A huge problem for baseball fans, especially those who go to the ballpark in large part for the beer, is that once you get your frosty beverage back to your seat it is no longer cold. And then you have a large, warm, semi-flat beer and you're spending most of the time just trying to get it down quickly, because you obviously spent a lot more than what a normal beer costs.

Luckily, Dodger Stadium has installed maybe one of the most brilliant inventions of all time: A machine that makes frozen beer foam. It's like having a mini-cooler on top of your beer.

But does it work? Foodbeast -- which has a full review and produced the video below -- investigated:

We put the frozen foam to the test and it did in fact keep our beers pretty cold for a few innings and the full thirty minutes. We didn’t test the foam under multiple scenarios, but it seemed to work pretty well in the late afternoon/early evening on a sunny, yet humid, 80+ degree day in Los Angeles. Our 16 oz. beers retailed at the inflated you’re-stuck-at-a-sports-game price of $10, but may vary at other locations.

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A company called Kirin launched the product in 2012, according to Beer Street Journal and is available in restaurants across Asia. The special tap works to freeze the foam of the beer at 23 degrees.

Its initial target audience, according to a Reuters interview with Kirin's marketing brand manager for the campaign, was people who couldn't finish their drinks before it got warm.

"We thought people won't spend more than five minutes on a pint of beer but apparently not," said Kunihiko Kadota. "Women and young drinkers spend much more time to drink it all up, and they like the idea the beer doesn't get warm towards the end."

The Dodgers, under their new ownership group, spent $100 million on upgrading the stadium during the offseason. Old scoreboards were replaced with giant HD screens. WiFi and stronger cell phone signals were added. More fixtures were put in the bathrooms. All were crucial aspects in the effort to improve the fan experience, as the owners had pledged they would do. But you can make a case that the frozen beer foam could be the most popular.

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He may be barred from competing in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, but Takeru Kobayashi is still performing amazing food feats.

The 35-year-old competitive eater recently took down 13 cupcakes in one minute during an appearance at Uncle Bob's Self Storage in Upper Saddle River, N.J. And he topped that feat by washing them down with, that's right, an entire gallon of milk.

Now, it's considered unhealthy to drink a gallon of milk in an hour, much less a day, and here Kobayashi does it in 20 seconds.

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Some of the most unhealthy and outrageous sports cuisine has come from minor league baseball teams.

Like a bacon-shelled taco. Or a peanut butter and pepper jelly jalapeño bacon burger.

But now a concoction dreamt up by the Atlanta Falcons is giving all those items a run for their money. The organization is debuting a new sandwich for training camp that includes all of the following items stacked on top of each other: Pulled pork, applewood bacon, mac & cheese, coleslaw and two fried onion rings.

Talk about a mouthful.


The one-and-a-half pound sandwich remains unnamed, so for those creative chompions out there, here's your chance to shine. Use the hashtag #aftcsandwich to tweet your suggestions.

Below are our favorite names thus far:




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Temperatures were heading toward 90 degrees, but for Joey Chestnut, the heat likely felt even higher as a packed crowd gathered at Coney Island to see if he could get his seventh straight Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

"I'll do anything I can to win it,” Chestnut said before the contest. "I'll give blood if I have to."

Through the years Chestnut has ranged between 56 and 68 hot dogs per win, and this time there would be no holding back. Among the competitors was Matt Stonie, a 22-year-old upstart, who has beaten Chestnut in asparagus eating competitions. Other competitors included Ronnie Hartman, a soldier who recently returned from Afghanistan and chose to spend his Fourth chomping down hot dogs, Pete "Pretty Boy" Davekos whose accolades include eating 31 soft tacos in 10 minutes, Eric "Badlands” Booker who has scarfed down 21 matzo balls in five minutes and Marcos Owens who has eaten 144 Hooters chicken wings in 10 minutes.

"There's not a greater assortment of characters than right here today,” said Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz before the contest.

Stonie came out quickly, popping out ahead of Chestnut in the early seconds of the competition but the champion wasn't going down quickly. With a minute down, Chestnut was a hot dog and a half ahead of Stonie, who arguably looked to be in considerably less pain while chomping down hot dogs to keep pace. At 8 minutes, the two briefly tied, with Tim "Eater X” Janus, struggling to stay in third. (The ever-helpful announcers noted that Janus has had a tough year after breaking up with his girlfriend.)

But by six minutes left, it was all over. Chestnut jumped out to a six hot-dog lead and never looked back. He broke his previous record, eating 69 hot dogs for a new world record. It was his seventh straight win, which topped the mark of six he had been sharing with his rival Takeru Kobayashi.

"69 is a magic number," he said, as the crowd chanted his name. "I came out here the crowd pushed me and they wouldn’t let me slow down and it’s awesome."

