Dodger Dogs and the Best Stadium Foods in Major League Baseball
A visit to a baseball stadium is simply not complete without some food. In "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," food seems to be the second priority of the narrator.
Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, I don't care if I never get back.
That being said, it is time to examine the best ballpark foods at each of Major League Baseball's 30 stadiums.
Please note: I have not been to every stadium. These picks are mainly research and word-of-mouth based. Suggestions for improvement are encouraged.
Arizona: Arizona Dog
This behemoth of a hot dog combines the classic American food with a bit of border flare. At Chase Field, you can chow down on one of these babies, the Arizona Dog.
The Arizona Dog is a footlong dog covered in nacho cheese, chorizo, and red, white, and blue tortilla strips. It is the perfect fusion of American pig-out fare and the Mexican cuisine found so often in Arizona.
Don't wear tight jeans for this one.
Atlanta: Skip and Pete's Barbecue
Upon visiting Atlanta's Turner Field last summer, it came much to my chagrin that there was no abundance of good, southern cuisine. For a city that claims to be the capital of the south, I half expected the aisle vendors to have fried chicken and collared greens.
But Skip and Pete's barbecue was there, and it was terrific. It is your classic southern barbecue establishment. The pulled meat is incredible and very enjoyable to wolf down in between pitches.
Baltimore: Boog's Barbecue
After a long, illustrious career as an Oriole, Boog Powell decided to open a barbecue restaurant. The Camden Yard establishment is located on the popular Eutaw Street inside the park. Not only could Boog hit, but he sure can whip up some good barbecue.
Whether it's the delicious barbecue sandwiches or the homemade baked beans or slaw, Boog's is a must-eat upon a visit to one of the country's nicest stadiums.
Boston: Fenway Frank
This food is, perhaps more than any other, synonymous with the team with which it is associated. The Fenway Frank is the staple food of the Boston Red Sox and their home, Fenway Park. There may be better tasting dogs in the majors, but none is cooked in as much tradition as the Fenway Frank.
Try it with relish and mustard, grab a seat and take in baseball's favorite hot dog inside the friendly confines of Fenway Park.
Chicago Cubs: North Side Twist
This is a new dish to Wrigley Field, and for an infant dish at a very old stadium, it may be hard to survive and succeed. But the North Side Twist does just that, providing a pretzel experience that is one of a kind. The giant soft pretzel is a beautiful thing, but the central attraction are the sauces served with it.
Between the ever-popular cheese, a variety of different mustards, and a sweet dessert sauce, you will not run out of taste or sauce. This is one of the few ballpark foods that can satisfy your appetite and even provide you with some dessert.
Chicago White Sox: Corn off the Cob
Want something that is nontraditional, healthy, and tasty? Try this all-American dish at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. The corn off the cob is a delicious snack at a White Sox game, and it provides a very unique taste at a stadium.
But it's not just the corn. The snack is topped with a variety of toppings, including butter, salt, cheese, and chili powder. Not bad for a bunch of corn kernels. This is a moderately addictive food, so be wary.
Cincinnati: Cheese Coney
Don't see the hot dog here? Don't worry, your dietitian won't want you to, either. But no one is counting your calories at a baseball game, especially not at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
While taking in a Reds game, take in this beast, covered in special recipe chili, cheddar cheese, diced onions and Bertman Ball Park mustard. Your taste buds will thank you. Your waistline won't.
Cleveland: Buffalo Mac and Cheese
If you watch the Food Network much, you have probably seen this dish. Buffalo Mac and Cheese is an American classic with a kick. Progressive Field offers this dish, which is slightly more gourmet than you would expect ballpark food to be. But don't be fooled by its fancy appearance--it is a great food to eat while watching the game.
Cleveland provides a great twist on a traditional food with its Buffalo Mac.
Colorado: Rocky Mountain Oysters
When deciding which food to choose as the best at Coors Field, one instantly came to mind. Now, as appealing as eating fried bull testicles may sound, don't discount how good these "oysters" really are. Rocky Mountain Oysters are a classic for anyone who has the balls (no pun intended) to try them.
They are deep fried and well seasoned, so as long as you don't think about what you're ingesting, this is quite a dish to put under your belt (again, no pun intended).
Detroit: Coney Dog
Just like in Cincinnati, Comerica Park in Detroit features a different variety of the Coney Dog. Where Cincinnati's is dominated by cheese more than the chili, the Detroit Coney is a very balanced hot dog. Covered in a meaty chili with a bit of a kick and topped with diced onions and cheese, the Coney dog is a Detroit staple.
When watching the Tigers, a Detroit Coney is nothing short of a necessity.
