Ballparks have come a long way from the days when hot dogs and nachos were a fan’s best options. Not that there’s anything wrong with a stadium dog — they’re still the most popular option for some die-hards that know how closely tied memories are to taste. You’ll see them noshing on an over-priced dawg as they settle into the stands with a well-worn hat for an afternoon game.
But for many of us foodies taking in our favorite team, major league parks are seriously stepping up the game. Whether you’re a very-tried and true Miami Marlins fan, still supporting the Fish and enjoying the still-new park, or you’re rooting on your hometown team as they travel around,you’ve got good grub waiting at Marlins Park.
In fact, trying the stadium’s local food is one of the best parts about watching a game. (That and the always present hope that you’ll catch a foul ball.)
I am a fan-by-proxy – four years ago I started dating a die-hard L.A. Dodgers fan. We’ve had crab cakes at Camden, Gilroy garlic fries in San Francisco, clam chowder in Fenway, craft beer in Denver. Eating our way through stadiums is just part of the fun.
Here in our backyard, we visit the Marlins whenever the Dodgers are in town. Last year, Marlins Park offered such edibles as lobster rolls and shrimp burgers. Those weren’t around this year, but that’s okay — this year, I was won over by the fried fish tacos ($12).
Fish tacos: humble, ordinary, street food I can get just a half-mile down the street from my house.
Yet these tacos are just perfect. They’re ideal for an afternoon or evening game at the baseball park. The tacos are fried just enough that they hold up during the trek back to our third base dugout seats, where they are devoured at our leisure. Because the game’s so long, eating them slowly is part of the experience.
They’re topped with a hearty dose of cojita cheese, fresh tomatoes, and a good smattering of chipotle aioli. It’s a hearty portion that leaves me stuffed (though not too stuffed to spear the fried plantains out of my fiancé’s rice, pork and bean bowl).
Of course, beyond the good grub there’s a game going on. Who will win, who will lose? On this recent day, the Dodgers take it, 6 to 0. But in theory, no matter which team ends up ahead, one thing is certain: With those tacos in my belly, I won’t leave the stadium disappointed.