City: St. Louis, Missouri
Foodie: Aaron Hooks, Cards Diaspora; InsideSTL.com
Venue: Busch Stadium
Address: 700 Clark Ave, St Louis, MO 63102
Team: St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
St. Louisan’s like their food like they like their women- fat and sloppy. Hence this nugget from SportsService, the official food and beverage vendor of Busch Stadium III, shouldn’t surprise you: “Cardinals fans in 2008 consumed more nacho cheese than in any other Major League Baseball stadium.”
During the course of my e-mail exchange with SS’s director of Standing Partnership, the wonderful Kristin Gumper, I wondered how Cardinals fans could consume more cheese than any other baseball venue, yet lag into the double digits when it comes to tortilla chips. “St. Louis fans put cheese on everything.” says SportsService, “We sell almost as much cheese on the side in cups as we dispense on nacho chips.”
Makes sense. Cheesy pretzels. Cheesy hot dogs. Hell, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some guy put cheese on his cheese. It’s not the quality; stupid… it’s the quantity. And when you come to St. Louis in the summer to watch Cardinals baseball, well, you’re going to get a lot of something (beer, food, VD’s). Don’t like it? You can take your fancy pants to San Francisco.
Recently the pride and joy of being a St. Louis resident was ripped by those evil child molesting (probably) Belgians. Anheuser-Bush was bought by InBev and one of America’s last, great independent companies became just another huge conglomerate more worried about the stock ticker than the taste buds of people drinking their beer. (Although, some may ask what the difference between Bud Light and tap water actually is.) Jingoism aside, beer consumption- and more specifically Bud, Bud Light, Bud Select, Michelob, Mich Light and the Michelob family of beers is the main course, the meal, if you will, when you’re in and around Busch Stadium. Not A meal. Not part of the meal… THE meal.
Alyssa Horace, 23, of Clayton MO explains: “I think most girls over the age of twenty one and under the age of 30 prefer to drink their meals.... Mmmmmm.... Bud Light.... so yummy. Wieners usually follow... I'm talking about the kind that come in a bun.... and no not the kind you're probably thinking. Get your head out of the gutter!”
If you served the food SportsService does to Cardinals fans in a restaurant, you’d be shot. But since you’re pretty sloppy drunk people have a pretty favorable view of the fare. Seeing as this is a website dedicated solely to the food, this particular column may seem unnecessarily harsh. Just remember that we, and probably you, would like the food roughly 7 to 10 times better after 6 massive 32 oz. Bud Diesels.
To make it as easy as possible, let’s break this down into 3 categories: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Cool? I’ve even tossed the food query out to several Cardinal fans that attend games regularly for their input. Some of their quotes are below…
- Beer. If you aren’t drinking, you aren’t trying.
- Bratzel. NY Times approved!
- "I personally am a big fan of "the dessert cart." If you are lucky enough to visit the "exclusive suites" there is a dessert cart that comes around during the latter half of the game. It is heaven on wheels! A true vehicle of pleasure at your suite doorstep! It boasts trays of cakes, cookies, bars and more. Some of its specialties include Crème Brule Cheesecake, 6-Layer red velvet Cardinals Cake, chocolate and white chocolate brownies, fruit cups, ice cream bowls, 5-layer carrot cake, Death-by-Chocolate Cake, cookies as big as your head, chocolate mousse, and on and on. That is the sweet to usually a bitter defeat you are watching on the field! Well and that and beers large enough to sit in = heaven!” Kerin Abbey, 29, O’Fallon MO
- Nachos: Like we mentioned before, not good on the surface, but a Cardinal tradition. “I don’t like these nachos at all. They are soggy, the cheese is bland and the jalapenos give me explosive bowel movements. In short, they are my favorite Busch Stadium food.” Ryan Riggle, 32, Fenton MO
- Fountain Soda: The fact that that this cracks the ‘Good’ list should speak volumes. That being said, this soda takes like liquid cocaine. Or so I assume. Sniff.
- Asian Action Cart: Overcoming a terrible name is one thing, but trying to convince drunken hoosiers that al la cart stir-fry is a good idea in 98 degrees and 120% humidity is a different beast. The food isn’t in and of itself terrible, but the placement is a little bit like a having a porno on at a prison-not smart thinking.
- Fry Action Stand: Create your own fries. #1 topping? You guessed it- cheese! A promising addition to the roster in 2008 couldn’t quite make it to the good list since the namesake of the stand were limper than Hugh Jackman at the Bunny Ranch.
- Hot Dogs/Brats: Much better in the New Busch Stadium than the old one. Kosher dogs are available and all are grilled on actual grills now with onions and kraut options that are free. I think they actually chopped Larry Bigbe up and made sausages out of him now that I think about it.
- “I'm far more concerned with the BBQ outside of the strip clubs- I end up in Sauget after most games. That being said, it's the best BBQ in the country.” Chris Jenkins, 28, San Diego CA.
- Pizza: Papa John’s has it’s integration in some stands, but in other pricier seats the ‘Za is made by hand. Bread, tomato paste and cheese is pretty hard to F up. Luckily Busch Stadium doesn’t too bad. It’s pretty doughy for a city that is famous for thin crust pies.
- Hardees’s: A huge fast food restaurant featuring gigantic thick burgers and 800 calorie diet busting meal deals? Fits in much more conspicuously than you’d imagine.
- Funnel Cakes: And as a special bonus the stand only hires reformed sex offenders!
- Toasted Ravioli: A STL tradition gone horribly, horribly wrong. I’m pretty sure they’re using cat meat. Stray cat meat.
- Popcorn: A double whammy of tasting like its 3 days old and having enough salt to give deer heart attacks.
- “Don’t get the chicken breast. Please.” Gina Alles, 29, St. Louis MO.
- Philly Cheese Steaks: Have you ever tasted death in between two buns? Do you want to?
- Fried Cannelloni: With a name like SportsService, how could you not make fried cannelloni to die for? Also, people reading this that have actually been to Busch Stadium will be shocked this is on the menu. I’m sure of that.
- Hot Chocolate: Most certainly the vilest thing to ever cross your mouth in public. Unless you’ve happened to have given head to Rosie O’Donnell. Hi-yo!~
- Chialquillas (pronounced chill - a - key - es) A traditional Mexican corn tortilla casserole (nacho casserole): corn tortillas tossed w/ chorizo sausage, corn, black beans and a spicy chile-tomato sauce. This may be an action station as well as an item sold in the El Birdos concession stands.
- BBQ Pork Potato Skins
- Smoked Beef Brisket Enchiladas w/ caramelized onions and white cheddar.
- Lobster-Potato Crepes w/ Sherried Corn Cream
Aaron Hooks writes regularly for www.CardsDiaspora.com
And every Monday for www.InsideSTL.com