A great dish to enjoy along with the other 1,000 fans at the stadium (see also: Tampa Bay) is seafood paella. For those unfamiliar with the dish, Paella is simply a combination dish that includes various aquatic tastes (scallops, fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.) with vegetables and a starch.
At Sun Life Stadium, the game is very well complemented by a big portion of Paella. It is a classic taste of south Florida.
Houston: Loaded Baked Potatoes
Would it be cliche for me to say that everything's bigger in Texas?
Well, go to Minute Maid Park in Houston and order a cowboy-sized portion of the chopped barbecue-loaded baked potato. This isn't your average spud. This is a grown man's food, a potato stuffed with cheese, sour cream, chives, and some good Texas barbecue.
If you don't get enough meat or potatoes in your diet, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
Kansas City: KC Ribeye Stack
In one of the nation's barbecue capitals, a trip to the local ballpark can get you a slab of heaven. At Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium, the KC Ribeye Stack is the star attraction. Between the potato bread buns is a heavenly combination of unhealthy food, including mushrooms, bacon, cheese, onion rings and the beautifully seasoned ribeye steak.
At last year's All-Star game in Anaheim, the KC Ribeye Stack won a competition of 12 of MLB's best barbecue establishments. There is certainly no shortage of barbecue goodness in Kansas City.
Los Angeles Angels: Halo Dog
In Anaheim, there is a hot dog that defies the rules of healthy eating. In fact, you can take your calorie counting and have a Rally Monkey jump on it after eating the famous Halo Dog. Think it looks like your average loaded hot dog? Don't worry--there's bacon around it. Top it with beans, cheese, and pico de gallo, and you have a terribly terrific SoCal favorite.
But you may want to walk home after this one.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Dodger Dog
Just as the Fenway Frank is a signature item of the Red Sox, the Dodger Dog is the staple of Dodger nation. At a Dodgers game, there is only one choice you have to make when it comes to food: steamed or grilled?
This hot dog, just under a foot long, is cooked to perfection. But if you want the classic Dodger Dog, get it grilled and cover it in your favorite condiments. Even though the team may rarely be great, this hot dog has always been a champion in L.A.
This was an obvious choice. For a stadium that races sausages, it only makes sense that this German staple is the best food in the park. The brats are grilled to perfection and smothered in sauerkraut. Milwaukee is a perfect place to enjoy the best of Bavaria. But don't just sit down with a bratwurst.
Your other hand needs a Miller. Can't forget to pay for the stadium naming rights.
Minnesota: Murray's Steak Sandwich
If you're looking to splurge at Minnesota's beautiful Target Field, $10.50 will buy you a local favorite. The steak sandwich from local establishment Murray's Restaurant is served with garlic toast and is a gourmet treat to take with you to your seat.
A well-cooked slab of meat is not your traditional ballpark fare, but in Minneapolis, it is a great way to spend your money.
New York Mets: Shack Burger
If you go to Madison Square Park in Manhattan, you can get a Shack Burger from the Steak Shack. You will pay $4.75 and wait up to an hour for your burger. But at Citi Field, home of the Mets, the burger is just as good, just as authentic, and at a dollar more expensive, quite a good deal, considering there's barely a wait.
It is a fast food burger, so don't expect to be blown away. But it is cooked to perfection, and almost nothing tastes better at a ball game than a charred hamburger.
New York Yankees: Lobel's Prime Beef Sandwich
Considering the ticket prices at the new Yankee Stadium, it comes as no surprise that some of the best food at the stadium is quite pricey. But just as you are paying for an elite experience at Yankee Stadium, you pay for an elite sandwich in Lobel's Prime Beef. It is terrific beef, and the optional horseradish is barely necessary.
For $15, you will be getting one of the best steak sandwiches imaginable at one of baseball's greatest venues.
Oakland: Kinder's Ball-Tip Sandwich
In Oakland, an unexpectedly good barbecue establishment has a stand inside the Coliseum. Kinder's Barbecue is a local favorite for their marinated steak sandwiches. The most famous and tastiest of these is the ball-tip sandwich. Made with juicy, marinated beef and topped with lettuce, tomatoes and sauce, this is a classy ballpark meal.
If the Athletics do end up moving, A's fans better hope that Kinder's moves with them.
Philadelphia: The Schmitter
If you are in Philadelphia, you have to try a cheesesteak. That's a given. But when you go to a Phillies game at Citizen's Bank Park, there is a sandwich that is a step up from the classic. Piled high with ribeye steak, salami, cheese, onions, tomatoes, and a special sauce, you have the Schmitter. The Phillies would not name their signature sandwich after anyone but the greatest, and this sandwich wears its name well.
