Welcome back to one of the most fun things we do annually here. We're going to run through some of the most intriguing new food options at ballparks across Major League Baseball this season. There's definitely some wacky, but it's not near as off the rails as it has been the past five seasons.
Note that this is not exhaustive. Some teams haven't sent the info and I'm admittedly subjective in what I choose at times. If you work for a team that isn't included here, there's still time to send me info and pics and I'll add. Email me if you want at email@example.com.
It'll be straight forward with pictures and descriptions for a bit here. I'll be adding my thoughts at the end. Brace yourselves.
Oracle Park (Giants)
Via the release: Berkeley-based ice cream sandwich shop CREAM offers warm, handcrafted ice cream sandwiches and other innovative frozen treats at the recently re-named Oracle Park. Serving super-premium, proprietary ice cream between two freshly baked confections, the treats are a home run this year at the Giants' stadium.
An acronym for "Cookie Rule Everything Around Me," CREAM has four fully-branded carts, offering customizable handcrafted cookie and brownie ice cream sandwiches, brownie sundaes and single, double, or triple scoops of the brand's ice cream flavors, along with a selection of toppings.
The descriptions are from the Yankees and not my own words.
Avocado Bites: Sliced avocados, deep fried and served with a habanero sauce.
Crispy Maple Chicken Sandwich: Spicy maple drizzle, white cheddar cheese spread, pickle, butter-toasted bun.
MQRib Sandwich: Slow-smoked baby back rib meat covered in MQ's black cherry BBQ sauce, garnished with dill pickles and white onions, served on a soft white roll.
T-Mobile Park (Mariners)
Their partner is Centerplate...
Ku Ku fries: French fries topped with togarashie Japanese seasoning, red tobiko (flying fish roe), chili sauce, horseradish crema and chives. Named for new pitching phenom Yusei Kikuchi.
Paseo chicken and pork sandwiches.
- Caribbean Roast Sandwich – Slow roasted pork shoulder in Paseo signature marinade served with garlic aioli, caramelized onion, cilantro, pickled jalapeño and romaine lettuce on a toasted baguette.
- Smokin' Thighs Sandwich— Roasted skin-on chicken thighs with garlic aioli, caramelized onion, cilantro, pickled jalapeño and romaine lettuce on a toasted baguette.
Also drawing my eyes:
- Five Spice Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich with garlic aioli, tomato, pickle, mixed greens and house-made pimento cheese on a toasted bun.
- '95 Slide –Sometimes called "Crack," a savory/sweet combo of hand-cut fries with a side of Full Tilt ice cream shake for dipping.
Next up, some of the new entrees from Delaware North. The descriptions are theirs and not mine.
Globe Life Park in Arlington (Rangers)
The Fowl Pole: A two-lb tender hand battered and fried to crispy perfection. Served on a bed of crisp waffle fries with Ranch and Honey Mustard dipping sauce.
The TWB (Red White and Blue) Dog: Using Best Maid Pickles, we created a combination of Savory, Sweet and Spicy Glorious Gherkins relish in Texas Rangers Red, and blue colors on a plump Texas Chili All Beef Hot Dog. served with Lays Chips.
- Located at the American Dog Stands at section 22 and 48 and Eat More Dawgs Stand at section 36
Bacon Wrapped wings: Everything is better when you add bacon. Chicken wings hand wrapped in bacon and deep-fried until crisp. Served with Fries.
- Available at the Fry Depot at Section 9
Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox)
Covered and Smothered Fries
- Buffalo Chicken: Shredded Chicken topped with crumbled blue cheese, hot buffalo sauce and creamy ranch
- Chili & Cheese fries
- Greek Fries: Sliced gyro meat, crumbled feta cheese and tomatoes drizzled with tzatziki sauce
- Irish Fries: hot fries topped with stadium nacho cheese, crisp bacon, sour cream and chives
- Dessert Sweet Potato Fries: Sweet potato fries topped with powdered sugar, chopped pecans, whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce and Nutella.
Polish Platter: A 1/2 pound Vienna Beef Polish Kielbasa sausage and the choice of three loaded baked potato or onion pierogis, piled on top of sauerkraut, caramelized onions and served with a homemade mustard sauce.
Great American Ball Park (Reds)
Bulgogi Beef Egg Rolls: Carrots, Onions and Rice served with Gyochujang Sauce.
Comerica Park (Tigers)
Bahn Mi Dog: Thick Slab of Bacon Topped with Asian Slaw and Sriracha Aioli.
