Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Big-league eats

If major league baseball wasn’t cracking down on steroids, you’d have to wonder about the Big Dawgs that Levy Restaurants is selling this season in the luxury boxes of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park. The wieners are whoppers, weighing in at a pound. Of course, they fetch a hefty price, too, at $8. But that’s a bargain by baseball-stadium standards.

The other product of note at PNC this season is a carved-to-order pigs-in-a-blanket. Stations have been set up where chefs will slice off a piece of dog wrapped in pastry.

I’m not going to be fool enough to predict the winner of this fall’s World Series, since everyone knows it’ll be the Yankees. But I will prognosticate that one of the products of note this year, in the ball park or a Dunkin’ Donuts, will be pigs-in-a-blanket. Dunkin’ is testing the items at its next-generation outlets, and several members of the Nation’s Restaurant News staff have found a nearby watering hole that specializes in the party food. It’s the new hot comfort food.

But I digress. There’s an unwritten law that every restaurant-focused medium is required at this time of year to cite some of the ooh-and-ahh-worthy items that baseball stadiums have added to sate an increasingly sophisticated clientele. The fact that the more-ambitious items fetch a higher price is merely a coincidence.

So it is hereby dutifully noted that you can now get Mahi Mahi Terrine at the Angels’ home field in Anaheim; roasted quail in the Astro’s park; and Ancho Chile Glazed Shrimp at the Orioles’ celebrated Camden Yards.

Ironically, Yankee Stadium may traditionally lead the sport in Series wins, but its food still tends toward the Babe Ruth era—heavy on the hotdogs and beer. Of course, the prices are a different matter. You’d think the franks were lovingly prepared by Alan Ducasse.

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