Stonie finished second with 51.

Chestnut gave credit to his girlfriend, Neslie Ricasa, who took over coaching for him recently.

"Without her I would have been lazy and she saved me on that one," he said.

This year, for many local residents, the hot dog contest took on a bit of a bigger meaning: Nathan's Famous and the amusement district of Coney Island are still rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and the competition was just another sign of the area returning to normalcy.

"The speed with which the rebuilding took place was remarkable," noted George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating in ESPN's pre-show video. "You have to understand. October 29, the water came in and knocked everyone back on their heels."

Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, won the women’s competition, winning by ¾ of a hot dog with 36 and ¾ consumed. Juliet Lee, the second-place finisher, ate 36.

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The contest was also the last time New York Mayor Bloomberg recited a record amount of puns for the weigh-in. Here’s the always dry-humored billionaire, in his final year doing it.

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In an article in 1958 celebrating the patriotic treat of the masses, the hot dog, Sports Illustrated writer Evan Jones waxed some beautiful poetic:

The hot dog is nostalgic. It is legendary, so legendary that it has been said that it was invented in Frankfurt am Main in the 16th century, or that the first of its kind was made from dog meat at the command of Frederick the Great during the Seven Years' War, or that the Frankfurt Butchers Guild produced the original, in the shape of a dachshund, in 1852. In the Odyssey, the sausage line leads back to the ninth century B.C., when Homer wrote: "As when a man near a great glowing fire turns to and fro a sausage, full of fat and blood, anxious to have it quickly roasted; so to and fro Odysseus tossed, and pondered how to lay hands upon the shameless suitors."

Little did he know that decades later, a tradition of patriotism in the name of American gluttony would involve trained professionals scarfing down as many hot dogs and buns as they could in the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Competition.

As they have done nearly every year (it's been interrupted for reasons like war and protests), competitors will line up on Coney Island for the competition on Thursday, to be broadcast for the ninth year on ESPN beginning at noon ET.

The competition, however, bears little resemblance to the first one held on the boardwalk in the early part of last century.

Even in the decade since ESPN first discussed covering the competition with Major League Eating (a meeting done over lunch, of course), the competition has grown from attracting just over 25,000 fans to more than 50,000, thanks in large part to the league and the sports network.

The strategy has changed and become more practiced. The hot dog counter itself has changed. It’s also gone from a competition won by the people you’d think would win it: Large men who seem like they've just eaten a lot of hot dogs in their time to smaller fitter champions like this year's favorite and three-time defending champion Joey Chestnut. And it's been plagued with accusations and controversies from one former champion banned because of a disagreement over sponsorship agreements.

For its part, ESPN says it has tried to keep the competition as close to its roots as possible.

"Our approach, as it is for most championship events, we want to showcase the event as it is" said Jason Bernstein, senior director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN. "Therefore when we talked with them (a decade ago) we spent a lot of time then and over the years on how we can capture their moments without interfering in the competition."

The byproducts of what the coverage on ESPN has brought are only natural: There's more attention paid to it and the stakes get higher because there's naturally more chance for money involved. (For more on one major consequence, see the sad tale of why the contest has had to go on without Chestnut's top rival.)

But what hasn’t changed is why people love it. The key to the popularity, said Bernstein is its simplicity and the short amount of actual time fans have to invest in it -- at least from their home (10 minutes).

"It's hot dogs on Fourth of July," he added. “Everyone loves hot dogs on the Fourth of July, even vegetarians who can have tofu dogs for the holiday.”

Below, a video of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, participating in the 2012 weigh-in.

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While Americans across the country head out to the pool, fire up the grill and take down a (mostly) reasonable amount of food on the Fourth of July, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut will look to go where no competitive eater has gone before him.

Seventh Heaven.

Chestnut, the star competitive eater from San Jose, is the heavy favorite to win his seventh consecutive Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Thursday, as his top rival Takeru Kobayashi continues his contract standoff with Major League Eating.

The 29-year-old Chestnut has dominated the competition since 2007, when he pulled the upset and ended Kobayashi's run of six straight titles. Chestnut beat Kobayashi in overtime in 2008 and by 3 1/2 hot dogs in 2009.

Then Kobayashi walked.

In 2010, Kobayashi refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating, the organization that runs the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and many similar events, and he famously showed up at the event to protest.

As one can imagine, competitive eating isn't the most lucrative sport, and athletes often sign endorsements to boost their income. Major League Eating wants a cut of any endorsement signed by one of its competitors, and Kobayashi thought that was too much to ask.

By refusing to sign, Kobayashi has since been banned from competing in MLE events, and his photo has even been removed from Nathan's three-story high "Wall of Fame." These developments have seriously damaged Kobayashi's celebrity and legend. Imagine if LeBron James couldn't compete in the NBA.

