Archive for the ‘Sports Arena’ Category

Yankee Stadium – Parm

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by virginia

Josh’s cousins had two extra tickets to the Yankees/Orioles game last Saturday so we were lucky enough to be able to tag along. It was the night game of a day/night doubleheader, and the earlier game must have taken a toll on the Orioles, as the game we witnessed was a completely lopsided match-up. The Yankees scored 12 runs in the first inning, a franchise record, and I think everyone in the line up got on base and scored during the hour-long inning. It was pretty incredible, and lots of fun to watch.

The beginning of the first inning

A record 12 runs in the first inning for the Yankees

Because the first inning took so long, Josh and I were pretty hungry by the end so we immediately headed down to get some food after the third Yankee out. We knew exactly where we were headed – the new Parm stand in the Great Hall. The stand is run by the people behind Torrisi Italian Specialties down on Mulberry Street, a restaurant I’m really eager to try. They plan on opening up an actual Parm restaurant soon right next door to Torrisi, so this stand is almost like a trial run for them.

The menu is incredibly basic. You can either get a turkey sandwich or a meatball parm, both of which cost $14 each. Kind of steep, especially since the turkey sandwich is only $9 at Torrisi downtown, and $11 for a larger hero. But this is a ballpark so a markup is expected. I was pretty surprised though by the calorie count on the meatball parm, not that it really deterred me from ordering it.

The menu at Parm

Josh and I got one of each sandwich and asked the person behind the counter to cut them in half for us. The turkey sandwich had mayo on it, but Josh doesn’t like mayo so we compromised and asked for light mayo. Turns out, it didn’t need any mayo at all. The turkey was incredibly moist and flavorful, some of the best turkey I’ve ever tasted. In addition to the mayo, there was a spicy sauce slathered on that really had a great tangy kick to it. If you really don’t like spicy sauce though, ask for it light or without because it packed a surprising amount of heat. There was also lettuce, tomato, and raw red onion on the sandwich, which added a nice freshness.

The famous Torrisi turkey sandwich

Autopsy shot

The meatball parm featured a thick meatball patty that was soft and flavorful. The meatball had a wonderful texture to it, and it was also one of the best that I have ever tasted. There wasn’t a lot of cheese on the parm, but the tomato sauce was zesty and well seasoned. My major complaint was that the sandwich was lukewarm. I think it could have been even better had it been served hot, but the flavors were still pretty spot on. I really liked that they put fresh basil leaves on top of the meatball. My minor complaint was that the roll was slightly too sweet for the meatball parm. It was the same roll they use for the turkey sandwich, but it didn’t work as well with the parm. It is sort of like an eggy brioche bun. I liked that it was soft and squishy but it was really just a tad too sweet for my taste.

Meatball parm sandwich

Autopsy shot

Overall we really enjoyed both sandwiches from Parm, and I was happy to be able to try the turkey sandwich that helped make Torrisi famous. I’d love to go there for dinner sometime but the no reservation policy makes it kind of difficult. One of these days we’ll just have to suck it up and stand in line. As for the Parm stand at Yankee Stadium, it’s a welcome addition. Yes, it’s pricey, and the sandwiches aren’t huge, but the quality can’t be beat. I’m still thinking about that wonderful turkey.

It was really hot out so we also decided to grab a lemonade from one of the many lemonade stands in the stadium. At $5.25 a cup, it’s also pretty pricey. Unfortunately, it wasn’t worth the cost. The lemonade tasted incredibly watered down. It wasn’t too sweet, which I liked, but it also lacked the tanginess that you would expect from lemonade. As a result, it really wasn’t very refreshing, and I’ll pass next time.

Not very lemony lemonade

The rest of the game wasn’t as exciting as the first inning, though the Yankees still managed to tack on a bunch more runs. We started out the game sitting in the upper deck, in left field foul territory. Josh’s cousins also had two field level tickets behind the Orioles dugout, and after the fourth inning, we were allowed to move down and sit with them there because the stands were pretty empty. It was a nice upgrade, and we finished out the game with a pretty great view of the field.

