Tagged: Three Dog Night
The Year in Ballpark Food, Part 1
I never set out to be a food blogger, and, really, I’m not. Nonetheless, food is a important component of the Minor League experience, and throughout my travels this past season I did my best to document ballpark comestibles in particular as well as regional cuisine in general.
Today’s missive (which went live at lunchtime for a reason) is the first of what will be a two-part compendium of the 2011 season’s food-based posts and photos. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section and via email: What are your favorite Minor League ballpark foods, and why?
What follow are some of mine, presented in the order in which they were consumed.
My first 2011 road trip began in Tucson, home of the T-Padres. And what better way to enjoy Kino Stadium’s sunset views than with a plate of nachos from ballpark vendor El Charro? Nothing too fancy, but the freshest of ingredients combined with from-the-oven homemade tortilla chips helped to distinguish this particular platter.
The following afternoon, a reader recommendation led me to local institution El Guero Canelo. The specialty there is the “Sonoran Dog,” which I described as a “hot dog is wrapped in bacon and topped with cheese, salsa, onions, tomatoes, beans, mayonnaise and who knows what else. All of this was safely ensconced in the specially-crafted (and delicious) roll and served with a roasted pepper on the side.”
After a fleeting highway encounter with the still-elusive Biz Girl, I made my west to territories occupied by the California League’s South Division entities. One of the highlights of this leg of the journey came in Lancaster, where I was able to enjoy a non-photo shopped encounter with the JetHawks’ delectable “Sweet Po-Tater Tots.”
The Sweet Po-Taters were a mere appetizer, for then came the so-called “Stealth Burger:” a hamburger topped with pulled pork and onion rings. It was a formidable affair:
The Stealth Burger looked downright microscopic in comparison to the Brobdingnagian creation that was served to me in Lake Elsinore. Behold the Storm’s “Homewrecker,” perhaps best explained in t-shirt form.
The following month I traversed the great state of Ohio (with a detour in Fort Wayne, IN). The first stop on this particular Minor League journey was Toledo, where appropriately-named concessions manager Corey Pleasant laid out a stunning pre-game feast.
Here we have Greek Nachos (gyro meat and pita chips), Pulled Pork Nachos, and “Bases-Loaded Fries.”
But that, of course, was not all. Here’s the “Muddy Dog,” topped with chili, cheese, and onions.
And this artisanal creation is the “Bloomin’ Bacon Burger,” a 1/3 lb. grilled Black Angus beef burger topped with crispy strips of bacon, deep fried onion rings, American cheese, and bistro sauce on a fresh Kaiser bun.
And, of course, no visit to Toledo is complete without a stop at the legendary Tony Packo’s. I visited the Birmingham location before heading west to Fort Wayne, ordering a hot dog with chili, Paprika Dumplings, and a side of “Pickles and Peppers.”
After Toledo, I attended two ballgames at the Fort Wayne TinCaps’ Parkview Field. The majority of the second evening was spent with culinary director Scott Kammerer, who gave me a thorough tour of the team’s concession offerings. The tour resulted in an MiLB.com article, as well as this stunning image:
In addition to the hallucinogenic turkey leg seen above, highlights included delectable brisket sandwiches…
and a hot dog with “Cincinnati Chili” (the TinCaps’ best attempt to emulate the famous Skyline recipe).
The TinCaps are named after Johnny Appleseed’s iconic headwear, so this Apple Dumpling dessert was a fitting (and inspired) addition to the menu.
From Fort Wayne, I made my way back to the Buckeye State in order to visit the Lake County Captains. Food took a back seat to on-field participation during this jam-packed visit, but this was where I first became aware of the Cleveland-area phenomenon that is “Bertman Ballpark Mustard.”
Bertman’s Mustard: Responsible for the most delectable condiment globules around.
From Lake County it’s a veritable hop, skip and a jump to Mahoning Valley. It was Opening Day for the short-season Scrappers, and I celebrated the return of New York-Penn League baseball with the one-of-a-kind “Warsaw Wings.”
Deep-fried pierogies smothered in hot sauce!
A necessary cool-down soon came in the form of Handel’s Ice Cream. The flavor was called “Scrappy’s Favorite” — caramel ice-cream with bone-shaped chocolate-covered pretzels.
The Ohio excursion ended in Akron’s Canal Park, a location not lacking in death-taunting culinary options. After an exhausting evening that included a pie in the face and a stint in a dunk tank, I had both the following items placed before me.
