This weekend, I had the pleasure of going to MLB Food Fest. What is MLB Food Fest, you ask? Basically, each team features one of their unique ballpark food items for fans to try. For a mere $35, I got to try some truly insane food items, and I’m here to tell you which ones were good and which ones were bad. The best way I can describe the overall theme of the items is think of Sonic…but actually really good. There were some standouts, and some truly awful things. And yes, I did try them all (with one notable exception that I’ll talk about later).
¾ of the way through I nearly passed out, but worry not, dear reader. Because for journalistic integrity I powered on with absolutely no consideration for my stomach or general well-being. All so you can find out the top 5 and worst 5 items there.
The Top 5
#5: Diamondbacks, Churro Dog
The Diamondbacks churro dog was one of the few dessert items, which instantly helped put in the top 5. After trying 17 different sandwiches (maybe slight exaggeration) I was ready for something new. And the combination of a churro with some kind of cookie, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce was pretty great. Would I want it every time at the ballpark? No. But it’s unique and good enough for the last spot in our top 5.
#4: Reds, Bulgogi Beef Egg Rolls
There were a few attempts at Asian food at the event, and this was the only good one. The secret to why this was good? Using actual Asian food in it. Bulgogi and gyochujang sauce worked well and the egg roll was nice and crispy. If I’m not in the mood for a burger or hot dog, this would be a great alternative. As for why this was the Reds food item, I have no idea. And that’s why it’s only #4.
#3: Braves, Dagwood Grilled Cheese
This photo sucks, I’m sorry. I was well over an hour in at this point (you only get 2 hours) and was about to pass out. I made the mistake of drinking an orange vanilla coke shortly before trying this one and was moving noticeably slower. In this sandwich, the bacon, ham, and cheese worked real well together. My only complaint is there’s way too much bread. I’m not at the ballpark to load up on carbs. Give me 2 slices of bread, max. And more meat and cheese please.
#2: A’s, Brisket Nachos
This is exactly what you look for when you’re eating nachos. Crispy tortilla chips, plenty of meat and cheese, and some salsa. There was good heat from the jalapenos but it wasn’t overwhelming. Of course, nobody has ever eaten these nachos because they’re in Oakland, but a very solid choice.
#1: Rays, Beer Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese
It pains me severely to rank the Rays as the #1 choice here, but alas I must. This was easily the best food item of the day. The sourdough bread was nicely toasted and that made all the difference. I lost count of how many sandwiches had shitty bread, and this one really stood out. The combo of short rib, onions, and cheese was great as well. I truly wonder if Tampa and Oakland have the best food in baseball but nobody knows about it because their attendance is so poor. The only reason to go to the pathetic excuse that is the Trop (unless it’s a Bronx invasion) is this sandwich.
The Bottom 5
#5: Dodgers, Smoked Pork Belly Bao Buns
This one wasn’t awful, but it was by far the most disappointing. I love pork belly and thought this one had real potential. But the pork belly was not cooked well at all and the bao I got was cold. Much like the Dodgers in October, it had high expectations but not enough execution.
#4: Cardinals, Four Hands Nachos
These nachos just didn’t make sense. The chips were way too bland as was everything here, except the jalapenos. And holy hell if you got a jalapeno you couldn’t forget about it for at least 5 minutes. There was no balance and I expected way more from a food city like St. Louis.
#3: Mets, Bases Loaded Dog
There’s no picture because I didn’t eat it. Not because I couldn’t mind you, but because why would I? It’s basically a regular hot dog with some bacon thrown on. I went to food fest looking for unique, innovative food items, not something you find at every barbecue. For a stadium that prides itself on its food to the point many fans think it’s superior to the Mecca that is Yankee Stadium, this is the shit you bring? Get out of here and don’t even think about saying you’re best in New York at anything. Only the Mets could have a ballpark of great food items and Mets it up this badly. Smdh.
#2: Tigers, Coney Egg Roll
Okay. Where to start with this?
Why put a hot dog in an egg roll? A bun is a better choice
If you do use an egg roll, at least make it crispy. Not the soggy excuse this thing had.
Mustard on top? It’s an egg roll. Jeez.
I know this is the 2nd Asian-esque food in the bottom 5 and you may be wondering if I hate Asian food. It’s actually the opposite. As an Asian-American myself, I was excited for the Asian options they had and was thus significantly disappointed by the atrocity that was this hot dog egg roll. I took one bite and immediately threw the rest out.
#1: Rangers, Dilly Dog
So here we are, the worst item of the day. Basically a corn dog with a pickle inside. Sounds reasonable, but no, no it is not. Everything about this one was wrong. There was too much pickle and not enough pickle at the same time. The corn batter wasn’t on properly and even the hot dog inside wasn’t properly cooked. This was the 2nd item of the day so I was more than hungry enough to eat it all up, but no. Just no. Afterwards I went back and took this picture:
You see that full tray of dilly dogs back there? Yet nobody is on line, nobody wants it. Because it sucks. So much. Everything may be bigger in Texas, but it sure as hell is not better.
The Yankees had a shrimp po’boy. It was aight. The shrimp was good, it had too much bread. Could have used some sauce. Nothing spectacular, but this is a Yankee blog so I had to put this in. Overall, I 10/10 recommend Food Fest, and be sure it’s your first and only meal of the day!
For more food content from Bronx Pinstripes, check out JJ’s weekly video series Stadium Eats.