How to Eat Your Way Through Spring Training

ryan howard

It’s early March, which can only mean two things: it’s either time for the second annual spring training trip or it’s time to begin over-hyping the Washington Redskins. Last year, myself and two of my “we-finally-got-rid-of-abreu-lieberthal-bell-and-wade-so-we-can-root-for-the-phillies-again” friends decided to start an annual trip down to spring training in Clearwater, Florida.

While our 2007 focus was mostly on beer and hot dogs and a Howard Johnson hotel near the stadium, we expanded our horizons in 2008. Staying in Ybor City allowed us to not just enjoy the nightlife, but also the fine Tampa cuisine.

Below is a day-by-day eating recap. (Note: since the average ES reader is likely unaware of the Phillies AA team, we do not recap the baseball games here. I will say this, however, Greg Golson is faaaaast.)

Breakfast – the tray table on the airplane where I was faceplanted until 6 in the morning on my red-eye from Salt Lake City.

Lunch – Baseball game…..the usual… dogs and plenty of beer

Dinner – Fried Calamari: have you ever noticed that all non-cocktail, calamari sauce is always a little bit different. I wish it were a little more consistent. This batch was fried, but a little soft. I like my calamari like I like my NFL free agents: crispy and hard to stop talking about. The Lava Burger – I could try to describe this, but there is no better description than what is on the Green Iguana’s Bar and Grill Menu – Caution! Contents extremely explosive – a Caribbean – spiced grilled burger with the Lizard’s Lava BBQ sauce and tobacco onions.

Breakfast – Lenny’s. There aren’t words in the English language that does this diner justice. So I won’t use proper English…just phrases. Complementary Danish. Phils tickets sold over a loudspeaker. Redneck Benedict. English muffin, sausage, egg, country gravy. Side pancakes. Side home fries. Bagel. Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod.

Lunch – Baseball, hot dog, beer.

Dinner – The Original Hooters. Unfortunately, disappointing. The boneless tenders came out lukewarm. And that there, is the biggest no-no in food. You know what, I’m gonna say, I’m done with Hooters. That’s right. Finished. With the blossoming of Buffalo Wild Wings and its selection of wing sauces, Hooters just doesn’t have the selection a curious and aggressive wing-eater needs. And I need. Spend 5 minutes here and you’ll see what I mean.

Breakfast – Ummmmm, Lenny’s. Went with the Corned Beef Hash this time around. Comack got the Brooklyn Trifecta….potato knish and cheese blintzes the size of a football. Click here for food.

Lunch – Baseball, Hot Dogs, Beer.

Dinner – Bella’s: Um, yea, we’ll be back here next year. Caesar Salad, Seafood Pasta, walking distance from MacDinton’s and The Rack. Somebody tell me what it is about homestyle Italian cooking that warrants a spare change of underpants? The sauce? The smell? The wine? The walking distance from trashy Irish bars? Whatever it is, my stomach gave me a big high five that night and then a kick to the shins in the morning.

See you next year, folks.

Photo: Fellow Spring Training participant, jakesg 

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  • BS March 24, 2008  

    Redneck Benedict? Please explain.

  • broadandpattison March 24, 2008  

    Redneck Benedict – this is your usual eggs benedict but with more slop than style. 2 halves of a toasted english muffin topped with 2 sausage patties, topped with one fried egg each, smothered in country gravy. you actually get the symptoms of a heart attack – high blood pressure, shortness of breath, before you start eating.

  • belmontmedina March 25, 2008  

    I went to Tampa for the Outback Bowl last year- my friend and I rolled into that Hooters to drink away the post-game hangover…and proceeded to have the WORST experience of our life. You know how some people are terrified of clowns? I will always be terrified of the fry cooks at Hooters.

  • Yvo March 25, 2008  

    I would like this post more with pictures of the food please! 🙂

  • Pingback: Hott Link: Phils Drink October 27, 2008  

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