The great view from our new seats

Jeter at bat

The Yankees ended up winning the game 17-3 and had a whopping 24 hits during the game. We had a great time watching the game and hanging out with everyone. Plus we really enjoyed our sandwiches from Parm, and I would definitely go back there if we make it to another Yankee game this season. I hope the stand sticks around, as it’s really worth a visit!

The final score

The Yankees lining up to celebrate their win

Yankee Stadium – Carl’s Steaks and Garlic Fries

Thursday, June 16th, 2011 by virginia

Josh and I recently attended our first baseball game of the season, courtesy of Randy. He generously gave us his Yankees tickets for a Saturday day game against the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t ideal, with a persistent misty rain that drizzled down on us throughout the entire game. It was also pretty windy and chilly, but fortunately we came prepared with raincoats and long pants.

We arrived at the stadium with some time to spare so we walked a loop to check out the various food options. We were searching for Mike’s Deli and its famous eggplant parmesan sandwiches but couldn’t seem to locate the stand. We asked a bunch of people and got nowhere, until finally someone was able to tell us that the deli was no longer available at the stadium. Doh! We were pretty disappointed and started looking around for a backup plan.

We were surprised to see that there was no line at Lobel’s, where we had to wait for almost an hour last year for a steak sandwich. Perhaps the novelty has worn off and people don’t want to pay $15 for a sandwich anymore? Since we had already tried the steak sandwich, we continued on our way. We also decided to bypass Johnny Rockets and Brother Jimmy’s, but that didn’t leave us with too many other choices (sorry, we still think Citi Field is nicer and has better food concessions). We finally settled on Carl’s Steaks for some Philly cheesesteaks.

I wasn’t thrilled with this option, as I know there are branches of Carl’s Steaks in the city. But given our other choices, this seemed like the best option. Josh and I decided to split a cheesesteak, but we argued about what kind of cheese to get. He wanted American, I wanted to try Cheez Whiz. Josh refused to back down so we ended up with the American cheese. I didn’t like the flavor of the cheese but the rest of the sandwich was ok. The steak was thinly sliced and we got it with the sauteed onions. I thought the filling was a bit paltry, but I saw other sandwiches being made that were fuller, so I guess it varies from sandwich to sandwich. The sub roll that it was served on was soft and chewy, and it wasn’t a terrible sandwich for $10.50 (yes, overpriced, but not overly so for a ballpark).

Cheesesteak with white American cheese and onions

To round out our lunch, we headed to the closest Garlic Fries stand because we had really enjoyed the fries from there last year.

We got a large order of the garlic fries, and were happy to see all the garlicky topping mixed throughout. Though the fries had been sitting out for a while and were slightly cold, the garlic punch really made an impact on our taste buds. If you like garlic, these fries can’t be missed. A large order cost $9.50 but is pretty big and can split among several people.

Garlic fries

After we got our food, we settled in to watch the game. Our seats were on the upper level but behind home plate, so we had a great view of the field. Coincidentally, Josh’s uncle and some of his cousins were sitting in the next section over, so we sat with them for a while as well. Despite the lousy weather, we had a great time. It was an exciting game and the Yankee victory made it all the more fun. Thanks Randy!

View from the seats

Holiday Wrap-Up and Tailgate Party

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 by virginia

We spent the Christmas long weekend in NJ, of course, having Christmas dinner with my parents on Friday, Hanukkah brunch on Saturday afternoon (Josh’s parents were away the actual week of Hanukkah), and attending the last Giants game at Giants Stadium on Sunday. We did a lot of eating that weekend, feasting on a variety of foods.

Christmas Dinner

With my brother and sister both living out of state, neither of them could make it home for Christmas this year so we didn’t really have a big, elaborate meal since it was just me, Josh, and my parents. We kept it super simple with a hot pot filled with tofu, fish cakes, cabbage, and thin slices of pork.

Hot pot chock full of tofu, fish cakes, cabbage, and pork

In keeping with tradition, we dipped all the items into a combination of sha cha (Chinese bbq sauce) and hot sauce before eating them. The pot bubbled away on an electric hot plate in the middle of the table and we merrily threw more items into it until we couldn’t eat any more, and the broth was rich and flavorful.

