City: Memphis, Tennessee
Foodie: MoonDog, The World According to MoonDog

Venue: FedEXForum
Address: 200 South Third Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103
Teams: Memphis Grizzlies (NBA); Memphis Tigers (NCAA)


MoonDog's Taste:

Located at the corner of South Third Street and historic Beale Street, The FedEXForum was built in the heart of downtown Memphis at a cost of $250 million and has been the home of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis Tigers since 2004.

There are four primary restaurants and 18 concessionaires within FedExForum with bills of fare ranging from the exclusive to the average grub found at most any sports bar.

Menus are available for fans seated in the lower bowl and the wait staffs from all of the concessionaires will take your order from your seat. Fans can order just about anything they'd expect and perhaps a few items they wouldn't normally find on an arena menu. Snacks, beer and soft drinks are available at every concession location.

Fans attending a game at the FedEXForum can expect to pay anywhere between $20 for a burger, nachos and a beer to $150 for the prime rib at the Opus Restaurant.

The FedEXForum also provides party suites with typical menu selections and varying prices. To view the menu packages and cost of renting a suite for a Grizzlies' game, click here.

The most upscale of all the restaurants found within FedEXForum is the Opus, located on the First Tennessee Club Level with seating for up to 350 guests. The menu features prime meats, chicken, seafood and gourmet salads and prices range from $140 to $150 per guest.


Also located on the First Tennessee Club Level, the Blue Note Lounge offers light food including hand-carved sandwiches and sushi. The Blue Note can seat up to 200 guests and meal prices range from $90 to $120 per guest.


The Opus Restaurant and the Blue Note Lounge are available only to premium seating ticket holders.

The most popular bar at FedEXForum is Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Sports Bar. Located on the Plaza Level near the Grand Lobby, the bar is accessible to all guests and offers an outdoor patio.

Jack Daniel's is a true sports bar with 22 TV's to watch the game while you enjoy a sandwich, wings or a cold beer. You can spend the entire time at the Forum in JD's place and you won't have to spend a lot of money doing so. A meal with a few drinks will cost you less than $35.

Lexus Lounge is located on the Event Level and is another casual restaurant featuring a backstage view of the hallway leading from the locker rooms to the court. Lexus Lounge is open to ticket holders in the first seven rows at the Courtside level.

Lexus, like Jack Daniel's, has TV's to watch the game and offers a fairly similar menu at the same cost.

Here's a list of all the concessionaires and their locations within the arena:

Plaza Level

Snax, Delta Grill, and Flip Side Diner has grilled burgers and other fan favorites, including BBQ Nachos. Rock Around The Clock features grilled burgers, BBQ specialties and Memphis Hot Wings.

The Metronome Bar offers specialty cocktail or frozen drinks. Beale Street Eats and Crossroads Café offer the Fork and Knife Chili Dog, specialty sandwiches and ice cream.

Spin Pizza serves up pizza and flatbread sandwiches, while Juke Joint Subs offers oven toasted subs and salads.

First Tennessee Club Level

UpTempo Grill and 4/4 Grill feature grilled burgers and hot dogs, French fries four ways, BBQ sandwiches and BBQ nachos.

Terrace Level

Open Mike’s Grill, High Note Grill and Rock-A-Belly’s offer flame broiled burgers and hot dogs, fries and BBQ nachos.

Lucille’s Kitchen has local favorites including fried catfish, popcorn chicken and Memphis Hot Wings. Chart Toppers offers up pizza, hot sandwiches and salads.

DJ Dogs proves that there is more than one way to enjoy a hot dog. The Remix Bar offers the opportunity to sample frozen specialties and cocktails.

Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous

If arena food isn't your thing, fear not, there are plenty of options available to you within a short walking distance from the FedEXForum.


Whether you reside in Memphis or are just visiting you'll soon discover the Bluff City is all about one main food item - BBQ. Recognized as the BBQ capital of the Milky Way, Memphis has over 100 restaurants specializing in BBQ.

My personal favorite is a Memphis landmark, the Rendezvous. Located at 52 South Second Street, just four-tenths of a mile from FedEXForum, the Rendezvous offers the best dry ribs in Memphis.


If ribs aren't your thing you can try the chicken or smoked sausage. Everything on the menu is good and comes with sides that include BBQ beans and cole slaw.

Add a cold beer or two into the mix and you've just had a great meal for less than $25.00. The Rendezvous is family friendly and the service is among the best, if not the best of any restaurant in Memphis.


