These days, you can grab more than a beer and a foul ball at your local baseball stadium — you can get a gourmet meal.If you’ve taken a peek at a ballpark concession-stand menu lately, you’ve noticed that baseball grub has entered a new era. Just how far have we come since peanuts and Cracker Jack were all the rage? These recent game changers at six of our favorite major league stadiums are just a little taste.
NEW YORK METS
Take Me Out to: Citi Field
Buy Me a: Pat LaFrieda Original Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich
Citi Field’s reputation for stocking its concourses with top local food vendors (Shake Shack, Two Boots pizza and Blue Smoke barbecue, to name a few) was most recently upped when it signed legendary Brooklyn-born meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda to open its one-and-only retail location here — near section 139, behind the center-field scoreboard. What’s in the signature sandwich? Hand-cut, seared, 100 percent Black Angus filet mignon topped with Monterey Jack cheese and sweet caramelized onions, served with au jus on a toasted baguette.
» SEATTLE MARINERS
Take Me Out to: Safeco Field
Buy Me an: Oyster Po’Boy
Safeco’s bar-raising, anti-fast-food campaign has turned sushi, grass-fed beef, salmon steaks and the word organic into standard ballpark lexicon in the Pacific Northwest. Our favorite addition here from top local toque Ethan Stowell is the Oyster Po’Boy (available at the Hamburg + Frites stand in The ’Pen, behind the left-field wall) — featuring local Taylor Shellfish Farms oysters served on a toasted Franz Bakery pioneer roll.
» TEXAS RANGERS
Take Me Out to: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Buy Me a: Boomstick
Every stadium touts the superiority of its hot dog. But for sheer heft and surreal proportions, the latest benchmark is, of course, in Texas. The Boomstick — a 2-foot-long, 1-pound hot dog poking out of a 22-inch bun — is loaded with chili, nacho cheese, grilled onions and jalapeños and served in a cardboard carrying case with handles. All for $26. Do the math (one Boomstick equals six Jumbo Dogs), and it’s a family-size bargain.
» SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Take Me Out to: AT&T Park
Buy Me a: Giant SteamED Bun
In a city as fiercely dedicated to eating well as San Francisco is, it’s no surprise that AT&T Park boasts foodie features like a “Farmers’ Market” area on the third-floor Club Level (behind section 218). Its highlights: an antipasti bar and a “wine on tap” program that features standouts from the neighboring Napa and Sonoma valleys. Our latest comfort-food fave in Giantsland: an enormous steamed pork bun filled with Vietnamese herb salad at the Edsel Ford Fong’s stand (first floor in the Field Club behind home plate).
» KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Take Me Out to: Kauffman Stadium
Buy Me a: Cheesy Corn Brisket-acho
How crazy are KC fans about their barbecue? During the MLB All-Star weekend last summer, Kauffman Stadium served more than 2,400 pounds of brisket, 1,800 pounds of pulled pork, 600 racks of ribs and 650 gallons of barbecue sauce. In other words, you’re not having some barbecue at a ballgame here — you’re having some baseball at a barbecue. One of the latest home runs introduced at the Royals All-Star barbecue in the Outfield Experience is the Cheesy Corn Brisket-acho, featuring chips topped with eight-hour, hickory-smoked brisket, baked beans, cheesy corn and coleslaw, drizzled with a KC barbecue sauce reserved for true Royalty.
» PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Take Me Out to: Citizens Bank Park
Buy Me a: Campo's Vegan Steak
A short walk down Ashburn Alley, the park’s concession headquarters and home of the hallowed Tony Luke’s cheesesteak, will confirm that beef and provolone aren’t exactly going out of style in Philly. But the latest fare at the nearby Campo’s Deli counter — a meatless cheesesteak that pairs a seitan base with vegan cheese — proves that Philly has new depth in this bullpen. Also on the roster at Citizens Bank Park: a vegan “chicken steak” sandwich, veggie “pit beef” with barbecue sauce, an eggplant-cutlet sandwich and an Italian vegetable grinder.