More tofu and pork ready to go into the hot pot

We also had a big plate of pan fried soup dumplings, which Josh and I request every time we’re at my parents’ house. Even though they buy them frozen at a Chinese supermarket, these dumplings are actually really good. They have thicker skin than most soup dumplings but the filling is hearty and flavorful.

Yummy soup dumplings

Lastly, we had stir fried beef cooked with scallions, hot chilies, and the latest harvest of pimientos de padron. The padron peppers actually worked really well with the beef, making kind of a fusion twist on pepper steak.

Stir fried beef with scallions, chilies, and pimientos de padron

Hanukkah Brunch

Instead of exchanging gifts every night of Hanukkah, Josh’s family usually does gifts all on one day. We get together with his parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and cousins and have a big brunch first before digging into all of the presents. The highlight of the brunch is always Alice’s latkes, which she makes from a mixture of potatoes, onions, and matzo meal. She blends the ingredients together and then fries up the batter, which makes for a crispy outside and a creamy inside.

Potato latkes

This year Josh decided to fry up a batch using bacon fat, which Alice wasn’t too happy about. Is that sacrilegious? I don’t know, but in the end, there wasn’t much noticeable difference in the bacon fat latkes. They were maybe slightly crispier on the outside but there was only a hint of bacon flavor in the background, and it wasn’t worth the effort to collect the bacon fat.

Potato latkes fried in bacon fat

Brunch at Josh’s house also isn’t complete without bagels from Three Star Bagels in Teaneck, NJ. I haven’t found a bagel in NYC that even comes close to Three Star in terms of flavor and texture. Jersey bagels are bigger than NYC bagels, which a lot of people might not like, but since I love bagels, the more the better. The crust on a fresh Three Star bagel is both crispy and chewy, and inside is airy and chewy but not too dense. These are my favorite bagels, hands down.

The best bagels

You can’t have bagels without an assortment of schmears. We got both scallion cream cheese and lox cream cheese. My preference is the scallion, since its chock full of chopped up scallion that adds a nice freshness.

Lox and scallion cream cheese

I also prefer the scallion cream cheese because I love to pile lox onto my bagels, and doing that on lox cream cheese would just be overkill. I absolutely love lox, and could eat it every day.

Lots of lox, with tomatoes and onions on the side

The salads at Three Star are also top notch. We always get the egg salad, tuna salad, and chicken salad, and break off pieces of bagel to eat with each one. My personal favorite is the tuna salad, as it’s not overly mayo-y or fishy.

Tuna salad (in front), egg salad, and chicken salad

We also got a container of whitefish salad, which was a bit salty and oily. While it wasn’t bad flavor-wise, I still prefer tuna salad.

Whitefish salad

Lastly, we had some slices mozzarella and prosciutto rolls. It was pre-packaged so I didn’t think it would be that good but it was actually delicious. The prosciutto was flavorful and the mozzarella was milky and soft. There were some basil leaves in the center of the roll that tied it all together.

Prosciutto and mozzarella rolls

Tailgate Party

Last summer we got tickets to go to the Giants game that would be over Christmas weekend. We figured it would be convenient since we knew we’d be in NJ that weekend anyway. We didn’t realize that this would be the last Giants game ever at Giants Stadium, which made it all the more exciting. We planned on meeting our friends in the parking lot around 9 am to do some tailgating.

Our tailgating spot right outside gate C

Josh and I volunteered to take care of the chili, which we put together the night before. It was simple – just ground beef, peppers, onions, kidney beans, and lots of garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. We brought it in a big pot and heated it up on the small grill that our friends brought for the occasion.

Big pot of chili

Our friends took care of everything else, which was really awesome of them. After we warmed up with cups of chili, the brats were next up on the grill. First they were cooked in a pan with onions and beer.

Brats in a beer and onion bath

Then they were placed directly on the grill to get some nice char and grill marks on the outside. These were the first brats I’ve ever eaten (surprisingly!) and I liked them a lot. Juicy, flavorful, and the onions were a nice touch.

Perfectly grilled brat

We finished off with two giant racks of ribs, which were rubbed with a spice mixture first and then slathered with tasty bbq sauce. The ribs came out tender and flavorful even though we were running a bit short on time.