Coney Dog Egg roll: Crispy Egg roll Filled with Hot Dog and Chili, Drizzled with Classic Mustard and a Sprinkle of Diced Onions.
Al Pastor Dog: Natural Casing Hot Dog Topped with Smoked Pull Pork, Pineapple Relish, Sriracha Aioli, and Cotija Cheese.
Busch Stadium (Cardinals)
Twisted Topped Pretzel: Three Giant Pretzel Twists topped and baked right in front of you. Pretzels include: pepperoni and cheese, buffalo chicken and bacon & cheese. Served with choice of dipping sauce: marinara, ranch or cheese.
The Mega Slice: 16-inch slice of either pepperoni or cheese pizza.
Miller Park (Brewers)
Wisconsin Ultimate Cheese Fry: A mix of twister fries and fried Sargento cheese curds topped with Sargento cheese sauce and bacon.
Bernie's Liege Belgian Waffle: Crispy sweet waffle with pearl sugar, drizzled with chocolate sauce on top.
Target Field (Twins)
Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich: Jelly glazed bacon and creamy peanut butter on sourdough bread, toasted.
Chicken and Waffle Cone: Waffle cone filled with chicken tenders and a slab of bacon, drizzled with maple syrup.
SunTrust Park (Braves)
Chicken and Waffle Boat: Mango Habanero tossed boneless chicken served in a warm waffle boat drizzled with honey and topped with toasted pecans.
Southern Smothered Steak Sandwich: Stadium smoked brisket, smothered with peppers, onions, and cheddar cheese sauce served on a toasted hoagie.
Dinger Dog: Foot long all beef hot dog, stuffed with cheddar cheese and house made bacon jam wrapped in golden brown puff pastry.
Progressive Field (Indians)
The Fat Rooster: A spicy fried chicken breast, marinated in Franks Hot Sauce and buttermilk, then dredged in a seasoned flour blend including habanero powder, granulated garlic, Cajun seasoning, white pepper, and Lawry Seasoning. We will be serving it on a brioche bun with a vinegar-based coleslaw, house made pickle, and honey mayo.
Now onto the Aramark offerings. Again, their words.
Citi Field (Mets)
Bases loaded foot long dog: Nathan's foot long hot dog, cheddar fondue, Applewood smoked bacon and green onions, on a potato roll.
Chili cheese crunch dog: Nathan's foot long hot dog, beef chili, cheddar cheese, Fritos corn chips and green onions, on a potato roll.
Champs sliders: Ground dry-aged beef, Millionaire's bacon, Cipollini onion agro dolce, sharp cheddar cheese fondue, on a potato bun.
Minute Maid Park (Astros)
Bayou City hot dog: Nolan Ryan hot dog, smoked pork burnt ends, Rico's cheese sauce, pickle chips, green onions and hot BBQ sauce.
Prime rib steak sandwich: Sliced Nolan Ryan Beef prime rib, caramelized onions and horseradish cream, on a split top bun.
Fritos pie corn dog: Foot long hot dog, hand dipped in house-made Fritos corn chips batter, queso blanco and Texas chili.
Kauffman Stadium (Royals)
Artisan chicken sandwich: Grilled or fried chicken, roasted garlic aioli, candied bacon, pepper jack cheese, heirloom tomato, lettuce, avocado and fried egg, on a split top glazed roll.
BBQ burger: Single or double burger, melted cheese, smoked pulled pork, onion rings and Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce.
Fenway Park (Red Sox)
LBLT: Fresh lobster meat, crispy bacon, leaf lettuce and sliced tomato.
Citizens Bank Park (Phillies)
Donut burger: Fresh beef burger, cheese, bacon and spicy cherry pepper jam, on a glazed donut.
Coors Field (Rockies)
Shishito peppers and queso: Crispy shishito peppers, Thai chili vinaigrette, green chili & chorizo queso.
PNC Park (Pirates)
Pittsburgh cone: Kielbasa, pierogi, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing, in a waffle cone.
Also, see below ...
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (A's)
TLC signature chicken sandwich (this is also at PNC Park): Country-style fried chicken cutlet, thick cut Applewood smoked bacon, Vermont cheddar, Roma tomatoes, leaf lettuce, house pickle, herb remoulade, on a sesame seed potato bun.
Boozy pops: [No description, but do we really need one?]
Here are some of the Levy Restaurants creations. Note that the descriptions are theirs and not my words.
