles and fried onion straws.
- The Philadelphia Phillies announced that empire-building chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav fame will open an outpost of his wildly popular shop, Federal Donuts, at the home ballpark, selling both fried chicken and glazed donuts. Also coming to Citizens Bank Park is a handcrafted burrito and a toasted chicken grinder with mozzarella, baby spinach, oven-dried tomatoes, house-cured pickles, roasted peppers, spicy chili garlic relish and drizzled with olive oil. Whew.
- And the Phillies are even catering to hometown beer geeks. Pennsylvania’s Sly Fox Brewery made two of their beers available in removable lid cans, an industry first. Their popular Pikeland Pils can be purchased exclusively at the team’s ballpark.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park has a reputation for being one of the nicest stadiums in the league. The latest additions to the park’s food repertoire is a Firehouse foot-long dog with nacho cheese, jalapeños and Fritos, and a corned beef and Swiss sausage, topped with sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.
- At least fans of the perennial AL West cellar-dwelling Seattle Mariners and cocktail geeks alike will be able to take solace in Edgar’s Cantina, an open-air restaurant and lounge named for retired hero (and probably the only legendary DH in history), Edgar Martinez. The new project coming to Safeco Field this season features drink selections from Anu Apte, the owner of heralded Emerald City staple Rob Roy.
- There’s a lot to be excited for if you are a Toronto Blue Jays fan. Two more reasons? “12 kitchen” nachos, created in honor of Roberto Clemente and topped with eight exotic ingredients, and The Distillery turkey “pretzel” sandwich, featuring house smoked and hand carved turkey on a soft pretzel bun.
- The Washington Nationals are primed to play some of the most exciting baseball in the league, and their home stadium has a couple impressive new local food items to boot. We’re talking Maryland blue crap dip and grilled asparagus with Virginia country ham. And we’ve saved the best for last. A warm, soft pretzel braid will be topped with béchamel, fresh crabmeat, cheese and Old Bay. Mmmm.
Ballpark Food And Drink News From The Offseason
- A big shout out from the ever-increasing lazy fan community to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics. The four clubs recently worked with MLB.com on a mobile application — available this season — called “At The Ballpark.” The app permits fans, among other things, to order food and beverages from their phone straight to their seats.
- Not so long ago, a seat at Fenway Park was one of the most coveted in all of professional sports. Now, the Boston Red Sox have resorted to offering two-for-one franks, $5 draft beer and free meals — that’s a hot dog, Goldfish and a carton of juice — for kids under 14 (in the first three innings) at home games, in an attempt to draw fans to the ballpark.
- Supporters of the loveable losers Chicago Cubs will have two novel spots to commiserate with other fans this year, though neither venue is located within the team’s famed stadium. Wrigleyville’s 1048 Sky Lounge is a completely renovated, formerly private space opening to the public this season with a direct line of sight to center field and a menu of all-inclusive food and drink.
- Meanwhile, travelers passing through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport can now stop at the Cubs Bar & Grill, a sports bar with a replica Wrigley Field Marquee, menu items from the ballpark, framed memorabilia and club souvenirs available for purchase. It’s located in Terminal 3.
- For the first time in years, there’s hope on the horizon for the Cleveland Indians. And it has nothing to do with the signing of Nick Swisher. The team announced the rollback of concession prices, slashing hot dogs to $3 and 12-ounce beers to $4. Wait, isn’t this is the same organization that had to forfeit a 1974 game when a riot broke out at 10-Cent Beer Night?
- The most notable contract the Milwaukee Brewers handed out this winter has to be the renewing of Miller Lite as the team’s exclusive beer sponsor. The team also announced the opening of the Miller Lite Party Deck, a 70-person-capacity entertainment space that includes an all-inclusive food and beverage experience. Finally, some culinary news out of Miller Park that doesn’t involve Randall Simon assaulting a sausage.
- The Philadelphia Phillies certainly had a food-minded offseason. Just how much does the team’s marketing department think fans love the city’s famous soft pretzels? Enough to create a t-shirt that feels like one. You heard that right. Soft pretzel–textured tees will be available for purchase this season at Citizens Bank Park.
- The San Diego Padres may not be the most talented team in the league, but the organization is certainly on its way to being recognized as one of the most sophisticated. The third annual Padres Wine & Food Festival — held before a home game — is scheduled for August 16 this summer. The events will include specialty food and drink items, as well as pours from more than three-dozen California wineries.
- The San Francisco Giants are doing their part to maintain their reputation as having some of the best ballpark grub in the game. For the second consecutive year, the team is planning to host “Off the Cove,” an event showcasing the budding food truck scene in the Bay Area. Tickets to the festivities — there is one planned in both May and August — include access to a private area with multiple food trucks and admission to that night’s game. Partial proceeds benefit a local organization that supports low-income food entrepreneurs.
More Food And Drink News From Around The League
- While not exactly recent news, we have to mention that Rocky Mountain oysters will once again be available this year at the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field. That’s deep-fried bull calf testicles, for those of you out there scratching your heads (though it should be pointed out that pig or sheep testicles can also be used in the dish). Maybe it’s not just the altitude helping batters hit all those balls out of the park.
- The wife of Los Angeles Angels superstar Albert Pujols launched a line of cookware this winter. The CEO of Pujols Kitchen (yes, that’s a real company) designed the 16 items to reflect and enhance the original cutlery used in Dominican Republic and Latin American homes. Proceeds are being donated to providing cookware and food for families in poverty around the globe.
- The Miami Marlins haven’t done much to keep their biggest stars on the roster, but that didn’t stop them from assembling a team of the league’s biggest stars to contribute to a cookbook, compiled by the wife of much-maligned owner Jeffrey Loria. Chances are, if you wait a bit to purchase it, there’ll be a 75% discount.
- The biggest question currently facing the Seattle Mariners is undoubtedly the status of the ever-popular Ichiroll, a variation of a spicy tuna roll named after departed star and current New York Yankee Ichiro Suzuki. With the item facing an uncertain future following the trade of its namesake, fans are surely clamoring for a replacement menu item tied to a current Mariner. May we suggest a King Felix Crab Roll? A Jason Bay Scallop Roll? A Justin Smoak’d Salmon Roll? A Jesús Monteroll? Sorry, M’s fans. We’re really, really sorry.
- Apparently it didn’t take long for Ichiro-inspired sushi to re-establish itself elsewhere, as the New York Yankees introduced the Suzuki Roll at the very end of last year. Featuring spicy salmon and yellowtail, cucumber, avocado and mango, the item receives customary Pinstripe pricing at $15. We’re not mathematicians or anything, but are you telling us that one roll of Yankee Stadium raw fish costs the same as six hot dogs at Fenway Park? Some rivalry we’ve got here.
- Could Nolan Ryan join the ranks of our Grilling Gods? The Texas Rangers principal owner revealed this winter that he will be releasing The Nolan Ryan Beef Cookbook, with an emphasis on Texas barbecue dishes and traditional Sunday dinner favorites. The strikeout king did always know a thing or two about high heat.
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