Two giant racks of ribs on the grill

We had also intended to make burgers but ran out of time before the game started. Unfortunately, the Giants didn’t show up for this game at all. It really was quite a disgrace, and we left early, completely disappointed.

Beautiful day for football but bad game overall

Still, it was a gorgeous day, chilly but not freezing, and we had a blast tailgating. It’s nice to be able to drink beer at 9:30 am and not feel guilty about it! When we got cold the guys warmed up with some scotch while the girls stuck with hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps. I couldn’t believe the number of people out tailgating so early in the morning, but the atmosphere was fun and festive. I definitely hope that we’ll be able to do this again!

Three Star Bagels
402 Cedar Lane
Teaneck, NJ

Bad Food at Madison Square Garden

Thursday, December 10th, 2009 by virginia


Since I posted about the food at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, it’s only fair for me to talk about the food at Madison Square Garden (MSG) as well. Sadly, there’s not much to talk about. Basically, your only options are cafeteria food. Expensive, terrible cafeteria food.

We were invited to attend the Knicks/Nets preseason match-up at MSG and our seats were located in the Club section, meaning that we could get food and drinks delivered directly to our seats. Perusing the menu, there wasn’t much that interested us. Sure you could get hot dogs, sandwiches, nachos, and other standard sports arena food, but it was shockingly pricey.

Josh and I weren’t starving at that point so we ended up splitting an order of chicken fingers, which came with waffles fries. The cost? About $12, not including tip. Not being club seat regulars, I gotta ask – who do you tip? The person that takes your order? Or the person that brings you your food? Being newbies, we tipped the person taking the order 20%, thinking that they would be getting our food for us. But it turned out to be someone else, so we ended up tipping that person as well. It ended up being a very expensive order of chicken fingers and waffle fries.

So was the food at least good? Nope. The fingers and fries are obviously the frozen variety, and there were four tenders to the order. Even though they were delivered within 10 minutes, they were lukewarm and soggy and had clearly been steaming inside a plastic container for some time. Ugh. It’s hard to mess up fried food, and they managed to do so. You all know how much I love fake seasoned waffle fries, but these were just sad.

Soggy, ordinary chicken tenders and waffle fries

Soggy, ordinary chicken tenders and waffle fries

It’s really too bad because you would think that they’d want to give Club seat ticket holders decent food, since the tickets are so pricey to begin with. But what did I really expect? I personally think you’re better off walking out and getting your own food, but then I feel bad about taking business away from the order-takers and delivery people. But then you pay a lot extra for a service that doesn’t even really do a good job. It’s quite a dilemma. At least we can get away with not ordering drinks from them, as they only have Bud, Bud Light, and Bass, while the beer garden stand just outside has far more and better beer choices.

I don’t know if the concession stands are cheaper than if you order from the Club menu, but I can’t imagine that it would a big difference in price. I’ll have to look the next time we’re at MSG. I really hope that MSG will step up soon and provide better food choices, a la Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. Both of those stadiums have vastly improved on the typically mediocre sports arena food. But until then, the food at MSG is pretty pathetic, and expect to pay through the nose for it.

Meanwhile, the Knicks beat the Nets handily, which was apparently a preview of things to come for the Nets. Not that the Knicks are doing so much better these days either. It’s hard to be a basketball fan in this area!

Good seats, fun game, bad food

Good seats, fun game, bad food

Citi Field – Mama’s of Corona and Box Frites

Friday, August 21st, 2009 by virginia


Since it was my first visit to Citi Field, we arrived early for the 7:10 game against the Phillies, as I wanted time to walk around the stadium, and I also wanted to make sure we got the promotional sports bags that were offered that night. Unfortunately, it had been raining on off all day, and was drizzling steadily when we got to the stadium. I checked online before I left work but they hadn’t made any announcements about the game being cancelled or delayed, so when we arrived at 6, we already had plenty of time to kill. After making a loop to see all the concession stand offerings, it was finally announced that the game would be delayed until 8:30. Bummer. Luckily, our seats were high enough that they were under the overhang in the top deck so we decided to grab some food and sit out the delay.

