Haute Cuisine

An article by posted on March 31, 2012

All-Star Evening with All-Star Accommodations

Mets Merized Online was invited last Monday to cover a Mets food tasting at CitiField’s Delta Sky360 Club, or as they put it, “The All-Star Dining Line-Up.”  Due to some fortunate circumstances (for me), I was able to attend. So I headed out Monday with a camera and my appetite.

I know that there are some things that haven’t grown on me yet at CitiField, but their food options make it difficult to choose what I want to eat during games.  I swear, sometimes I just go for the hot dogs and crinkle cut fries from Nathan’s and be done with it!

Yet, I like so much that we were able to get.  My husband and I are big fans of the Nachos Grande stand.  I always like beer.  Though Shake Shack isn’t as much of a novelty to us as it is to others since we live within walking distance of one, Blue Smoke’s fried chicken sandwich was a new addition in 2011 and was a good one at that.  I sometimes get the elote corn on the cob at Taqueria.  While Box Frites did away with the disco frites (boo), my hub liked the parmesan garlic frites.  I like the popcorn shrimp at Catch of the Day, and eggplant parm hero at Cascarino’s.  If I have time to go to the Promenade Club during the game, the buffalo chicken salad gets high marks from me.

Like I said, it’s a little difficult for me to choose, since I have so many options.  So what do the Mets do for 2012?

They add more fabulous fanfare to the menu.  Sigh.

 

I guess the easiest way to go through the new options is to list them by area.  Before I get started though, I’d like to point out that I do have some weird food habits.  Like, I don’t do pastrami or corned beef.  Sandwiches are kinda lost on me.  I love sushi, but I’m sort of weird about getting it at a ballpark, or taste-testing it after eating a slider.  I love that CitiField has healthy options (like fruit, hummus, vegetarian and gluten-free options), but I didn’t try a lot of them.  I guess you can call me crazy, that though I wouldn’t put it past myself to eat a salad at a baseball game, the idea of pork osso bucco?  Eh, little too rich for this blue-collar girl’s tastes.  (Plus, I’m not that big of a fan of pork.)  Lastly, a lot of these menu items are in places many of us might visit once a year, at best if we’re lucky, like the Empire Suites or being invited by Metropolitan Hospitality to an event.

Taste Of The City

 

Box Frites has expanded their options by including a buffalo dog on their menu (all-beef dog with buffalo and blue-cheese sauce, pickled carrot and celery).  At the event, they paired the dog up with their new sweet potato frites option.  Box Frites is also trying their hand at desserts, by offering fried fruit pies!

I actually didn’t partake in the items, as I was getting full just looking at a lot of the food.  From what I heard, the fried pies were divine.  I didn’t get a good report on the buffalo dog.

El Verano Taqueria is introducing a vegetarian taco (which is also gluten-free), soft corn tortillas with portobello mushrooms, zucchini, corn and poblano peppers.  Total opposite from a vegetarian gluten-free taco is the barbacoa quesadilla, slow-cooked beef with chipotle and guajillo peppers.  Jason Fry from Faith and Fear in Flushing is a big Taqueria fan.  He was so-so on the tacos, but the quesadilla seemed to be a winner if you are a beef fan.

Catch of the Day now offers beer battered shrimp skewers.  These were fabulous, a little fluffier than tempura battered shrimp but closer to a corn dog consistency if I had to put a finger on it.

I might have had more than one of these pups.

Taste of the City is located in the Centerfield concourse area on the field level at CitiField.

World’s Fare Market

Much to Ted Berg‘s delight, Mama’s of Corona introduced a new hero to their menu, called the “Mama’s Special.”  It is a hero loaded on Italian bread with peppered ham, salami, fresh mootz, mushrooms and peppers on the side.  If you are a sandwich person, you might like it.  I do not share in the enthusiasm that the sandwich king Berg does!  But I will say, I might have helped myself to a few cannoli and a cupcake (strictly for my dog…and I don’t have a dog).

Daruma of Tokyo had a lovely looking sushi platter and boat available.  Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing was helping himself to some of it, as he is a sushi fan.  I LOOOOVE sushi too, but I really wanted to try the other stuff.  I guess I’m just weird about trying sushi at a ballpark, though it did look lovely.

General Concessions

Aramark has made very few changes in the general concessions throughout the ballpark, but one item that I absolutely positively need to try is the Cholula Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich.  The concession stand display had sliders of their Brooklyn Burger (including the Keith Hernandez Mex Burger) and the Cholula chicken sandwich.  The crispy chicken was one of my favorite things on the menu on the night, a chicken cutlet with Cholula (the hot sauce!) chipotle aioli (ay ai ai!), fresh guac, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and bacon.  They put nearly every favorite thing of mine on one bun.  Depending on your level of tolerance, I didn’t think the hot sauce nor the jalapenos were spicy at all, then again I always get the global thermonuclear sauce at any wing place since they simply aren’t hot enough.  Yet, some people complained that it was too spicy.  Fair enough.  But it was still pretty damn fabulous.

 

I heard the Pastrami sandwich was a hit last year, so I’ll take people’s words for it.  They are offering a Pastrachos platter this year, nachos topped with pastrami, Swiss cheese sauce, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and scallions.  If you’re into Reubens, knock yourself out!