Beale Street

If you feel like bar-hopping before or after the game, walk along Beale Street and discover any number of merchants offering a wide range of food, drink and music.

Beale Street can be easily accessed from the main entrance of FedEXForum. The street is barricaded to allow patrons safe walking between merchants and the only motorized traffic you'll find will be the Memphis Police Department, and most of them are on bicycles or horseback.


Beale Street offers family entertainment as well as fun for the adults. To view a list of all Beale Street merchants, click here.

For fans visiting Memphis for a Grizzlies' or Tigers' game, the menu options, drinks and other forms of entertainment are plentiful. You can enjoy just about any type of food you like and the costs aren't going to put a major dent in your wallet.


10:49 AM | , , | 1 comments »

BallHype: hype it up!

City: Chicago, Illinois
Foodie: JD, Not Qualified to Comment

Venue: Wrigley Field
Address: 1060 W Addison St., Chicago, IL 60613
Team: Chicago Cubs (MLB)

JD's Taste:

Chicago is known for its heavy, filling and delicious food. From Deep Dish Pizza to Italian Beef sandwiches, it is the city of big shoulders and big heart attacks. Wrigley Field is no different. The food is not always spectacular, but it will definitely give you a few moments of chest pain. Don’t worry though, that just let’s you know you’re still alive.

Wrigley Field is the most beautiful place in the world to see a baseball game. In May, the smell of fresh grass and polish sausages mix with views of beautiful vines on the outfield wall to remind old and young people alike what baseball used to be. The smells of the food are all a part of the experience, and there are many options when you are at the ballpark.

The Usual

Wrigley Field has the usual array of ballpark food. The hot dogs aren’t bad, but I recommend getting a kosher dog. Even though they are a bit more expensive, the meat is clearly higher quality. The nachos, popcorn, super ropes, and cotton candy are all standard as far as ballpark food goes. Nothing special about those.

A little advice on the peanuts at Wrigley: I’m not sure if other fields are like this, but peanut vendors circle the outside of the park like vultures exclaiming that peanuts are cheaper on the outside. This is completely false. I had/have many friends that vend, the peanuts are not cheaper on the outside and you might even get hassled trying to bring them into the park! Just wait until you get inside, it makes no difference.

The Different

At almost every hot dog stand in the park you can also get polish sausage or a brat. I personally love the polish sausage, but either one is great. You can get it with sauerkraut or grilled onions, but I highly recommend the grilled onions, they are delicious. Also if you are feeling really risky, there are a few stands scattered throughout the concourse that sell foot-long dogs. They are so unwieldy that it’s as much a show as a meal to eat them, but they are very tasty. I know there is one such stand in the new center field concession stand area behind the scoreboard.


The Italian beef sandwiches are amazing. You can get them with sweet and hot peppers but make sure to ask for them to put extra au jus on the sandwich. If not it will be very dry and not as heart-clogging.

Also, randomly, Connie’s Pizza has had a deal with the Cubs for what seems like forever. You can get a slice of pan pizza (not exactly deep dish, but not really thin crust) from Connie’s, but beware of the high prices. It is a decent slice of pizza, but not the best value.

After The Game

Tuscany right outside the field on Clark is delicious if you are in the mood for Italian. They have delicious pastas and you can take a date here after the game. It’s not only for dates though, and judging by my experience, you will probably be a little sauced when you stumble out of the stadium. Don’t worry, there are TVs showing games and the staff is willing to talk sports with you. You can also try Mia Francesca for good prices and decent food if you are looking for Italian.

There are a few good Mexican restaurants around the field, but El Jardin is the best for a quick burrito and that margarita that puts you just over the top from ballpark drunk to head in the toilet drunk.


For pizza, Giordano’s is right down Sheffield on Belmont. The deep dish there is amazing. You can get good deep dish in the city any time though. I feel strange saying this, but actually there is a thin-crust place I recommend even more, called Ian’s. It just moved in on Clark right by the field. You can get all kinds of crazy slices, from mac and cheese to Philly cheesesteak.

The best hot dogs in the city come with the most attitude. Weiner’s Circle is located about a mile south of the park on Clark. It has some of the best hot dogs ever. Order a char dog and cheese fries. The char dog is a hot dog that is actually grilled until it is slightly blackened. Be careful if you ask for your hot dog “with everything” though. In Chicago that means mustard, hot peppers, relish, tomatoes, raw onions, a pickle and celery salt. Also no one in Chicago puts ketchup on hot dogs, so ask for it separately if you want it (though personally that sounds gross to me).


