Ballpark Food Adventures

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With baseball season finally here, stadiums across the country are going above and beyond the traditional ballpark hot dogs, bringing fans food combinations they probably never thought were possible — whether it’s Fruit Loop sliders or caramel popcorn dogs.

Major League Baseball’s opening day on Monday came with the promise of serious diamond-side splurges as the competition extends from the baseball field to the concession stand. Many of these high-calorie creations mix familiar American fare with ethnic treats, like mac ‘n’ cheese on a hot dog, served in a naan bread bun. But most are simply a collision between familiar guilty pleasures, like pepperoni pizza and burgers.

Take, for example, the Atlanta Braves’ Burgerizza. This is, as the name says, a 20-ounce burger with two 8-inch pepperoni pizzas as the bun. As if that’s not enough, it’s also packed with sliced cheese and bacon. If you’re miraculously still hungry after that, the Braves’ Turner Field also offers a concoction called the Tater Tot Chop — a sandwich of cheese, bacon, jalapeños and Coca-Cola ketchup between waffles made out of tater tots.

The Pittsburgh Pirates offer up the Cracker Jack and Mac Dog — a sinful creation by someone who wondered what salty caramel, gooey cheese and hotdogs would taste like together. It’s a hotdog in naan bread, topped with mac and cheese, Cracker Jack popcorn and jalapeños.

If you want to bring a little class to the subject, leave it to San Francisco. The Giants’ home at AT&T Park is the only stadium that has its own herb garden and its menu is pretty fancy. Dungeness crab sandwiches on garlic butter sourdough, anyone? How about Korean bibimbap with a Caribbean infusion?

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Travel down the coast and the San Diego Padres at Petco Park stay true to Southern California’s fusion food culture with Poke Nachos – a blend of chips of your choice, wonton or kettle, topped with edamame, jalapeños, pickled ginger, green onions, Korean pickled kimchi, shishito peppers and avocado pasilla cream.

Perhaps the polar opposite of that would be the Hill Meatball Cone, which is exactly what it sounds like – a Bizarro ice cream cone. Served up by the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, this is bread shaped like a cone and stuffed with meatballs, marinara, topped with – you guessed it, cheese.

Head over the Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, if you want a real carb-bonanza. There you can find a spaghetti-and-meatball pizza. Yes, you read that right. Spaghetti and meatballs are now pizza toppings. But if a meal as meal-topping isn’t enough, there’s the Slider Dog, a jarring crash between a hot dog topped with pimento mac ‘n’ cheese and bacon, and Fruit Loops breakfast cereal.

It’s not just food having all the creative fun. Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, offers an enormous Bloody Mary – with a buffalo chicken wing garnishing. The drink is also topped with cheese and a sausage, and for $4 extra, you can add a bacon cheeseburger slider to it. That’s right you can drink your meal – sort of.

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The outlandish ballpark fare started ramping up in 2006, but really took off in 2014, according to SB Nation. That’s when Marc Normandin came up with the idea to travel around the country and subject himself to some of the most “dangerous and unhealthy ballpark food.”

While the ballpark foodies semi-jokingly predict complete food madness involving things like a single noodle looping a city block or a hot dog the size of a surf board in the near future, one things is for sure: This year, baseball fans have some adventurously fun and undoubtedly delicious treats awaiting them.

 

Posted in Sports

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