Brooklyn burger is offering a Mex Burger, inspired by Keith Hernandez: a 6 oz. Brooklyn burger on a sesame bun with cheddar and jack cheese, topped with bacon, guacamole, chipotle aioli and jalapenos.  These are served with kettle chips and a Tootsie pop!

I love a tasty burger, and I’m a harsh critic, so I’m not sure I’d order the Mex burger on its own at CitiField.  It was a bit on the dry side, but again, I believe that the stand custom cooks them as you order, so they may be different from sitting under a lamp at a tasting event.

Other items of note: the Kozy Shack gluten free stand has a number of g-free options, as well as vegetarian options.  I heard the veggie dog and veggie burger were not worth whatever they charge (a piece of cardboard is what someone likened it to).  Melissa’s fruit cart offers a variety of fruit and packaged hummus, something any vegan would enjoy!

Delta Sky360 Club

Chances are, you won’t be going to the Delta club without an invite.  Too bad, as they had some damn good food available.  They’re introducing a fried flounder sandwich, Swedish meatball platter and seared beef tenderloin medallions.  NOM NOM.

I probably had about 8 million of the flash-fried shrimp, so I opted out of the fried flounder.  Kerel Cooper from On The Black tried it though, and said it was something he wouldn’t mind trying again.

   

I didn’t get a chance to try the seared medallions, though from the sounds of it (Angus tenderloin, bleu cheese polenta, fennel-tomato ragout, red wine demiglaze), it sounds like something I’d enjoy.  I did, however, try the Swedish meatballs.  AND OMG.  They were FANTASTIC.  The gravy wasn’t too creamy, but I could have done without the focaccia bread.

Caesar’s and Promenade Clubs

Cafe Roma at the Caesar’s Club is introducing two new items: the Reuben quesadilla (grilled flour tortilla filled with New York pastrami, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese and scallions) and the NY cheese steak sandwich.  I passed on both items, but the buffalo chicken salad in that club is also very good if you were looking for other options.

The Promenade Club is offering three new items, called home run wings (served with your choice of either buffalo, chipotle BBQ, teriyaki, garlic parmesan, honey-black pepper or Thai chili), the New Yawkah sandwich (corned beef topped with sweet potato fries, bacon, pickles, slaw and Thousand Island, served on a pretzel roll), and the 7-1-ATE Special (hot or sweet Premio sausage, split and grilled, topped with a hash brown, fried egg, slaw & pepper hash on ciabatta).  Holy moly!  The New Yawkah sounds like they’re trying their hand at a Primanti Brothers-style sandwich (the Pittsburgh treat that serves you with everything on a sandwich, including french fries and slaw).

I didn’t try the wings or the 7-1-ATE though both did have some pleasant reviews from those who tried them.  And I wouldn’t be against trying them either when I’m in the Promenade Club.

Acela Club

 

Pork Osso Bucco is the only new offering on the Acela menu this season.

Really?

I didn’t try it, but I didn’t hear any reviews on it either.  ^Shrug^

Empire Suites

So who wants to split a suite this season?  Two new offerings in the suites include buttermilk fried chicken with corn bread and mac & cheese and southwest chicken salad.

 

Okay, I have to admit that I am a very harsh critic on fried chicken.  I have a southern gene and anything fried needs to have some TLC added to it for me to give it my stamp of approval.  BUT…my chicken piece was a little off the mark. It was a little gamey and slightly stringy.  Blech.  Then I realized that people don’t eat fried chicken for the chicken part…they want the stuff that makes it fried!  The breading was awesome.  And the accompaniments were also stellar — corn bread with real chunks of corn in it.  The baked mac was very good.  I didn’t get to try the southwest salad though…that because…I forgot I wanted to try it.

Turns out with my fried chicken though that I may have had a chicken that put up the fight!  Joe Janish from Mets Today said his was very tender and moist and gave it a thumbs up.  Ah well.  Guess I gotta do a quality assurance test in the suites this year to make SURE I don’t like it.

Metropolitan Hospitality

The hospitality group is serving up three new dishes.  Tuna tartare, chicken and waffles and seared Long Island striped bass.  I only tried the chicken and waffles, which were served on a mini waffle.

   

It was really tasty!  If I can get invited to a party where the hospitality group caters, I’ll be sure to station myself next to the chicken and waffles, which were served with a maple demiglaze.

Well, all righty then!

DESSERTS!!

I didn’t see anyone cut the Metropolitan Hospitality or Mr. Met cakes, but there were ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus, Banana bread pudding served warm in an individual mug and assorted cannoli and cupcakes from Mama’s.

 

I would like to point out that this was a “dry” event — meaning, no alcohol.  They must have known I was coming.  They did provide us with a menu of beer options that will be at craft beer stands, including a variety of Shock Top ales and craft beers.

One other thing I noticed was that the Delta Sky360 Club, where the event was held, that one could not look out into the field.

So I couldn’t get any photos of the wall progress.

But as I bid adieu to the night and CitiField, Ted Berg said farewell and that we’d all be watching baseball in about 10 days.

I walked onto the train platform, and the past meeting the present promo greeted me as I went back to Manhattan.

This was a nice evening, and top notch food was served.  Can’t wait to sample it for real next week!

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