Brat photo credit: jeffreyaki's photostream
Weiner's Circle: ajdavis' photostream


12:34 PM | , | 3 comments »

BallHype: hype it up!

City: College Park, MD
Foodie: Brien, East Coast Bias

Venue(s): Byrd Stadium, Comcast Center
Address: University of Maryland, College Park MD, 20742
Team: University of Maryland Football and Basketball


Brien's Taste:

Overcooked, overpriced, and underwhelming are the three first words that come to mind when contemplating Maryland's stadium fare. The school's Dining Services Department (which also runs the cafeterias) provides the majority of the food at both basketball and football games. The choices are uninspired, with minimal contributions from local cuisine.

The Boring

Hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn left under a heat lamp for hours, stale nachos with congealing cheese-from-a-can, and chewy, often cold soft pretzels

The Poorly Executed

Invariably, I see the funnel cake sign above one of the concession stands and have a hopeful moment ("Funnel cake? I love funnel cake!") before remembering that the stadium funnel cake always ends up being crunchy, with none of the fluffy deliciousness that makes funnel cake wonderful.


The Unknowns

I haven't personally tried any of the more interesting (and that is a relative term) fare at Byrd or Comcast due to the exorbitant prices. I do, however, feel comfortable passing judgment on them anyway. Italian sausages, pulled pork sandwiches, and crab cakes are what pass for specialty foods at the Maryland concession stands. Crab cakes sound like a great idea, until you see the price, think about what goes on in the concession stand kitchens, and realize that crab cakes are not appropriate stadium food.

The Abomination Before God

Pepsi. Like the entire campus, Byrd and Comcast only serve Pepsi products. Oh, and no alcohol. At least the University has lifted a multi-year ban on soda cup lids instituted after some idiot pegged Carlos Boozer's mom in the head with a water bottle. The administration has now deemed the fan base mature enough to have cups of soda with a lids on them. Until someone throws another one.

The Attempt to Improve Town-Gown Relations

The concession stands at Byrd Stadium and Comcast Center are either manned by student groups or local sports teams who are fundraising. This sometimes works out well - anybody who has been to a game at Nats Park can tell you that the "professionals" hired by Centerplate to operate those concession stands have roughly the same demeanor as Adebisi from Oz. The "amateur" concessionaires at Byrd and Comcast are much more friendly, polite, and helpful. This sometimes doesn't work out so well when you have some 15-year-old's eyes bulging out of his head as he tries to manage a line 50-people deep at halftime at Byrd Stadium and you end up with Sierra Mist that was supposed to go to the guy two people in front of you instead of the Diet Pepsi you ordered (see abomination, supra).

The Saving Grace

If you attend a University of Maryland sporting event with an empty stomach, there is one item on the menu that will save you from financial ruin and gastric distress: Boardwalk Fries. Maryland's own take on French Fries (doused with apple cider vinegar and Old Bay for the best flavor) is the only redeeming quality to concessions and the University's sporting events. The fries are always hot, salty, and perfectly cooked. The vinegar softens them up a little bit, and the Old Bay makes the whole dish distinctively Maryland. This is the one thing you can't pass up at a Maryland event.


After the Game


Since you worked up an appetite cheering for the Terps (and bypassing the stadium fare), you should treat yourself to some of the finer foods College Park has to offer. Route 1 is packed with chain restaurants of varying quality (DP Dough and Chipotle are my recommendations), but no trip to College Park is complete without a milkshake from the University of Maryland Dairy (also available in the dining halls). The rumor around campus was that the University couldn't sell the ultra-creamy milkshakes off-campus because their high fat content violated FDA regulations. It may or may not be true, but you can't go wrong with a possibly-illegal milkshake. Also, you have to hit up Ratsie's (with a name like this, you can't go wrong) for some pitchers of Yuengling and calzones. Or, say hello to Maryland's own legend, Cluck-UPac at Cluck U. Go for the atomic wings, stay for the guy who looks like Tupac brought back from the dead who randomly sits in on Maryland classes just to get some free education.


Byrd Stadium photo credit: FansOnly/Sportsline
Comcast Center: Baltimore Sun
Wings: TradeSecretsBlog


11:00 AM | , , | 4 comments »

BallHype: hype it up!

