We expect to be reporting on a lot of outrageous food offerings for the 2015 season over the next two weeks, so let’s begin with some new concession items from the Minnesota Twins and West Michigan Whitecaps (Low Class A; Midwest League).
Here in Madison, we’re used to lots of outrageous Sconnie Bloody Marys. While Wisconsin is truly the land of great beer, it’s also home to inventive types throwing everything — cheese sticks, bacon, hash browns, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, Scotch eggs, beef sticks, etc. — into a pint glass along with some vodka, tomato juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces. We’re going to give the crew at Hrbek’s, the popular gathering spot behind home plate at Target Field, props for coming up with a noteworthy Bloody: it combines the traditional elements, like celery, olive and pickle, with cutting-edge ingredients, like pepper, beef stick and slice of pizza. At $19, it will certainly need to be a meal for many of the folks hanging out at Hrbek’s before a Sunday afternoon matinee — but we’re guessing it will end up being extremely popular. Endorsed and tweeted directly (shown above) by the former Twins first baseman.
It’s always a sure sign of spring when the Whitecaps announce the new featured food item to be served at Fifth Third Ballpark: the team hosts an open house and then invites fans to vote.
This year’s new food item, garnering some 17 percent of the vote, is the Hot-To-Tot, a dish of tater tots covered with buffalo chicken and bleu cheese. Really, it’s hard to do wrong with a combination of bleu cheese, chicken and tater tots.
“To see the fans’ ideas and responses is fantastic,” said Mickey Graham, Whitecaps Director of Marketing. “The ‘Mad Scientist’ ideas are always fun. We love it. Varying our menu is an important aspect of coming to a Whitecaps game. We’ll continue to tinker with new items to give fans a fun, unique experience.”
Still on the Whitecaps menu this season: the famous Fifth Third Burger. Eat the whole thing by yourself and you win a T-shirt and a spot on the Fifth Third Burger Wall of Fame.
The Hot-To-Tot edged out the French Fry Pizza Pie, which came home with 16 percent of the votes. Coming in third with 14 percent was Cheesy Does It, and fourth place with 12 percent was The Legend of Pickle Hollowed. Fifth Place was a virtual tie, with both Beer-A-Misu and Picnic-On-A-Stick earning 11 percent of the votes, while the Weenie Panini captured 10 percent for seventh place. There was no love for the Cotton Candy Curveball (4 percent), the Crispy Pig Chips (3 percent) or the Kat Dog (2 percent).
On a more serious note: this season will see a rebuilt ballpark, damaged by fire last year. The Whitecaps took their time and used the fire to not only replace what was there, but to expand fan facilities, like a new team store.
As noted, we expected plenty of food news between now and the middle of April. In fact, we know we’ll have a new-food report next week, as we’re attending the New York Mets’ Citi Field food/videoboard preview on April 1. Bon appetit!