Ballpark food: not just hotdogs anymore

Apparently saturated fat is not so bad for you anymore.  With that in mind, I sampled some fried, barbecued and grilled ballpark fare this morning at Target Field.  After all, it is part of my job.

The Twins invited the media and dozens of season ticket holders to the increasingly well-attended annual event.  The tour of tantalizing eats was lead by Delaware North Sportservice general manager Pete Spike, who herded visitors from station to station on a culinary speed date of sorts, using a bull horn to signal when it was time to move on.

Like visitors to a museum full of edible art, guests gathered in groups around tables full of finger foods listening to the descriptions of the dishes before trying them.

Spike said Valentini’s, a Chisholm-based restaurant had a little trouble selling the cheese-stuffed Mega Meatball last year, so it came up with an easier-to-eat offering — the ‘bucket of meatballs.’ Also from Valentini’s, the porketta ‘slugger’ —  roast pork mixed with cream cheese and deep fried in an egg roll wrapper.  It’s served with a side of red sauce – which completes the dish and may just complete you as a person.

Butcher and the Boar, the James Beard Award-nominated restaurant, which is just blocks from Target Field, will have a ubiquitous presence at the ballpark this year. The restaurant has planned to grill rib tips at a stand right inside Gate 34  – which means people anywhere in the ballpark will be able to find them by sight or by smell.

Kramarczuk’s, the northeast Minneapolis sausage maker, is offering a hot dog inside a bratwurst, wrapped in bacon nestled in a pretzel bun with sauerkraut and mustard. Why? Because they can and because it’s delicious.

By the end of the tour, some of the guests were moving a little slower as they rubbed their sated bellies.

Season ticket holder Beth Johnson from Chaska, found it hard to choose a particular favorite between the meatball burgers, BBQ rib tips and Bananas Foster  she sampled.  “It’s not just hotdogs anymore,” she said.