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Foodie: James Beale, The Sports Complex

Venue: Citizens Bank Park
Address: 1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Team: Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)

James' Taste:

Mark Twain's wife, annoyed by his constant swearing, once decided to cure him of the habit by swearing herself. Twain listened to her for a while before delivering his response: "The words are right, but the rhythm is wrong."

The food at Citizens’ Bank Park, the home of the 2008 World Phucking Champions, is like that. The names – Tony Luke’s, Rick’s, Chickie & Pete’s, and McNally’s are among the big boys, thorough enough to impress even the most dyed-in-the-delph locals. But if it’s natural rhythm and cadence you’re after, your best bet might be the stadium-food standbys.

The truth about Stadium food at CBP is that – aside from the surprisingly excellent Bull’s BBQ, where you can cop a Turkey Leg that could double as a club in a pinch and catch Phillies legend Greg “The Bull” Luzinski mingling with the crowds outside– it’s made for outsiders. Is it dope that Tony Luke’s is making your sandwich? Yeah, of course, but smart locals are copping one from the original half a dozen blocks away and bringing it in anyway. I’ve heard plenty of people rave about McNally’s Schmitter, never the native Chestnut Hillers who grew up drinking beers at the original McNally’s while their fathers sat at the other end of the bar and pretended not to see them.

Not that this is wholly a knock mind you, Tony Luke’s worst is better than Shea “home of the NL East runner ups” Stadium’s best. Critics ranging from the New York Times to the Food Network to Philadelphia Weekly have noticed, naming the Bank as the shining star of stadium gluttony. Besides, the Phils do do typical stadium fare better than most. Per ounce (and really, is there any other way to drink beer?), the Bank sells the cheapest beer in major league baseball, along with a nice cross section of higher-end drafts.

What wins CPB awards may be the big names and myriad vegetarian options (most veggie conscious stadium in the bigs – who knew?). But what separates it from rest is the options. The tourists have their cheesesteaks, the suburbanites have their schmitters, the yuppie’s can sit in Harry the Ks, and the 20 gamers can enjoy a beer with Greg “The Bull” Luzinski at his BBQ stop.


As for the have-to-mentions:

  • Dollar Dogs. The Bank’s aren’t awful as far as stadium dogs go, but they aren’t noteworthy either. Still, what the dogs lack in flair they make up for in volume – the Phillies have ‘dollar dog nights’ maybe a half dozen a year, when college students hit the tailgate early and end up ankle-deep in hot dog wrappers – it that sounds repulsive, skip the date and catch the next game. If it sounds like the perfect way to spend a summer night; well, cop a rack, set up in FDR, and join the happy crowds in the cheap seats.

  • Crab Fries. I’m going to get raked over the coals for saying this, but sprinkling old bay seasoning on normal fries really shouldn’t increase their price by $4.



  • Rick’s Steaks. For the visitor who needs the “authentic Philly cheesesteak” and isn’t afraid to wait for it. Even at the ballpark Rick’s is Rick’s, so order a wiz wit and act proud that you know how to talk like a real, live local.



  • McFadden’s. An in-stadium bar that lets the clever drunk get around the 7th inning cut-off, McFadden isn’t an awful option for what it is. Come for the shots, stadium, and camaraderie during the playoffs and for a postgame order of wings during that mid-august series against Cincinnati.

  • Harry the K’s. I touched on it before, but Harry the K’s is the rare stadium bar/overlook that you can sit at all game and not feel totally out of place. New stadiums often get knocked for their specialty locales, where non-fans go and drink white wine with their backs to the action. Not true of the K’s.

  • Everything else. For all the effort the park puts into local food and flair, it’s a shame that none of it can be had on the second deck. If you’re in the terrace level and want a cheesesteak you’re either eating the generic, or making a full inning and a half trip downstairs. If you’re not there early, or set with gorgeous seats, you’re better off drinking your dinner.

Still, all the faults with CPB are faults of standards, which may tell of just how elite the food really is. Maybe the rhythm is wrong, but I’ll be damned if they phucked up the words.

CBP photo credit: wallyg's photostream
Chickie & Pete's; Rick's: Cavalier92's photostream
Bull: PRWeb


8:00 AM | , | 2 comments »

BallHype: hype it up!

