Mud Hens mix flavors with new food offeringsWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s face it: the hot dog will never be too far from the baseball fan’s heart — or stomach.
However, the Mud Hens believe fans can save a bit of stomach real estate for some more adventurous fare.
The team is introducing 14 new items this season, including a couple with significant head-turning appeal.
Inspiration for ballpark food is not hard to come by in today’s foodie culture, according to Dusten Brown, executive chef for A Cut Above Catering, the official catering group of Fifth Third Field.
“A lot of it comes from looking around the country, finding what are the popular things coming out,” he said. “We also have a lot of help from our purveyors, letting us know what items we could mix together.”
One thing Brown mixed together was pork — three different types of pork are present in one of his favorite new dishes: The Triple Play Nacho is available at the stadium’s El Burrito Misterio stand.
“It’s one of my little pet projects,” Brown said. “I am a big fan of pork, and being able to put as many pork products as I can on one item is great.”
The nachos feature “We Be Ribs” pulled pork, bacon, nacho cheese, tomatoes, jalapeño peppers and sour cream. Because two pork products are hardly enough for a plate of pig-centered nachos, pork skins replace the typical tortilla chips here.
Last year, the Mud Hens debuted their Mac & Cheese Dog. This year, the team is trotting out the Mac & Cheese Burger, served at Gilhooley’s.
The pretzel bun makes its debut at the stadium with the Cheddar Peppercorn Sausage, sold at Suds & Wieners. It’s a smoked sausage filled with cheddar cheese and peppercorn, topped with sauerkraut and housed in a pretzel sausage bun.
The Mud Hens didn’t forget dessert.
“I think guests are really going to love the Oreo churros,” said Corey Pleasant, casual dining manager for A Cut Above. “They’re an Oreo pastry, almost with a brownie-like texture to it, but it’s deep fried so it’s got a little crust on the outside and chewy on the inside. The creme [packaged in a separate dipping container] is the same creme that’s on the inside of an Oreo.”
Sure to raise some eyebrows, the Pineapple Habañero Sundae is available at Farr Out Funnels. Featuring fried pieces of pineapple on Toft’s ice cream covered with a habañero glaze and whipped cream, the dessert isn’t what one might assume from the name, Pleasant said.
“I think a lot of people will be shocked with the sundae,” he said. “You have the habañero name in there, so you probably think it’s spicy, but it’s not. It’s more of a sweet glaze.”
Ever wished your s’more around the campfire could be held together by something a bit softer, more delicious and … well, calorie-laden? Try the S’More Donut, which is precisely what it sounds like. The dish is made possible by the Tom+Chee kiosk located in section 113 on the main concourse. The chain restaurant will also feature the Grilled Cheese Donut.
Other new offerings at Fifth Third Field include: Fried Green Tomato Burger (Gilhooley’s); Nutella Poppers (Hen & Hound); Holy Toledo Chicken Sandwich (one-pound grilled chicken breast on a submarine roll with Italian dressing, lettuce, tomato and onion), Red Velvet Cake, House Sirloin, Chili Mac and Chicken Kabobs, all sold at the BirdCage Bar and Grill, a sit-down restaurant on the club level at the stadium.
The Hens are hosting the inaugural Taste of Fifth Third Field on May 8. During the tour, fans will sample eight featured dishes, as well as take home a complimentary souvenir from the Swamp Shop. Tickets are $42 and must be purchased in advance at mudhens.com or by calling the box office at (419) 725-HENS.
As the song says, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” Oh, and don’t forget the habañero glaze.
Tags: Dusten Brown