A new Major League Baseball season is set to begin, so that means -- among many other things -- it's time for my annual strut through some of the new and ridiculous food items throughout the 30 MLB ballparks. By no means is this an all-encompassing trip, as that would be near impossible and be far too long for the 2018 Internet. We will be hitting on the overwhelming majority of the biggest and most absurd, though.
Confession: This is my favorite post to do every single season. Look, I love everything about my job and baseball is my biggest passion, but putting this together with all the ridiculous food items is all kinds of fun. Hopefully you have as much fun going through this as I did building it, though I doubt that's even possible.
Let's dive in!
First up, MLB is putting on a two-day "FoodFest" in New York City, near Bryant Park. It's April 21-22. Each team booth will have a food that is fitting for its region. Here's the menu:
Lots of amazing stuff there. Go nuts, New Yorkers. Also, the Yankees are home those days (Mets aren't), so out-of-towners could do a lot worse than hitting FoodFest and some Blue Jays-Yankees action on a quick weekend trip. You'll need tickets, so go get them here.
Now let's run through on a team-by-team basis. By way of reminder, I'm not going to hit everyone and that doesn't mean a particular team missing the list has a lackluster food selection. There's just only so much we can cover here.
While this list isn't necessarily ranked, the Rangers come first for a reason. Everything is bigger in Texas, as we know, and the Rangers are always one of the more ridiculous in the ballpark food category. This year is no different. Brace yourself.
The Dilly Dog: This is dill pickle that is cored out and stuffed with our a jumbo hot dog, then it is battered and fried. Yowza.
The Triple B: Bacon, Brisket and Bologna topped BBQ sauce.
Cheetos Jalapeno Bacon Dog: It's a hot dog wrapped in bacon covered with Cheetos Cheese sauce and topped with spicy jalapenos and crunchy Cheetos.
They also have a Home Plate chicken sandwich. Yes, it's billed as having fried chicken on it as big as home plate. A gigantic cinnamon roll and Rold Gold Waffle Cone ice cream round out the sweet tooth menu. Finally, Ham Fries. Yes, ham cut into sticks, battered and deep fried.
You go big and stay big, Texas.
Not to be outdone by Texas ...
Asada Dog: 18-inch Schreiner's hot dog nestled in a telera roll with fries, queso blanco, carne asada, pico de gallo and guacamole.
Curd and Q: 1/3 lb. burger, crisp coleslaw, barbecue pulled pork and white cheddar cheese curds on a toasted Kaiser roll.
Also of note: Steak and Ale tots. Tater tots topped with Philly ribeye, mushrooms, onions and chive sour cream.
A nice twist on the famous Chicago hot dog, check this one out.
Chick-Ago Sandwich: Pickle-brined breaded chicken thighs topped with tempura sport peppers, vine ripe tomatoes and dill aioli served on an onion roll and sprinkled with celery salt.
Also, how about a bone-in, smoked short rib?
Also new at Wrigley? A gigantic breaded pork shoulder. Good stuff, but don't forget about Hot Doug's behind the old center-field scoreboard.
This is pretty cool. You can build your own tortas. Fans' choice of carne asada, Nopales/cactus, pulled chicken, refried beans, jalapeno, cilantro, crema and pickled onions.
Also, what? Cheeto-lote: Roasted sweet corn rubbed with chipotle lime mayo, dusted with Flamin' Hot Cheetos, cotija cheese & tajin seasoning.
Also new to an already-very-strong ballpark food selection in Dodger Stadium: A pretzel chicken croissant and a spicy chicken sandwich.
Tampa Bay Rays
How about a Rueben Cuban with a hot dog? Yep. Why not?
A chili cheese corn dog is also new this year, because, again, why not?
Kenyon Grills First Base Deck is high above the playing surface and offers up excellent grilled foods as part of a partnership for the Red Sox's official grill. It's electric and can be used inside or outside. It's handy for tailgates or simply grilling inside when the weather outside isn't fit for grilling. Pretty cool stuff here.
