Take me Out to the Ballgame

Opening Day, a new season starts, all baseball fans for one day can all be equally hopeful for their team’s chances.  All things are still possible.  Those off-season moves are all going to be strokes of genius.  New players will be All-Stars, rookies will all be phenoms, fields will be newly manicured, and there will be new food at the ballpark.  I love going to the stadium to watch a game, heckle Yankees fans, have an overpriced beer, and partake of stadium fare.

When I was a kid, your choices at the ballpark were hot dogs, peanuts, chips, burgers, nachos, and if you were sitting in the really expensive seats crappy over-cooked steaks in Styrofoam boxes.  Obviously, things have changed over the years.  Now it’s a common occurrence to have sushi, teriyaki, bad Chinese food, bad Mexican food, and if you’re in Baltimore, a crab boil in addition to hot dogs, burgers, cracker jacks, and peanuts.    So it was pretty exciting to get an invite to try out the new offerings at the home of the Seattle Mariners, Safeco Field.  The preview happened appropriately enough on Opening Day while the team was on the road.

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There’s nothing like rolling up to the stadium in the middle of the day.  It’s just so decadent and so much fun to do that.  I mean, while the rest of the world is doing the whole work thing you get to go to the ballpark.  How cool is that?

There were a few original ideas this year and some twists on familiar items.  Some were winners and some not as much.  I really liked the Skinny Skins, basically a cross between nachos and potato skins on potato chips that will be fried in house every day.  I mean, taters, bacon, cheese, sour cream, pretty hard to go wrong, and the fresh potato chips really do make a difference.

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The hot dog on a pretzel bun was a nice twist on a classic.  The pretzel dough offers up a nice bit of tooth, and is slathered with that most Seattle of toppings, cream cheese.  Taken altogether it really works, it’s always tough to do any sort of twist on something familiar and to do it to something so ubiquitous as a hot dog and in a way that can also be produced in quantity is pretty impressive.

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Everyone seems to be chasing the Chick-Fil-A sandwich these days, and the chicken sandwich seems very much another stab in that vein.  It’s a pretty decent chicken sandwich and the necessary pickle component is there, but the spongy component in the bun is missing.  It seems weird to say, but the breast might actually be too big.  The crunch to meat ratio is kind of off, but overall a good sandwich.

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Blazing Bagels came through with some excellent pastrami and with mini bagel dogs.  Whoever the hell they’re getting the pastrami from in New York they need to get more.  I love good pastrami and this was some pretty damn good pastrami, certainly better than anything I would ever expect to expect at a game.  The mini bagel dog is successful in that it’s not too dense on the bagel side.  That’s usually my gripe with bagel dogs and this avoids that pitfall.  The dog itself was a bit dry, but not so much that I wouldn’t have another one.

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I was not a big fan of the poutine.  It just didn’t come together.  Neither the gravy nor the fries were hot enough to melt the cheese curds and form that wonderful gloppy mess that marks a good poutine for me.

The other one that didn’t work for me was the peel and eat shrimp.  This mostly came from a logistical point of view.  I mean, if you’re at your seat this could prove really difficult to eat and cause a big smelly mess.

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Overall though, it’s a pretty good lineup, and it looks to be a good year at the ballpark.

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