As I did with our visit to Yankee Stadium, I checked online for reviews of all the offerings at Citi Field (I keep wanting to call it Shea Stadium still!). While the Shake Shack and Blue Smoke had obvious appeal, I figured that this would probably be my first and last visit to Citi Field this season, so I wanted to try something that I haven’t had before and couldn’t easily access in Manhattan. I remembered reading a lot about the special sandwich Mama’s of Corona on the Feisty Foodie and that’s where we ended up.

The taste of NY concession area, which we walked through but didn't get anything

The Taste of the City concession area, which we walked through but didn't get anything (except Box Frites)

I don’t know if it was because we were early or because of the weather, but the World Market where Mama’s of Corona is located was completely empty. Josh and I weren’t that hungry yet so we decided to split the special sandwich. There were a bunch of them already pre-made and stacked behind the counter so all we had to do was wait for it to be boxed up and we were on our way. We stopped by the Catch of the Day stand to pick up some Blue Point Toasted Lager (I love the range of beer offerings at Citi Field – much better than Yankee Stadium!) and headed up to our seats.

A stack of pre-made sandwiches ready to be packed up from Mama's of Corona

A stack of pre-made sandwiches ready to be packed up from Mama's of Corona

The special sandwich has fresh mozzarella, genoa salami, and black pepper ham on it. Looking at the sandwich, I was disappointed by the thin layer of meat it had. Basically there was only one layer of salami, and one layer of ham. It definitely was not a hearty Italian sandwich that we’re used to.

Not a super stuffed Italian sandwich

Not a super stuffed Italian sandwich

The sandwich came with a small container of roasted pepper and a container of marinated mushrooms. We added on both to provide some extra heft and flavor. Even though the sandwich was pre-made, the bread was still pretty fresh and had a nice soft chew to it. Out of the fillings, the black pepper ham really stood out, but it’s not for you if you don’t like the taste of the black pepper. I did take a bite without the extra condiments and it wasn’t as tasty. The roasted peppers and the mushrooms added a nice zing and complemented the mozzarella cheese.

The sandwich was better after adding on the marinated mushroom and roasted pepper condiments

The sandwich was better after adding on the marinated mushroom and roasted pepper condiments

Overall I wasn’t the hugest fan of this sandwich, though it wasn’t bad. I definitely thought the bread-to-filling ratio was off, and the only thing I could really taste from the meats was the black pepper on the ham. At $9.75, it’s a pricey sandwich for what you get, but not so pricey considering the venue. Stadium food is always overpriced, and this was a nice change from the usual hot dogs and hamburgers. I’d probably try out some other foods before I would order this sandwich again though.

As the storm passed, the sky turned an amazing red/purple color

As the storm passed, the sky turned an amazing red/purple color

The rain eventually did stop, and the game started around 8:30 as promised. It was a pretty exciting game, with the Phillies taking the early lead but then the Mets pulling ahead. After that it was a nail biter to hold onto the lead, as the Phillies were presented with lots of scoring opportunities. Midway through the game we started to feel a bit puckish, so Josh headed down and picked up a large order of fries from Box Frites.

A large order of fries from Box Frites

A large order of fries from Box Frites

Since it was later in the game, the stand had run out of most dipping sauces, which was a bit disappointing. We ended up with the olive and pepperocini sauce, which is mayo based. It didn’t have a strong olive flavor but there was a nice tangy kick from the pepperocini. Josh preferred this sauce (haha bet he didn’t know there was mayo in it) while I stuck mostly with ketchup. The fries were really good though, thick cut, hot, and crispy. I preferred these fries to the skinny Garlic Fries at Yankee Stadium, though the garlic sauce on top of those fries were much better than the olive and pepperocini dipping sauce. The perfect combination would be the Box Frites fries with the Garlic Fries sauce. Mmmm.

Olive and pepperocini dip for the frites

Olive and pepperocini dip for the frites

Overall I thought the food options at Citi Field were much better than the ones at Yankee Stadium. I also prefer the openness of Citi Field to that of Yankee Stadium. While both stadiums offer field views from the concession areas, Citi Field just seemed much airier and more welcoming to me. And the Taste of the City area is really a great idea. It’s a nice wide open space with lots of food choices, making it a good place to hang out before the game. And the beer options are also better at Citi Field, making it a complete overall experience for me. Too bad the Mets haven’t lived up to their new stadium this season!

