We’re talkin’ ballpark food for this week’s Who Cooked It Better, inspired by the New York Times’ Travel Section. Food writer Peter Meehan had the enviable assignment of traveling to all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums and sampling their many edible offerings. Of course, this being the New York Times, the baseball food they cover is less beer and pretzels, more Champagne and edamame. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather not sample the eel nigiri while sitting in the bleacher seats. In fact, I’m pretty sure that half the things on the Times list would get you a bloody nose if you’re sitting anywhere outside the executive suites. I’m not saying you have to always go for that slimy boiled hot dog that’s been sitting in warm water for god knows how long, or the “nachos” that are served in a plastic bag. But if we’re going to call it America’s pastime, it must surely be consumed with some sort of food smothered in cheese, grease, and other glorious fatness.
So while the Times writes for the black AMEX crowd, we’ve been scouring the Times online commenters, who are weighing in on the less fancy eats that the story chose to ignore.
Here’s our alternative list (with many thanks to all the angry NYT commenters) of America’s greasiest, cheesiest, most heart-stoppingly amazing ballpark food. Read through to the end to cast your vote for the best.
Washington Nationals – Ben’s Chili Bowl Fully Loaded Half Smoke
Photo: This is Gonna Be Good
It’s unclear how the Times got through a visit to the new Nationals Park without smelling out the offerings from DC’s legendary Ben’s Chili Bowl. I’m still not sure exactly what half-smoke means, but hotdamn it is some kinda tasty sausage. Ben’s fully loaded version is topped with chili, chopped onions, grated cheddar and yellow mustard. Don’t even think about not siding this with some of the world’s best cheese fries.
Baltimore Orioles – Boog’s BBQ Sandwich
Times commenters are up in arms that the article missed the pit smoked pulled pork sandwich offered at Camden Yards. You won’t find a brioche or baguette slice here – the plain old doughy roll is only along for soaking up the gooey Jack Daniels BBQ sauce. Bonus: It’s served up by former Orioles first baseman Boog Powell.
Chicago White Sox – Elotes Corn
The Times says to avoid everything at the Sox’ new stadium, and let’s just say we hope their reporter doesn’t find himself in a back alley on South Side Chicago, because these people are pretty passionate about their corn. Dissed by the paper as “mushy,” and “overcooked,” the corn in question is fresh roasted on the cob, and then sliced off and topped with salt, butter, lime, red pepper and mexican white cheese. Sounds a little healthy for baseball – we could do with some pork fat drizzled on top – but elotes sure looks like great summertime eats.
New York Mets – Mama’s Italian Special Sandwich
True Mets fans know that when the game gets boring, the place to head isn’t the Nathan’s hot dog stand, but the Mama’s of Corona outpost on the field level. Thinly sliced pepper ham and Genoa salami are piled on an Italian roll, topped off with fresh mozzarella and olive oil. Mini containers of roasted red peppers and mushroom served on the side almost push this one into the “fancy enough for the New York Times” category; you’ll just have to reserve those for throwing at the umpire.
Cleveland Indians – Stadium Mustard
Photo: gezellig girl
OK, I’m not quite sure what all the Indians fans are talking about here, but holy crap these people enjoy their mustard. The “Stadium Mustard,” is perhaps the most mentioned item in the Times comments, and there is nary a word of hot dogs, burgers, or anything else to put it on. What’s the deal here, Cleveland? Do you drink it straight from the bottle? Layer it on a hot dog bun? Do tell, cuz whatever it is, I’m about to order a case.
Your votes please…