On the left is the “Nice 2 Meat U Burger,” two 1/3rd pound patties, two hot dogs, bacon, cheese, and onions.
The sauerkraut-covered creation on the right is the “Three Dog Night,” a hot dog stuffed inside a brat stuffed inside a kielbasa.
And, let’s not forget: Bertman Mustard on top of it all!
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of this food-based season retrospective, featuring a bevy of offerings from South and North Carolina as well as the doom metal capital of the world (the state of Maryland, in other words).
Until then, send me your photos and anecdotes related to your favorite ballpark foods and regional creations. I’ll be right here waiting for you.
Nice 2 Meet You 2
When we last heard from the Akron Aeros, they were unleashing the infamous “Three Dog Night” upon the world.
Surely you remember. It was a hot dog stuffed inside a brat stuffed inside a kielbasa, a rock ‘n roll referencing monstrosity created by new food and beverage director Jason Kerton. And when it was first announced, Kerton made it clear that there would be plenty more where that came from.
He wasn’t lying.
The Aeros’ newest concession product is the “Nice 2 Meat You,” described as “1.25 lbs of ground beef stuffed with half a pound of all beef hot dogs and finished with a quarter pound of cheese, bacon and grilled onions.”
From the top, it simply looks like large hamburger:
But from the side is where it shines:
“I didn’t think people would take it as seriously as they did,” he said. “I actually took a pretty good beating from dieticians and nutritionists.They were saying that people like me are the reason that Americans are fat and health care is so expensive.”
“I just tried to tell them that this is for fun, something new and different” he continued. “If someone wants to eat three of these things a week, then that’s their problem.”
With that said, it’s tempting to interpret the “Nice 2 Meet You” as a reaction to such criticisms.
“I wasn’t going to make [the Nice 2 Meat You] this big, but as I got beat up more and more I thought ‘I’m going to put together the largest thing I can,'” he said. “We had some in the front office today. The girls weren’t too crazy about it, but the guys just destroyed them. It tastes good, this isn’t just something we threw together….instead of having to make a choice between hot dog and hamburger, people can have both.”
Because too much is never enough, the Aeros plan to unveil three more new food items before Opening Day. Kerton says that he’ll be going in a “different direction” with the next one, while also pointing out the wide array of healthy food options available at the Aeros’ Canal Park.
Nonetheless, battle lines have been drawn.
“I’m not going to back off,” he said. “It’s not my fault that health care in this country is so expensive. Don’t put that one on me. I’ll take the heat for a lot of things, but not that.”
Joy to the World — It’s Three Dog Night
Ever since the invention of the Turducken, mankind has wondered “When will we see a similar product in hot dog form?”
That day has arrived.
The finished product:
“This is a food item that’s going to generate a lot of fan interest and a lot of full stomachs,” said Aeros assistant GM Dan Foust. “We’re planning a healthy choice concession stand in 2011, but the Three Dog Night isn’t going to come anywhere near that stand.”
Foust notes that the team is offering a ticket plan based around this triumvirate of meat. Fans can select 10 games on the schedule, and for each game they will receive a voucher good for a “Three Dog Night.”
“So, it’s conceivable that we’ll have fans who eat at least 10 of these next season,” said Fouts. “And if they want to eat more, then more power to them.”
Just think, this could be you:
Followers of the Minor League frankfurter scene won’t be surprised to learn that the mastermind behind the Three Dog Night is Jason Kerton, who previously performed food and beverage duties for the Charleston RiverDogs.
While in Charleston, Kerton teamed up with Goldklang Group concession guru John Schumacher on items such as the
Homewrecker and the Pickle Dog. Surely, you remember them.
“I’m a culinary school graduate, and a huge fan of Turducken,” explained Kerton. “As I was driving [to Akron] in the middle of the night, I started to wonder if I could do the same thing with sausage.”
This mental breakthrough led to a process of trial and error, as Kerton experimented with a variety of combinations.
“I tried it with a one pound hot dog as the main part, but that was just too salty,” he said. “The kielbasa has a smoky flavor and a really snappy casing, so from there I just needed something that was a little softer….I wanted to use a brat because of the German influence in the Cleveland area, and the hot dog is a ballpark staple.”
The Aeros will be releasing a new food item every month leading up to Opening Day, making them a team to watch on the creative concessions front. And, with the Three Dog Night, they are doing nothing less than staking a claim for Minor League hot dog supremacy.
“We’re competing with the RiverDogs on the national level, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from them soon,” said Kerton. “It’s time for a head-to-head hot dog battle.”
The Aeros have already fired three shots.
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