Again, brace yourself. Here is the Spec-tater:
It's a jumbo potato stuffed with a Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage and then bacon wrapped. It's then topped with cheese, cream, scallions, and more jalapeño.
An Ode to Detroit Dog.
That's a natural casing hot dog smothered in brisket chili, drizzled with habanero queso cheese sauce and garnished with scallions.
Also new this season at Comerica Park are sweet egg rolls, both of the apple (like apple pie!) and Nutella variety.
Maybe I'm partial since I'm in the Cincinnati chapter of the BBWAA, but I believe Great American Ball Park is one of the best when it comes to food, whether it's taste, variety or bang for your buck. Hit the smokehouse by the right field foul pole, meat fans. Anyway, new this year: Queen City Fried Garlic Bologna:
Fried bologna topped with spicy mustard. Looks interesting.
They're also introducing a Smokehouse bowl: Pulled pork, cole slaw, baked beans and mac-n-cheese layered in a fried tortilla shell with BBQ sauce.
Check out this meat monstrosity: The Cuban Burger, here's a cross-section.
That's a hamburger patty topped with sliced ham, pork carnitas, sliced pickles, swiss cheese, yellow mustard and mojo sauce.
Let's get a bit less ridiculous and more creative instead. The Za'tar Spiced Chicken Skewer: Roasted eggplant, tomato cucumber, herbed yogurt; served with flat bread or rice bowl and featured at Andrew Zimmern's Canteen.
What could be more Milwaukee than this? Pierogies with Polish sausage, sauteed onion and peppers: Potato and cheese filled Pierogies served with diced polish sausage, sauteed onion and peppers, tossed in a Parmesan garlic sauce.
Kauffman Field is always strong because, hey, it's Kansas City. New this season are a Jalapeno and cheddar Kielbasa, a chicken Philly and a BBQ brisket taco trio. On the latter, it's smoked BBQ brisket topped with queso fresco and green onions, in flour tortillas. Oh, and how about some pork belly mac n' cheese? Yes please.
First off, do not even think about hitting Minute Maid Park and not hitting Torchy's Tacos (center field) if you like tacos. The queso is amazing. Speaking of, they are unveiling the .45 Express (an homage to both Nolan Ryan and the Colt .45s), which is a Nolan Ryan hot dog, hot Cheetos, green chili queso, tortilla strips, cheese, pico de gallo, jalapenos, sour cream and cilantro.
Overall, Minute Maid Park has excellent food. KHOU11 has a good photo gallery for those interested.
New York Yankees
How about some beer art?
It's PNC Park, but you might think you're in Nashville with the Hot Chicken Taco Trio. Breaded Nashville hot chicken topped with "Comeback Slaw," mozzarella cheese and dill pickle chips, in flour tortillas.
The Old Hickory BBQ Nachos has smoked pork and brisket lathered in sweet BBQ sauce, with a choice of coleslaw, sweet onions and a pickle on a freshly baked Kaiser roll, or loaded on fried corn tortilla chips with jalapenos, pickled onions, cilantro, BBQ sauce and rich queso.
Also, this is a nice twist for our nation's capital. There are "Street Skewers" with rotating seasonal menus representing the best street food from around the world. Here's chicken souvlaki:
How about some Distillery Poutine in Rogers Centre? That would be tater tots topped with pulled pork, cheese curds, whiskey-raisin gravy and green onions.
Mile High Mac-N-Cheese: Green chili mac-n-cheese topped with crumbled chorizo and pico de gallo.
They also have a triple play dog, which is a hot dog with pulled pork, bacon bits and purple cole slaw. Oh, and the Rocky Mountain Po'boy: Rocky Mountain oysters topped with garlic slaw, guacamole, green chili ranch, pico de gallo and cotija cheese, on a po'boy roll. I don't think I'll ever work up the mentality to try Rocky Mountain oysters (look it up if you haven't heard of what those are), but to each his or her own.
OK, I think I'll stop now. I feel like I need to work out.