Peanuts and Cracker Jacks may once have satisfied fans of Major League Baseball, but a review of what’s cooking at stadiums this season shows how local preferences and a quest for novelty are reshaping even ballpark menus. Here’s a look at some of the more revealing examples.
Buffalo Cauliflower Poutine
This cauliflower isn’t instantly recognizable—naturally, since we’re talking poutine, the vegetables are deep-fried. The dish, from foodservice contractor Aramark, finds the florets lightly breaded, tossed in buffalo hot sauce and topped with cheese curds, “cheesy” gravy and chopped scallions. While poutine traditionally is made with French fries, a plethora of variations have popped up in recent years. This is the version that will be available this year at the Toronto Blue Jays’ Rogers Centre.
Lamb Koefte Burrito
Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern developed four signature items this season for Aramark ballparks. This burrito combines lamb, fried eggplant slices, tomato-cucumber salad, green hot sauce and tahini inside a tortilla. It comes inside a Zimmern-themed paper sleeve. Stadiums with the burrito in the lineup include the Philadelphia Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park, Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field, Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park, Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium, Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park and Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park.
The Flying Pig
When pigs fly, do they end up in peanut curry ranch sauce? That appears to be the outcome for this bone-in, deep-fried pork shank dish, also served with a side of sweet-chili apple slaw. The idea is somewhat reminiscent of gnawing on a fried turkey leg—but these smaller bites look much easier to wrangle in the bleacher seats without dropping hunks of meat on your neighbor. The dish is available at the Astro’s Minute Maid Park.
Strange mashups clearly aren't limited to streetside restaurants. Consider the Burgerizza, available this year from contractor Delaware North at the Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field. Yes, it’s literally a 20-ounce burger patty topped with bacon and five slices of cheddar cheese, served inside two 8-inch pepperoni pizzas. The Burgerizza seems like a childhood dream that woke up as an adult nightmare.
Turner Field's Everything Dog is made for the foodie who loves all ballpark snacks, but hates wasting time in line. A footlong hot dog is topped with fries, chili, nacho chips, beer cheese, jalapenos, popcorn and barbecue sauce, served in a pretzel bun. This also seems like a great opportunity to create spinoff versions using leftovers from other food stations. Cotton candy-peanut-salsa, anyone?
While it’s not specified who, exactly, is being punished here, we have a few guesses. The Punisher, a deep-fried barbecue rib sandwich with fried onion rings and energy drink-infused barbecue sauce, is festooned with several strips of bacon that are skewered above its top bun. No word on whether that energy drink infusion will boost fans’ cheering power at Turner Park.
Basically a cheeseburger disguised as a hot dog, the Cheeseburger Dog is made from char-grilled hamburgers formed into dog shape and deep-fried. Topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato and secret sauce, the Cheeseburger Dog could be a safe entry point for newbie foodies enjoying the games at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field.
Cracker Jack & Mac Dog
The Everything Dog has a rival for the title of Most Creatively Topped. The footlong Cracker Jack & Mac Dog features caramel popcorn, macaroni and cheese, salted caramel sauce and fried jalapenos on naan bread. Squishy, crunchy, cheesy, salty, sweet and spicy—it's all in there for fans watching the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.