I know there are more players to write about, but other than Addison Reed, it comes down to talking about Jesse Crain and his injury and who will be the fourth outfielder. I’ll leave those burning questions to the more capable hands of the beat writers.* No, much more important to me and, really should be to the rest of White Sox fandom, the new food offerings at US Cellular Field for 2013.
*Which is one of the many reasons I could not be a professional sportswriter; writing about the absolute mundane and searching for yet another story about stuff that just doesn’t really interest me personally. Let’s face it the blogs, hell even the dissertation and academic stuff is pretty much an extension of my personal interests and tastes. To be a real sportswriter or journalist, at some point you need to write about things that just suck. Also, I’m in much better shape than most sportswriters. I kid, I kid.
Food and the White Sox go hand in hand. The fans take a certain amount of pride (perhaps a bit too much) in the good, even great food offered at the park every year. The powers that be also seem to be proud of the diverse menu and really make an effort to keep things interesting and innovative. Here is my list of must haves, interests piqued and will skip. By no means is this an exhaustive list of everything the park has to offer, but it will cover most of the new stuff.
Hot dogs, Brats, Polishes; nachos in and out of giant helmets, curly fries and beer are all readily available throughout US Cellular Field. The grilled onions, peppers and sauerkraut are an excellent touch for the sausages and the fact that you can pretty much get melted cheese product on everything is pretty awesome from a gluttonous point of view. I won’t lie either, love me some meat in casings. I’ll even dive into a super nacho once in a while. However if I’m going to US Cellular, I’m making a bee line for one glorious cart, Wow Bao. Bao are Chinese dumplings, about the size of a raquet ball, steamed with wonderful, mouth-searing goodness inside. They come in three varieties, beef, chicken and vegetarian. While I like them all, veggie happens to be my favorite. Something about the dough is just a little better. I think it is whole wheat as opposed to just plain flour and it gives it a little more body without becoming rubbery. Also the veggie filling satisfies my flavor cravings, a little sweet, spicy sometimes if not over cooked, a little crunchy. I am not ashamed to admit that I have had four bao in one sitting and would gladly do it again.
Sometimes, dumplings just aren’t enough. In that case, I look for my other all-time favorite at the ballpark, bbq brisket. I must admit I haven’t enjoyed as many briskets in the past couple of years, but they are great sandwiches. Served on a golden bun, slow cooked brisket smothered in sauce that is impossible to eat without a fork. One of these with a side of chips and I’m good for at least 4 innings.
After these first two, everything else is a side dish. For some reason, I like the jumbo pretzels. There is nothing really special about them, just an easy to handle item. I’m also a fan of the Irish nachos, which are basically nachos with fries instead of chips. They become a very gooey, satisfying mess in a short period of time.
Of the new items the pulled pork looks interesting, but the Comiskey Burger will get the first try. It is going to be featured at the Burger Barn Carts and will be available in single, double, and egad! triple burger options. I’m most intrigued by the Chitown Pico, a relish concoction with the traditional ingredients of a Chicago hot dog. I’m not a fan the Chicago dog, but making a topping inspired by the dog sounds good. The Burger Barns were a great addition last year after a bit of a rocky start, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this new addition works.
I’m a bit on the fence regarding the meatball sandwich, probably when it comes to meatball sandwiches I’m a bit of a snob. The meatballs need to be decent-sized, not so big that they take over the whole sandwich and not so small that I can eat them in one bite. Also they must be browned before they slow cooked in the sauce. A meatball dropped into sauce raw, they slow cooked is just a sad gray lump of meat. Speaking of the sauce, it usually goes one of two ways, too much sugar or too much water. It really shouldn’t be a marina, but more of a pomodoro sauce, smooth and infused with the taste of the meatballs that have been cooking in the sauce. They mention that the cheese will be provolone, which is pretty blah. I would much rather have something with a bit more bite, like a nice fontina. Finally, the bread needs to be lightly toasted and good and hearty. Very few places have lived up to my expectations.
I’ll pretty much miss everything offered in the Diamond Suites and Stadium Club unless an unforeseen upgrade is in the offing. I will also most certainly take a pass on the carnival creation of the walking taco. It is an abomination to Fritos, an abomination to tacos and an abomination to walking. There is something inherently wrong about eating food from a bag. We are not horses.
I would skip churros as well, but who am I kidding? I’ll eat at least one this year if only to remind my palate why I dislike them. Honestly, if you grab a churro early in the game, they are pretty good. It’s after they have been sitting in the warmer for about seven innings that things get pretty bad. At that point they have he consistency of a garden hose, with about as much flavor.
Looking over my list of foods, I pretty much should stop eating now to balance the caloric intake of opening day.