Best Ballpark Eats

Primanti’s “Pitts-Burgher” Cheese Steak
Primanti’s “Pitts-Burgher” Cheese Steak

As I mentioned in this post, I’m not a big sports fan. There was a brief period of time during college that I became a major Penn State football devotee, but, generally, I don’t watch sports on TV.

Although you won’t find me cheering for anyone on football Sunday, watching a live game is a completely different story. Until my first Devil’s game a few years ago, I never knew how exciting it is to watch hockey, and after joining a friend for a bull riding (PBR) event, I was amazed that I was so entertained. While baseball is a sleepy sport at heart, walking around the stadium with my baseball-loving boyfriend and a cold beer makes even a boring match up a fun afternoon.

My first memories of watching baseball come from my Uncle Joe, a long time Yankees season ticket holder who would invite me to a game when he had an extra ticket. Joe would always bring a mini grill, and a cooler filled with beer and sandwiches, and we would have a small tailgate in the parking lot before the first pitch. Not only did this save us money (beers at Yankee Stadium average about $10 or more), but we were spared the also overpriced, and not so tasty ballpark food.

After years of baseball fans expressing their desire for better food concessions, most ballparks have decided to up their game recently. While there’s still room for improvement, (see this article about Yankee Stadium’s “craft beer”), here’s a list of some of the best – albeit extremely unhealthy – ballpark food I’ve had.

A note to readers: Walter and I attended games at the stadiums mentioned below sometime between 2010 and 2012. The menu items may have changed since then (ex. Ichiroll) and, this food was consumed before I started eliminating animal products from diet. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, this list of PETA’s Top Ten Veggie Friendly Ballparks is a great resource, but if you do some research before you go, you’ll find most ballparks will be accommodating to your dietary needs and preferences.

More importantly, my sincerest condolences to the Red Sox hometown, and my New England neighbor to the north, Boston, for Monday’s tragic bombing.

Yankees

Yankee StadiumBronx, NY. Fried Pickles and (the adorable) Yankees Ice Cream Cap. As I mentioned above, sports food absolutely sways to the unhealthy side of the pendulum, and the cuisine at Yankee Stadium is no exception. If you don’t mind eating fried foods on occasion, try the tender and briny fried pickles, and, since ice cream tastes better served in Yankees cap, stop by a Carvel stand for a cool serving of nostalgia.

PNC Park Pittsburgh

PNC Park, Pittsburgh – Primanti Bros. Sandwich. Pittsburgh’s most famous sandwich has an outpost at the Pirate’s waterfront stadium. Thick white break slices are topped with french fries, coleslaw, tomatoes, and your choice of meat. I went with the original “Pitts-Burgher” Cheese Steak. Indulgent, and horrible for your heart and waist line? Yes, but at least try it once.

Fenway Park, Boston – Lobster RollsThe entire East Coast, and perhaps the rest of the country, have embraced this New England classic, but no ballpark does it better than Fenway. Honorable mention: Beer. Because of their affiliation with Sam Adams, their beer selection is one of the better ones I’ve seen, and is (somewhat) fairly priced.

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia – Crab Fries. The name is deceiving because, well there is no crab on the crab fries. Instead, they use a healthy spoonful of Old Bay seasoning on golden french fries making them tangy and a little spicy.

Citi Field Mets, Queens, NY – Shake Shack Milk Shake. Whether you love this now famous New York chain or think their burgers are overrated (like me), their sweet and creamy shakes help beat the heat on sweltering summer days at the park.

Seattle Baseball

Safeco Field, Seattle – Of all the parks mentioned in this post, Safeco is the overall winner for quality, taste and choices. Walter and I both got an Ichiroll, and, if you’re wondering if eating sushi at a ballpark is a good idea? It is. The tuna tasted fresh and though the roll was fairly simple, it was delicious. We also split an order of Garlic Fries – if only because we could smell them from across the park. They weren’t overly greasy and were packed with chunks of garlic – yum.

What’s the best food you’ve had at a sports game? Leave a comment below!

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