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I’ve met several people in my life who have traveled to every ballpark in the country to see America’s pastime being played everywhere it can be. For them, being in those places to see the game across the country is a thrill; the goal for traveling to all those stadiums is for the game itself.
But increasingly, there is another worthy goal: next-level second generation ballpark food.
When I was a kid, it was peanuts, nachos covered in gloppy orange cheese, and cotton candy. Occasionally, we’d have Cracker Jacks as dessert after having a standard-issue hot dog. The hot dog had three options available – mustard, relish, or sauerkraut (which always seemed a little dicey to me).
The Future of Ballpark Food is Here
But nowadays, ballpark food is a whole new ballgame. (Yes, the pun was intended and would easily elicit a well-deserved eye-roll from Jennifer). Stadiums are going all out to attract a new foodie crowd. And the competition is now extending from home plate to the dinner plate.
My Texas Rangers start their season next week and in advance they trotted out their new menu for 2017. And this is an impressive offering. The “Boomstick” is 24 inches of tamale covered in chili, nacho cheese, and sour cream. The Fritos Kimchi Chili Dog is a creative new way to serve the ballpark classic (with the kimchi substituting for the sauerkraut). But the clear homerun here are the “Texas Snowballs.” Imagine shredded barbecue brisket stuffed inside a doughnut covered in powdered sugar.
A Nationwide Phenomenon
These are the offerings here in Arlington but most of the ballparks across the country are doing the same. “Kramarczuk’s Kurd-Marczuk” at Target Field in Minnesota is akin to the Canadian classic pub fare called poutine. The San Francisco Giants offer an organic chicken burger and oysters.
Traveling to ballparks may be nothing new but maybe there’s a new reason to make the journey. Does this new crop of food offerings make sporting events a good reason for destination travel? I may be willing to give up some frequent flyer miles to get a Tuna Poke Bowl at Dodger’s Stadium in Los Angeles. In fact, I’d be willing to go almost anywhere as long it’s not for the Churro “Dessert” Poutine in Toronto.
What’s on the menu at your local ballpark? Let us know at jetsettershomestead (at) gmail (dot) com.