City: Boston/Foxboro, Massachusettes
Foodie: James Christensen, NE Patriots Draft

Venue: Gillette Stadium
Address: 1 Patriot Place, Foxborough, Massachusetts 02035
Team(s): New England Patriots (NFL), New England Revolution (MLS)

James' Taste:

When visiting Boston to watch the New England Patriots, you will need a mouth like Joey Porter to enjoy all the amazing culinary treats. We'll let you know where to go the day before the game and on gameday.

Before the Game

A trip to Legal Seafoods is a good place to start for anyone wishing to enjoy some chowdah, lobster, oysters, and clams. The Union Oyster House is also a must for any seafood buff -- the scrod is always great, and their cherrystones were spot on.


Bonfire was a great choice for those bringing a significant other along on the excursion. They have some great Kobe beef, and their halibut on a bed of dandelion greens and stone fruit, adorned with foie gras and popcorn was perhaps the best dish my wife has ever had.


Finale is your ultimate stop for desserts, as their gelato is to die for. You should also try their molten chocolate cake.



Gameday


What better place to pre-tailgate than a Dunkin' Donuts parking lot? A large regular and some doughnuts get you in the mood for some more advanced fare later.


The CBS Scene was quite a place. The menu was pretty scarce on Opening Day when we dined there, but what they did have was pretty good. The atmosphere was nice, as the interactive TV's were a nice feature.

While actually in Gillette Stadium, you may want to refrain from actually eating anything. All the normal stadium fare is just as you'd imagine it, expensive and underwhelming. Other than the Granite State Grill burgers, save up for tailgating.

After the win, have a Sam Adams or four at the Cask'n Flagon. It's a great place to celebrate, as you get proximity chills from Fenway park.


Gillette Stadium photo credit: snowriderguy's photostream


2:24 PM | , , | 3 comments »

BallHype: hype it up!

City: Los Angeles, CA
Foodie: Adam Rose, All Things Trojan

Venue(s): Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles Sports Arena, Galen Center, and other USC athletic facilities. (Geography note: Somebody might tell you that the Staples Center and Dodger Stadium are "downtown" as well, but they're worlds apart from USC.)
Address: 3911 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Team(s): University of Southern California and a large number of special events, including the Angel City Classic and international soccer matches.

Adam's Taste:

It's hard to find decent fare inside USC's main venues and there's no real food "tradition" inside the gates. Same goes for on-campus eateries. If you're not tailgating (highly recommended), it's best to hit up the local establishments before and after. Remember that most are located immediately north of campus, which is a healthy walk from the Coliseum. At least you'll build up an appetite. Also, be warned ... the Coliseum banned alcohol a few years ago. No suds for you, unless you hoist 'em beforehand.

Avoid ducking into the generic fast food dumps that haunt the neighborhood. Sure, the greater USC area is considered a desert surrounded by the lush culinary landscape of Los Angeles (unless you ARE a lush, in which case greasy is good), but you can always find a tasty oasis.

Campus classics:

All these venues are actually just off campus. Any USC alumnus who can't describe them probably went to the University of South Carolina by mistake.

901 Bar and Grill

Arguably the epicenter of USC nightlife, the Nine-Oh (as it's better known) is a popular hangout for the school's undergraduate population. It's located at the east end of Frat Row (28th Street), which is responsible for most of the evening clientele. During the day, in addition to a full bar, they serve traditional American fare. The pizza has won awards at local food festivals. Older Trojans won't recognize the place since a renovation over the summer of 2007, when it was transformed from a dirty dive bar into a true local's spot. During games, crowds of all ages can be found wearing beer soaked t-shirts or slacks and ties, so come as you are.

29th Street Cafe

Located on the west end of Frat Row, this pleasant cafe is a good place to bring the family and still enjoy a nice beer on tap. A diverse and hearty menu is sure to please all comers, and they feature indoor and outdoor seating. If you're visiting from a region where they don't serve sweet potato fries, make sure to try them out.

Chanos

This place defines the word "grub." A glorified taco stand, Chanos is considered by some to be the ultimate in college dining. Serving up excellent carne asada at a price that can't be beat, they have extended hours and are good for a snack or meal before, after, or looooong after the game. For those in need of some serious grease, try the Special Quesadilla, featuring grilled onions, peppers, and pastrami. A vocal group of Trojans believes that Chanos pales in comparison to a strip-mall restaurant across the street called La Taquiza. Both are good, but Chanos has longer hours and is the one true local legend.

