“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”Yogi Berra
Our endeavor to search for the best of the baseball experience was just that, a search for the best experience. The game is only one part of that, as is the stadium, the city around the stadium, the fans, the beer, etc. Probably one of the most wonderful parts of a baseball game is the food.
The food at a baseball game seems to fall into one of three categories:
- The Traditional – Peanuts, Cracker Jack, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.
- The Comical/Inventive – Helmet full of nachos, foot long hot dog, etc.
- The Gourmet – usually a local favorite restaurant that has a presence at the stadium.
We found the Gourmet of the list above to be the most fun. While we could have gone to each park and tried to find the best hot dog, I suspect we would have found most to be pretty much the same, and at the end of our trip we would have eaten 15+ hot dogs (most of that over 34 or 40 days). Not sure that is the route we wanted to go. The Gourmet version of the ballpark food is interesting, because it allows you to experience some of the best of a certain city without having to explore the city. We would have loved to have spent three or more days in each spot and walked around and seen “the best of,” but in a trip like this you are pretty much on to the next spot after you hit up a game. Getting a taste of the city at the stadium is often the only way to experience the city in that environment.
Not all of the food we loved was at the ballpark. Some of our stops along the way were really enjoyable. Some honorable mentions, at the ballpark or not, are:
- Hot Dog Kids Meal – Suntrust Park – Atlanta, GA
- Short-rib grilled Cheese – Tropicana Field – St. Petersburg, FL
- Pincho Burger – Marlins Park – Miami, FL
- Chicken Cheese Philly – Smoky Mountain Brewery – Pigeon Forge, TN
- Breakfast Empanadas – Cafe Tola – Back of Ohio House Motel downtown Chicago (part of their free breakfast)
- Chicago-style pizza – Lou Malnati’s – downtown Chicago.
- Hodad Bacon Cheeseburger – Hodad’s – Petco Field – San Diego, CA
- Pizza – Village Pizza – Coronado, CA
- Helmet Nachos – Chronic Tacos – Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA
- Poke Bowl – Da Poke Man – Oracle Park – San Francisco, CA
- Chicken Fried Chicken – Firefish Grill – Santa Cruz, CA
- Mashed Potatoes (they have to be really good to mention mashed potatoes in a food review) – Taprock – Grant’s Pass, OR
- White Chicken Chili and Biscuits with Honey Butter – Dixie’s On Grand – Saint Paul, MN
- Avocado Tacos and Chicken Tacos – Torchy’s Tacos – Minute Maid Park – Houston, TX
- Redneck Tacos – Ole Red (Blake Shelton’s) – Tishomingo, OK
- Fried Greet Tomatoes – Ole Red – Tishomingo, OK
- Chicken Sandwich – First Horizon Park – Nashville, TN
- Kale/Quinoa Salad – First Horizon Park – Nashville, TN
The food from the trip is one of the best parts, but also one of the greatest disappointments. We can find a way to see any of these teams play on the TV, but we’ll never get this food again unless we get to the stadium. Honestly, I am really hungry having written this. Thinking about packing up the car to go get a sandwich in Tampa Bay…