On the Road: Fill-In Filled-Up in Vegas

To see all posts from my August 6 visit to the Las Vegas 51s, click HERE. To see all my posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

Shortly after unveiling my 2016 road trip schedule, I received an enthusiastic email from a reader requesting to be the designated eater during my August 6 visit to Las Vegas’s Cashman Field. That request was granted. Unfortunately, just before the day in question rolled around, said reader had to renege on this commitment due to a family emergency.

I didn’t have to look far for a replacement, however. My friend Jon Fischer, a fellow alumnus of Wissahickon High School in Ambler, Pennsylvania, had joined me for the San Jose-Visalia-Vegas portion of my trip. He volunteered to fill the designated eating void, and was thereby tasked with consuming the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits.

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Collared shirt plus mesh shorts equals fashion statement

Jon is a native of southern California, but he grew up on the East Coast. We became friends in seventh grade, when he and his family moved from Massachusetts to suburban Philadelphia. His long, curly and occasionally greasy hair was a subject of fascination and ridicule within the middle school ecosystem in which we first met, but he fought fire with fire and never back down from his detractors. We later comprised two thirds of the band Spice, which was named after a cable channel we were fascinated with at the time. Then the Spice Girls came out and we changed our name to the Muckrakers.

These days Jon teaches at the California Maritime Academy, which he described as the “smallest, most specialized campus of the California State University system, which is the largest university system in the world.” Jon is also an artist.

We were on our own during this anomalous evening at the ballpark, operating on nothing but gut instinct. I’m always on the lookout for unique and/or regionally specific food items, and the main concession stands on both the first and third base side of Cashman Field were of the hot dogs, burgers, popcorn, peanuts, chips and soda variety. Though the Las Vegas 51s are named after Area 51 and feature an alien on their logo, we found very little that would qualify as “out of this world.”

All was not lost, however. At a small stand on the first base side of the ballpark, we located an alcohol-focused concession stand offering an “Atomic Dog.” We got an Atomic Dog. This is what an Atomic Dog looks like.

img_2447The Atomic Dog is a hot dog topped with bacon, nacho cheese and jalapenos, served on a pretzel bun.

Jon gave it a whirl.

“I think I should’ve gotten a napkin,” said Jon. “The hot dog was substantial. The jalapenos could be a little spicier, but they add a little kick. Some grilled onions would be good on this. The pretzel bun is good. It didn’t hold together, though.”

img_0264Nothing washes down an Atomic Dog quite like hard liquor. In a nod to the 51s’ alien identity, we found a concourse kiosk whose drink selections featured “Outer Space Vodka.”

img_0261Two minutes and $12 later, Jon had himself an “Double Outer Space Vodka Tonic.”

img_0265“It’s par for the course, not bottom of the shelf, fairly smooth,” said Jon. “I’d get it again if there was nothing else to drink.”

Of course, there are other things to drink. And come of them come in a collector’s cup. This, of course, is for all you #cupdate fiends out there.

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Our search for something — anything! — else to highlight eventually brought us to Cashman Field’s nothing-if-not-aptly-named “Club Level Restaurant.”

img_0258It was the sixth inning by this point, and there were few signs of life on the food-serving front.

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The view was nice, though.

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Upon reemerging on the concourse, we came across a Hawaiian Shave Ice stand. This, then, would be dessert.

img_0268“There’s more snow and less ice, which is the way it should be,” said Jon. “I got banana and strawberry, and both are pretty good. The banana is sufficiently artificial tasting. Banana’s the best shaved ice flavor, by the way. And this is a pretty good container for all of this. It will find a home in a landfill soon.”

img_0269“Overall, the food was pretty mediocre,” said Jon, when asked to sum things up. “But it was fun to be the designated eater and I was glad I could fill in at the last minute.”

“Go see more Minor League Baseball games,” he added. “I’ve enjoyed myself.”

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***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

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