Well, this year seemed to cause a lot of media blabbing over the media blabbing about the new foods at the Twins Ballpark. Funny how that happens, huh? Well never mind that—we've been calling a spade a spade since 2014. We decided to split teams this year and give you the media preview from Drew's perspective, and then the actual everyday eater-in-line's take from me. There are going to be differences when someone is plating something for a multitude of cameras when the stadium hasn't even opened vs. a day when stretching down the concourse is a line that will include Jimmy Tight Pants from Mankato (he literally introduced himself thusly) and me.
Hey, eaters: I get that sometimes you want chicken fingers, and that ice cream in a tiny helmet is nostalgic, but this list will hopefulle provide you with intel for when you're done with that and want real food. And not just the new, but also the things I think are the best eats at the ballpark. So. Let's. Play. Ball.
Red Cow Burgers - Sections 126 and 234
Nobody held the lines like Red Cow. Not just at the cart on the lower level, but at the new location on the Minnie & Paul deck, people qued up on opening day—and rightly so. This is the best burger in the park, if you're going to get a burger. You can watch them cooking the burgers as you wait, smashing them on the hot griddle, getting that crisp edge. The Ultimate is a double cheese with special sauce, and despite the crush of people, it was pretty tasty. I might also venture that these were the crispiest, best-seasoned fries in the park, I would happily climb stairs for them, though I thought the poutine was just meaty, cheesy fries that didn't really win. Stick with the simple fries. Also, The Ultimate is a double burger with fries for $14, which is a great value.
Pizza Lucé - Section 234
Also up on the M&P deck, (which is a lovely place to catch some vitamin D), Pizza Lucé has a new counter. Though they are offering whole pies, this is really a slice situation, isn't it? Both the veggie supreme and the classic cheese pizza slices are big and hearty and damn tasty. A great option for vegetarians, too. My cheese pizza tried to eat some Chicago players, but domination was not meant to be.
Butcher & The Boar - Section 136
It's not clean eating. You will lick your fingers. But there's almost no way to deny the power of this saucy BBQ as it smokes and beckons you from the main gate. B&TB's rib tips are so very righteous and a real meal. Think about this: you can get a Basket, Bourbon, and Beer deal here for $24, which is only one more dollar than that empty promise of an absurd bloody mary.
Hot Indian - Section 120
Personally, my favorite eating dish at the park is the Chicken Tikka from Hot Indian. When it's cold outside, this bowl will warm you with a bright and vibrant hot sauce. When it's hot outside, it will remain one of the heartiest, yet lightest, eats on the concourse. Brimming with chicken and rice and zesty flavors, it will sustain you now and still let you jam your face with caramel corn later. For $11, one of the best meals hands down. With a beer? Shut up.
Barrio - Section 127
So. If you love tacos, you can mostly rely on the kids at the Barrio taco stand. It gets jammed with the happy drinkers looking for carbs, and can get a little sloppy in execution, but they are still better than any other tacos in the park. For me, it's all about the guac, which is shockingly fresh-tasting and not brown or over-whipped. A little tray of chips and guac is $6, and with a margarita from the bar, makes for perfect pregame.
Kramarczuk's - Sections 112, 117, and 312
Currently the only dog you should be eating in that park. A polish with kraut and onions is $8, and I'd pay that in heartbeat for that much good, meaty snap.
Izzy's - Section 114
Even if it's dripping ice from the sky, this gelato is worth a grab. Salted caramel? Hell yes. Once you get past your ice cream-in-a-helmet situation, head right to this little kiosk on the ground level. They have rotating flavors, but nothing is bad, inherently. PRO TIP: Get a lemon or raspberry scoop, then take three steps to the Big Ginger cart next door, create your own luscious boozy float. THAT'S a seventh inning stretch.
Let's take a moment to be sooo happy that the local beer scene has pretty much full-scale invaded the ballpark. When I had tickets the first season, there was ONE CART where you could find a great brew. Now, it's like a jackpot of good beer. Indeed, Fulton, Lift Bridge all over the place, and now Bauhaus Brew Labs has their Wonderstuff and Sky Five in tallboys. Wonderstuff is MADE for a sunny day game, IMHO. Also, Schell's new Lock & Dam brew should be on tap here somewhere soon, but I couldn't find it.
Like I said, I'm no stranger to chicken fingers, and you have to do you when at the ballpark, but I'm just going to give you some thoughts. Those pretzel bites are poised at the main gate to lure you in, but don't do it unless you want dry, flavorless bread blobs coated in thin fake cheese (like, not even enough thin fake cheese!) and very questionable weird bacon things. The Barrio-branded barbacoa bowl from Senior Smoke's is just a pile of low quality ingredients, though the meat is fine. But for $13, you can do better. Loon's Chili was served to me cold, and it seems to me that the only time you really want chili is when you really need it to be warm. Also, not a lot of flavor, kinda ketchupy.
All in all, I'd say that this season didn't bring a lot of flashy foods, but that's maybe ok. If we can start putting our cash behind the quailty offerings, the high tide should raise all boats. #WinTwins