Esquite: Sweet grilled corn in a mini souvenir Dodgers helmet topped with mayo, cotija, and chipotle aioli. Finished with lime juice and Tajin seasoning.
Going Yard: A 16.5-inch jalapeno cheddar sausage topped with grilled onions, roasted corn, and avocado relish, drizzled with sour cream.
Dodger Sausage: Stadium exclusive al pastor seasoned sausage stuffed with pineapple chunks, grilled to perfection. Topped with pineapple salsa and cilantro-lime crema.
Wrigley Field (Cubs)
Chick-Ago Sandwich: Back this season by popular demand, Wrigley Field's new take on the traditional Chicago Dog. Pickle brined breaded chicken thighs, tempura sport peppers, vine ripe tomatoes, dill aioli, onion roll, and celery salt.
House smoked BBQ, including Bone-In Smoked Beef Short Rib at the Old Hickory BBQ stand.
DC favorites like the Crab Cake Sandwich.
MLB has also collaborated with some local beer companies to come up with a few fun team-oriented brews. Here they are along with their provided descriptions.
Dodgers Blonde Ale
"Brewed with Bravo and Cascade hops, the finished result is a deliciously crisp and smooth blonde ale that can be enjoyed by fans both inside and outside of Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers Blonde Ale is now available in 25oz cans at retailers across Los Angeles metro and Southern California."
I actually got to try that one and it's really good. Similar to many blonde ales, but I did taste the smoothness for sure. It went down really easy and is highly recommended.
Devils Backbone Earned Run Ale
Karbach's Crawford Bock
Blue Point's Pinstripe Pilsner
Finally, Questlove from "The Roots" is bringing "Questlove's Cheesesteak to Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park. Vegan fans rejoice, as it is plant-based. From the release:
Re-imagining this Philadelphia tradition back home, "Questlove's Cheesesteak™" will launch at Citizens Bank Park on opening day March 28 at two locations on the main concourse (behind Sections 108 & 120). "Questlove's Cheesesteak™" will be sold at all 81 home games for The Phillies. The Cheesesteak starts a new chapter this spring in Philly and is in line with the Phillies efforts to make the world a cleaner place with their "Red Goes Green" campaign, focused on sustainability.
OK, that's a lot to process. Five things I absolutely want to try and can't wait to devour, not necessarily in order:
- MQRib (Yankee Stadium): C'mon. Like McDonald's McRib but sit-down restaurant rib quality and much bigger? Bring that to me immediately.
- Smoked short rib (Nationals Park). Something seems wrong about holding a slab of meat on a bone at a baseball game ... WAIT. What am I talking about? If that's wrong, I don't wanna be right.
- Dinger Dog (SunTrust Park). I love the idea of a hot dog with cheese stuffed in a puff pasty and how could anything with bacon jam be bad? And it's a foot long!
- Fat Rooster (Progressive Field). I've met the chef at Progressive and I know just how much care is put into every single step of the process. Reading the description of the Fat Rooster, I have no doubt it's going to be perfection.
- Wisconsin Ultimate Cheese Fry (Miller Park). It's spot-on Milwaukee. Just look at it! Salivating over here.
I'm also intrigued by ...
- The egg rolls. I've always dug the idea of putting something non-traditional in egg rolls (such as Chilis southwest egg rolls, to name an example from a chain). I especially want to grab Detroit's coney dog egg roll. Coney dogs are so good, but the annoying part is the mess. This appears to be taking that part away. Hopefully it's executed well.
- Going yard dog. It's a huge hot dog with tons of stuff on it. Say no more. In fact, everything that fits that description should be listed here.
- The chicken and waffle stuff: The crispy maple chicken sandwich at Yankee Stadium, the chicken and waffle cone in Minnesota and those boats in Atlanta. All of it. They are all at least somewhat creative ways to transform the chicken and waffle thing into an acceptable ballpark form.
- The polish platter the White Sox have. Looks pretty good and pierogis are generally underrated.
- The peppers and queso in Coors.
- The boozie pops, of course!
Acceptably large: The pizza in St. Louis. It's huge but workable at a game.
Unacceptably large: A single, two-pound chicken finger? Get outta here.
Random thought: Why have I never tried peanut butter and bacon before? Seems like it could work.
I should also note that I like how the ballparks are still coming up with creative new things but appear to have stopped with some of the nonsensical stuff that gets a lot of social media reaction and probably doesn't really sell much (putting fruity pebbles on a hot dog, for example). This year's offering is much more sensible while being able to attract attention.
Now let us attack the ballpark concessions with purpose this season.