With Memorial Day Weekend upon us, it’s time to unleash some blazing hot sports journalism. We’re about to enter the heart of baseball season, which is the perfect time to attend games.
Where am I going with this? Ballpark foods!
We’re in a day and age where things like sushi are now served in Major League parks. Sushi may be my favorite food in the world, but I’m not about that life when it comes to getting down and dirty at a good old American baseball game.
Light beer. Messy food. Beautiful weather. That’s summer at the ballpark.
The big question is, how do you rank you ballpark foods? There’s no wrong answer, but as a former vendor at Fenway Park, I’ll attempt to order the classics.
Here’s one way to spice things up. As a Fenway guy, I don’t think I’ve ever had nachos in my home park, but venture around the country and you’ll find parks where they’re wildly popular — I’m looking at you Pittsburgh. I find nachos go particularly well with a beer.
9. Chicken Fingers & Fries
This is kind of one of those kids meals that just goes on to never get old. It will always come in some kind of tray that makes it inconvenient to eat, but nobody’s thought of an alternative for the last 100 years, so we just keep rolling with it. I find chicken fingers go particularly well with a beer.
8. Pulled Pork
You’ve got to go to a mid-western ballpark and try some kind of BBQ sandwich. I … haven’t, but Boog’s Barbecue is Baltimore is the closest I’ve gotten. Great stuff. I can only imagine towns like Kansas City. I find pulled pork goes particularly well with a beer.
Now we’re entering a sting of classics. Is a burger my go-to when I’m taking in a game? No. But you can’t really go wrong here. Like our next item, the beauty is that burgers change so much from park to park — all the way up to the EIGHT-POUND Strasburger you can grab at a Nationals’ game. I find a burger goes particularly well with a beer.
‘Za is an easy ballpark classic, but the fun comes in where you order it. Chicago deep dish, New York style giant slices, there’s a lot more out there that you just have to find. Maybe something weird I don’t even know about. I find pizza goes particularly well with a beer.
Want to know something weird? I don’t like pretzels … unless I’m at a baseball game. Bagged pretzels, soft pretzels, jumbo pretzels. Don’t want anything to do with them in general. Step into a baseball stadium and I’ll take a warm, soft pretzel with salt and some spicy mustard. This might also sound strange, but I find a pretzel goes particularly well with a beer.
Classic. Maybe my favorite right here. Sausage, peppers, onions. Boom. Walking by Fenway to the smell of all the grills going is one of the greatest smells on Earth. If you don’t like sausage, peppers and onions at a ballgame, I don’t even know what to say. Especially if you don’t find it goes particularly well with a beer.
3. Peanuts/Cracker Jacks
Now we’re in top-3 territory and it’s time to mix it up. I told you I’m an old school Fenway guy. When you get a shoutout in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” that means you’re legit. Instant boost to your ranking. It’s been ages since I’ve had either at a game (sausages are filling), but it’s probably safe to assume both go particularly well with a beer.
2. Ice Cream In A Helmet
This one is mostly for kids (or 28-year old men like myself). Can’t leave ice cream off the list. Does it taste better eating it out of a helmet? Nope, but everyone thinks it does, and I’m fine with that. Don’t worry about looking like a 2-year old, just get yourself one. This actually doesn’t go particularly well with a beer, but I won’t judge if you pair the two.
1. Hot Dog
The Holy Grail of ballpark food. I’ll try any hot dog with anything on it in any park. Love hot dogs. They’re a seasonal food like a lobster roll in the summertime. Fenway Franks happen to be my favorite, believe it or not. So simple, so good. Ketchup, mustard, and feel free to go with relish and/or onions as you please. These obviously go extremely well with a beer.
If you feel like debating/adding to the list, find me on Twitter @julianedlow