Cultural experience:

These spots are a little more of a hike, but offer a nice change of pace.

Bacaro

Only open for a couple years, this wine bar blends sophistication with comfort food. You won't find anywhere else around campus to enjoy a fine Italian wine along with a plate of sausage. Changing specials and various messages can be found scribbled in chalk on the wall. If you want to impress a date or feel a little more cultured, you can't miss here.

La Barca

Legendary around USC for their $2 margarita happy hour on Tuesdays, this is also a good place to sit down and enjoy some good Mexican food with a large group of friends. Expect a wait on evenings and when the Trojans play in the Coliseum.

Manas

Overlooked by many at USC, Manas boasts authentic Indian cuisine. The school enrolls more foreign students than any other American university, and a large number of them miss the home cooking in India. Manas is their answer, and a treat for anybody who can find it hiding on the corner of Hoover and 29th Street.

Street Meat:

Typically unlicensed, inevitably delicious. Eat at your own risk.

Bacon wrapped hot dogs

If you need a zillion calories of savory, meaty joy on a grease-slogged bun, take a deep whiff and wander towards this irresistible smell. Served off of street carts during games and frequently chased away by local law enforcement, you may be gambling with your health. You may also experience the most delicious thing ever.


Taco Trucks

Manhattan has the slice. Philly has the cheesesteak. Los Angeles has the taco truck. It's holy grail of Los Angeles food. Most of them have regular hours and locations, but they're subject to change like the bacon wrapped hot dog carts. Local permit enforcement has led to a "carne asada is not a crime" rallying cry. Unfortunately, they can be really hard to find on game day. If you see a "roach coach" while you're in town, odds are it's different from the kind you're used to. With an emphasis on Mexican food, it's the quintessential Los Angeles chow.


Colosseum & 901 photo credit: LA Times Blogs
Bacon Hot Dogs: jslander's photostream
Taco Truck: joepyrek's photostream


9:14 AM | , | 2 comments »

BallHype: hype it up!

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…

THE GOOD

Try the nachos.
  • 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.
THE BAD

Better pizza?
  • 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!
THE UGLY

Cat food.
  • 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!~
As a special bonus and just because we care… SportsService has revealed exclusively to FanFoodie.com the new menu items coming to Busch Stadium in 2009 (all tentative and subject to change…)
  • 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
That’s it. That’s the food review for Busch Stadium in downtown St Louis MO, home of the 2009 All-Star Game. Happy eating.
________________________________________________

Aaron Hooks writes regularly for www.CardsDiaspora.com
And every Monday for www.InsideSTL.com


5:25 PM | , | 2 comments »

BallHype: hype it up!

City: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Foodie: Cotter, One For the Other Thumb

Venue: Heinz Field
Address: 100 Art Rooney Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Cotter’s Taste:

If you’re eating in Pittsburgh, there are only two words you need to know – Primanti Bros. Pittsburgh’s epicurean delights pretty much begin and end with a Primantis sandwich; one of perhaps the most formidable culinary foes known to man. With your choice of meat and cheese, each sandwich is layered with french fries, cole slaw, tomatoes and love, making the sandwich approximately the same diameter as Romeo Crennel’s waistline, or alternatively, the planet Neptune (same thing, really). Be sure to wash this beast down with a cold IC Light.

Now, as far as nightlife goes, the two words you need to know are – Carson Street. Carson St. is home to just about every bar and club worth spending time in, within the City limits. I recommend Mario’s South Side Saloon. Go on Monday night for the Jeff Reed Show. You will not be disappointed (…that’s what she said). Also be sure to wash this party down with a cold IC Light…or 10. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you could always hit Saddle Ridge in Station Square. You know, if, mechanical bulls are your thing.

And finally, because I really want you all to have the full Pittsburgh experience, be sure to listen for Pittsburghese expressions like, “Dahntahn,” and “Yinz,” as in – “Ahr yinz gahn dahntahn a watcha Stillers?” You think I’m joking? Waydilyaearferyerself! Oh, and that statue at the airport – that’s Franco Harris. On the right, you’ve got George Washington. George Washington…and FRANCO HARRIS. That ought to tell you almost everything you need to know about Pittsburgh.

Stadium photo credit: ESPN
Primanti: RoadFood.com
IC: BottleCan.com
Mario’s: mariospgh.com
Franco: Spuddy42’s photostream


1:29 PM | , | 1 comments »

BallHype: hype it up!