As Adam Felder writes in The Atlantic, MLE and Kobayashi would both benefit from giving in to the others' demands. The Nathan's contest figures to be more competitive with Kobayashi involved, as no other eater has been able to give Chestnut as much of a challenge. And Kobayashi would have the exposure of being on center stage for the sport's most visible event.

But Kobayashi has signed on with Hofmann's, a hot dog company based in upstate New York, so his return to MLE in the short term seems unlikely. The deal with Hoffmann's will give Kobayashi an annual salary $100,000, 2 percent of supermarket sales on hot dogs and an undisclosed stake in a planned restaurant chain, according to a BuzzFeed report.

For the past two years, Kobayashi has taken part in separate hot dog eating contests or exhibitions on July 4. In 2011 he downed an (unofficial) world record 69 wieners, and last year he ate 58.5.

On Thursday, Kobayashi will be scarfing down dogs at the Eventi Hotel Plaza in Manhattan. Afterwards, he will unveil his own line of grain-fed franks, the "Kobi Dog."

The Coney Island contest loses some of its luster without Kobayashi, but Chestnut has become a legend in his own right.

“If you polled all New Yorkers, their top five sports heroes would be, in order, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Joey, Joe Namath and Walt Frazier,” Richard Shea, the president of Major League Eating, told the New York Daily News.

Past runners-up Tim "Eater X" Janus and Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti are expected to eat Thursday but Chestnut is mostly competing against himself. The world record that Chestnut is gunning for is 68 hot dogs, a mark he set twice (2009, 2012), and the over/under for how many dogs he'll down is 63.5.

And Chestnut doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. He told Gersh Kuntzman of the New York Daily News that he has his eyes set on ten Nathan's titles. Ambitious, sure, but not entirely out of the question. Chestnut is now a full-time competitive eater, traveling the world and pocketing some serious dough all thanks to his durable stomach.

While that lifestyle may sound, well, unappetizing, to some, Chestnut loves it.

"There's no better feeling than knowing I’m going to break the guy next to me," Chestnut told the New York Daily News. "His body will shut down and I will keep eating. Then I will look out and see a crowd of happy people."

In the women's competition, two-time champion Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas is widely expected to make her run a three-peat. Her winning total was 40 last year and 41 in 2011, the first year with a separate women's competition.

More On Hot Dogs: ESPN Coverage Helps Bolster Tradition Of Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

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Other proteins will occupy grill grate space this weekend, but July 4th, really, is all about the hot dog.

July is National Hot Dog Month. On Independence Day, Americans will eat approximately 150 million hot dogs in total, projects the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. Nathan's Famous will host its yearly international hot dog-eating championship, where Joey Chestnut hopes to scarf his way to a record-setting victory.



Go ahead, join in. It would be un-American not to. But, this year, don't default to dressing your dogs with the same toppings you did when you were still wearing swimmies.



A hot dog can stand up to strong flavors just as well as any burger can, says Doug Sohn, owner of Hot Doug’s in Chicago -- where Sohn decorates his dogs with everything from prickly pear mayonnaise to blood orange mustard. Go with a well-made hot dog and then pile fresh ingredients on top. You'll surprise your palate (and maybe even sneak in a serving or two of vegetables).



This Fourth of July, declare your independence from boring hot dogs and bite into these variations, suggested by Sohn and published in the all-new Guy Gourmet cookbook. (Order your copy of Guy Gourmet today, and discover more than 150 delicious and healthy recipes from the best chefs in America.)

1. The Frenchie

Dijon mustard + blue cheese + a sprinkling of herbes de Provence



2. The Chicagoan
Chopped onion + sliced tomato + yellow mustard + sweet relish + dill pickle spear + sport peppers + dash of celery salt



3. The Sonoran
Avocado slices + mayonnaise + chopped tomatoes + strip of crisp bacon + chopped onion + canned pinto beans



4. The Olympian
Spinach sautéed with chopped garlic in olive oil + a brushing of Greek yogurt + a squeeze of lemon



Bonus: Grill perfect hot dogs
The mistake most grillers make? Overcooking the poor pup. "Your goal is to heat the hot dog just enough," Sohn says. To prevent the cold-in-the-center calamity, bring the links to room temperature before grilling them. "Then grill over hot, direct heat until they're just a little charred for flavor -- a couple of minutes max." Serve them on a platter, not off the grill where they tend to dry and shrivel. And be sure to toast the buns -- 15 to 30 seconds on each side over direct heat. Upgrade your cooking skills, impress your date, and reinvent your diet with 150+ easy, chef-approved recipes and tons of useful kitchen tips in Guy Gourmet cookbook.

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