The last time a big crowd gathered in Citizens Bank Park was Oct. 7 when the Phillies lost to the eventual world champion St. Louis Cardinals. After such a promising season, Philly fans were left with a bad taste in their mouths.
But no matter what happens when the Flyers and Rangers face off in the NHL Winter Classic at the Phillies' home park next week, fans will have plenty to savor.
On Jan. 2, the venue is rolling out a special menu of cold weather eats to battle the frigid temperatures expected at the annual outdoor hockey game. ARAMARK executive chef Glenn Richmond plans to warm the 43,000-plus frigid fans with an array of soups, paninis and hot drinks throughout the stadium.
"When we designed the NHL Winter Classic menu, we wanted to showcase Citizens Bank Park's most popular items and adapt others to be relevant for a hockey crowd," said Chef Richmond. "The result is a fan-friendly mixture of Philadelphia classics and new items that are sure to become fan favorites."
It starts with a Flyers-inspired hot chocolate. To capture the team's colors, the piping hot crowd-pleaser will be topped with whipped cream, orange sprinkles and chocolate syrup. Those with a little more of a sweet tooth can try the hot apple pie and s'mores. Not that anyone will have room for dessert.
Chef Richmond and his team have made two stellar soups that aren't to be missed. Fans of the traditional can dig into a tomato bisque -- an upscale version of the grade school classic. Or for the more adventurous there's a Tuscan kale soup filled with chicken and cannellini beans.
Still not full? There's a panini for that. Two actually.
The first is filled with maple roasted turkey. But my money is on the whole grain mustard marinated petit filet with Vermont cheddar cheese. Definitely worth the trip to the 200 and 300 levels of the park to one of the two beer gardens featuring local microbrews for an IPA or stout to wash it down with.
Oh, and if you get the chance between bites, there will be a hockey game going on as well.
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