Welcome to Overreaction Of The Week, my over the top, uninhibited, Baltimore sports-fan takes on this week’s Orioles activity.
This past weekend Major League Baseball hosted the inaugural MLB Food Fest in New York City. The event featured a specialty food item from each team, bringing a sample of each ballpark’s fan experience into one place. I was lucky enough to get tickets for Sunday, but am just now arising from my food coma to write this post.
The event was a lot of fun with great food, a decent beer selection, a friendly event staff, and well planned logistics. I went in with a tiered approach, breaking down the 30 items into “Must Have”, “Give it a Shot”, and “If We Have Time”. I was able to get to 15 items, including all of my Must Have’s. Let’s get into some of my favorite dishes, and hopefully I can convince you to get yourself a ticket next year.
Like many baseball fans, I’ve set myself a goal to visit every ballpark in the MLB. I’ve made it to 13 so far, and have tried to indulge in each stadium’s specialty item. For example, getting a Dodger Dog and the Padres’ Craft Beer festival before a Friday game. The Mariners’ roasted grasshoppers are not for me, though. But, this is an Orioles’ blog. Here’s what The Birds brought to the table:
That beauty there is what the Orioles call Chesapeake Waffle Fries: waffle fries topped with crab dip and Old Bay. It was fairly obvious that the O’s would present a crab related dish, but they were real team players here. Most other teams went for more substantial samples like the Tigers’ Chicken Shawarma nachos, The Pirates’ Pulled Pork Pierogi Hoagies, but the Orioles had the right idea. They went for a side dish that was easy to eat and not too filling, but still gave a great look into the unique flavors you can expect at Camden Yards. Maybe I’m a little homesick, or am just looking forward to crab season, but the Chesapeake Waffle Fries took the number one spot in my top 5 foods.
Numbers two through four go to the Royals, Astros, Rangers, and Diamondbacks. I have the Royals’ Brisket Acho in second, they had a fresh take on Kansas City barbecue with brisket on nachos, topped with baked beans, corn, and cole slaw. The Astros’ came in third with their terrific take on chicken and waffles, their Chicken Waffle Cone. A waffle cone filled with garlic mashed potatoes and crispy popcorn chicken with honey mustard glaze made for a savory snack. The Texas Rangers’ had a Chicken & Donuts combination that combined sweet and savory, much to my liking. To round out my top 5, I have to give the Arizona Diamondbacks credit for submitting the only pure dessert at Food Fest, their Churro Dog. It was a delightful way to cap off my afternoon of binge eating as time expired on my two-hour session.
Major League Baseball changed the game with this one, and luckily it’s not some absurd rule change. The League found a way to bring fans of all teams together to appreciate baseball culture. As the MLB battles the pace of play issue, the fan experience in the ballpark becomes even more critical. In addition to the on-field product, the concessions and between-pitch entertainment are vital to keep fans engaged and coming back for more games. It’s clear the Orioles take this seriously, they made a few changes to concessions over the off-season to cater more to fans.
The MLB Food Fest was a great opportunity to see fans put rivalries to the side for a few hours; to have Yankees fans audibly praise the Red Sox’ lobster rolls and for Orioles’ fans to appreciate the Nationals’ Earned Run Ale. MLB Food Fest brought together two things all baseball fans can agree on: good food and the love of the game. I’ll be going back next year and I’m hoping to see some more Orioles fans.
If you were able to go this year, what were your favorite items? Let me know @itssocontejus or in the comments.
Every weekday morning at 8 AM, we publish our “Daily Feature” — it’s our favorite piece of the day, the one we don’t want you to miss. You can read our “Daily Feature” here on BSR or have it emailed to you by adding your address to the sign up box in the sidebar (or below if you’re browsing BSR on a mobile device).