Yankee Stadium – Lobel’s and Garlic Fries

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 by virginia


I finally got a chance to check out the new Yankee Stadium and lucky for me, the food choices there and at Citi Field have already been blogged about to death. Since everyone else has already done the dirty investigative work, I read up on a few places and weighed our options. Eventually we decided to check out Lobel’s of New York and their famed $15 steak sandwich.

We got to the stadium around 6:30 and took a quick walk around to see everything. I liked the open air structure – you can still see the field while waiting in line at the concession stands. I also thought the food court was a clever addition and helped with crowd control in the walkways. After picking up some decent but pricey beers at the Beers of the World stand, we got in line at Lobel’s. It was probably the longest line I saw out of all the concession stands, and it moved very slowly for some reason. Fortunately we had our beers to keep us company, and we watched the butchers behind the glass window trimming some beautiful pieces of beef.

Beautiful pieces of raw beef behind the glass at Lobel's

We eventually wound our way to the front of the line and watched as they piled the meat onto our sandwiches. We also picked up containers of olive spread, though they told us they were out of horseradish.

Steak sandwich assembly line

Steak sandwich assembly line

By the time we got our sandwiches, we had already missed the first inning. Not a big deal; we picked up some more beer and headed up to our seats.

The cup holders at the new stadium are a brilliant addition

The cup holders at the new stadium are a brilliant addition

Luckily we didn’t miss much in the first inning, and the game picked up in the second. We dug into our sandwiches right away so they wouldn’t get cold. Josh and I both spread the olive tapenade onto the top bun.

We added olive tapenade to our sandwiches

We added olive tapenade to our sandwiches

The juice/gravy from the meat had already completely soaked through the bottom bun. Josh picked up his sandwich to eat it, which was a messy choice. A ton of liquid dripped out all over him and down his arm so he had to eat very quickly.

Close up on the beef and all the gravy soaking into the bottom bun

Close up on the beef and all the gravy soaking into the bottom bun

I didn’t want to mess up my clothes so I ended up holding the container under my sandwich the entire time. It was a clumsy way to eat but I managed to keep myself stain-free. The verdict? Meh. It was just ok. The meat was tender but all I could taste was whatever they seasoned it with. The gravy basically overpowered the taste of the beef. I also thought it was too sweet so I was glad to have the olive spread to counteract that a bit. They do give you a lot of meat, so extra points for that, but I’m not sure I would pay $15 for that sandwich outside of the stadium. Ballpark food is overpriced, and this is no exception. Still, this is probably the best deal out of all the other stadium offerings.

A decent, but not great, sandwich

A decent, but not great, sandwich

After an exciting start the game, the Yankee offense really slowed down and the Blue Jays took the lead. It got a bit boring after a while so we headed back down for some more beers and to grab a snack. We head straight for the Garlic Fries stand and picked up a large order to share. We also picked up a small order for our friend, but there wasn’t a huge difference in the size. We were probably better off sticking with a small order, as it was a fairly substantial portion to begin with, and these fries are rich and filling.

DSCN1664The fries are topped with tons of freshly chopped garlic and parsley so they’re really flavorful, but they were also a bit oily. I enjoyed them a lot but you really can’t eat too many without feeling overwhelmed. And you’ll definitely want a mint or gum afterward. They were really tasty though, and I’d definitely get them again the next time I’m at the stadium.

Garlicky garlic fries

Garlicky garlic fries

Overall I wasn’t super impressed with Lobel’s or the other options at Yankee Stadium. To be fair, I didn’t try any of the other options but nothing else really appealed to me. Places like Brother Jimmy’s and Johnny Rockets I can get outside of the stadium. I would like to try Mike’s Deli the next time though. I did enjoy the Garlic Fries a lot, and I thought they were a great twist on traditional stadium food. We’ll be heading to Citi Field in a week for my first visit there and I can’t wait to see what it has to offer.