For a twist on the traditional Philly cheesesteak, the Schmitter will blow your mind.
Pittsburgh: Primanti Brothers Sandwich
For all the years of futility in Pittsburgh, one item at PNC Park may make Pirates games worth the money. The Primanti Brothers' sandwich is a monstrous creation that is in a different league than any other ballpark sandwich. Where many common sandwiches will take the steak, put some vegetables on it, and call it a day, the Primanti adds french fries and cole slaw right in the middle of the sandwich.
This sandwich is not for the faint of heart. Conquering the Primanti is quite the accomplishment, even if the Pirates lose.
St. Louis: Toasted Ravioli
Many of the foods on this list serve not only as the best food at their respective ballparks, but also as symbols of their city. The toasted ravioli at St. Louis' Busch Stadium is no exception. This is a Gateway City classic, an American twist on Italian food.
The ravioli are breaded and toasted, and come with marinara sauce for dipping. Be warned: they are addictive.
San Diego: Rubio's Fish Tacos
The food at Petco Park in San Diego is an incredible combination of seafood and Mexican influences. For those wanting to combine the two big culinary influences in San Diego, Rubio's fish taco is the way to go. This fish taco makes Taco Bell go to shame. Juicy pieces of beer-battered fish are surrounded with cabbage, salsa and tartar sauce, and can be eaten on a hard or soft taco.
In a beautiful stadium and beautiful city, there is no other way to go than a beautiful fish taco to bring to your seat and watch the Friars.
San Francisco: Cha Cha Bowl
Many may argue that garlic fries are the best food at AT&T Park, but at Orlando's Caribbean Barbecue, the Cha Cha Bowl reigns supreme. The bowl is incredibly complicated to make (yes, I looked up the recipe), but the taste is undeniably awesome.
Shredded pork in a delicious marinade is topped with rice, beans, and a tasty pineapple zucchini salsa. All of this combines for an explosion of flavors right on par with the explosion of fastball out of Tim Lincecum's arm. This dish is a World Series winner.
Seattle Mariners: Ichiroll
This dish gets the award for most creative name, but it sort of had to be named that. The Ichiroll is Seattle's excellent sushi, named in honor of the Mariners' Japanese right fielder. The sushi is made with tuna covered in a hot mayonnaise sauce and kaiware (radish sprouts).
Though this is a very nontraditional dish at a baseball stadium, Safeco Field is a great place to enjoy some sushi. There's nothing better than eating an Ichiroll while watching Ichiro.
Tampa Bay: Columbia Cuban
At Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, the Cuban sandwich from the Columbia Restaurant is the dish, especially if you've never tried Cuban food. The restaurant is a local favorite, founded by Cuban immigrants over a century ago. Their staple is the Cuban sandwich, made with ham, pork, salami, cheese, pickles, and mustard.
As good as the middle of the sandwich is, the bread is just as good. The fresh Cuban bread is pressed so that the sandwich is slim. All of the flavors are compacted into each bite. The Rays have a winning dish in this one.
Texas: Big Dog
As mentioned with Houston, everything is bigger in Texas. But at the Ballpark in Arlington, that mantra is taken to a new level. The Big Dog is aptly named-- it is a one-third pound hot dog smothered in meaty Texas chili, nacho cheese, and grilled onions. There is nothing like pigging out at a baseball game, but this hot dog may redefine what pigging out really is.
Estimates put the Big Dog at over 900 calories, so you better have a good excuse to eat one (but not really). What better way to celebrate baseball in Texas than with a signature Big Dog?
Toronto: BBQ Chicken Nachos
In baseball's only Canadian stadium, the food does not disappoint. Though the American dishes you have seen so far have been impressive, the Rogers Centre puts its best foot forward in its quest to conquer barbecue. The barbecue chicken nachos are just as they sound--pieces of chicken smothered in barbecue sauce, served with a plethora of good toppings.
The Muddy Market, the home of these nachos, is going a long way towards establishing itself as one of baseball's great barbecue joints. Don't write off the Blue Jays' food. It's an American taste just across the border.
Washington: Ben's Half Smoke
Baseball's newest team brings to the table some of the best food. Washington, D.C. is a hot spot for great food and Ben's Chili Bowl is one of the best restaurants in town. Ben's has a stand at Nationals Park, where you can get their signature Half Smoke.
It is a deliciously meaty contraption: a sausage covered in chili, cheese, onions, and mustard. Imagine a Brewers bratwurst combined with a Cincinnati Coney and you pretty much have it. This is a barbecue dog not to be reckoned with.