Buffalo Chicken Bloody Mary

As the crowd sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," I was enjoying America's other pastime: Gratuitously eating and drinking.

More specifically, I was walking away from Hrbek's Pub, an eatery in Minnesota's Target Field, holding one of Major League Baseball's more audacious stadium creations: A bloody mary topped with a buffalo chicken wing garnish, underneath a cheeseburger slider garnish, alongside a snit-sized Bud Light cup.

On the way back to my seat, a 20-something man and his female friend stopped me.

"Can we take a picture of your drink?" he asked. "My girlfriend's from Barcelona, she's never seen something like that."

Buffalo Chicken Bloody Mary

"Oh," I said, raising my food-beverage combo for their smartphones. "You mean you people are normal."

That's the beauty of the the buffalo chicken bloody mary: You can sate your hunger, maintain your buzz and stoke your own self-loathing and shame all at once. I carried my little monument to gluttony back to my seat, avoiding eye contact as I sat down. Yes, I am one of those people, I thought.

And why feel shame? What's wrong ordering a drink that features enough meat garnish to make Ron Swanson blush? Perhaps nothing, if the novelty item actually tastes good.

That's where this experience begins to fall apart. The cheeseburger slider is a nice cosmetic touch, but there's nothing about its flavor that inspires you to keep eating. To some degree, you scarf it down because your hands are full and you have no other choice.

Ron Swanson

It doesn't help that the burger is a touch on the cold side. And on this day, the Twins' home opener, there was no easy solution: Sitting atop of sloshing glass of ice cubes, and in the shade on a 42-degree day, warmth is fleeting.

This proved even more troubling when I reached the buffalo chicken wing, which might as well have come from the fridge. The buffalo sauce's flavor was shrug-worthy, and it was tough to know what to do with the bones. Did I eat the chicken wing? Of course. Did I enjoy it? I'm not sure.

Beneath those two oversized garnishes was a subtler kabob of sausage and cheese. It doesn't grab headlines, but it was the best part of the bloody mary, if only because it didn't seem so oddly out of place.

Bloody Mary

And then, finally, we arrive at the drink itself, which was perfectly agreeable in every way. If it were 40 degrees warmer, I would have downed the drink with glee. Instead, I sucked it down slowly and forgot about the slider and chicken wing before it.

What else can I say about Target Field's signature bloody mary? Should you order one yourself? Probably not, if only because Hrbek's charges $23 for the behemoth. That's nearly four times the price you'll pay to sit in the nosebleeds and watch an 0-7 team put on a strikeout clinic (and not the good kind, either).

But then, maybe you enjoy unseasonably cold meat, or drinking bloody mary's while wearing a winter coat. Maybe you like it when strangers gawk at you and Europeans throw shade on your idea of a good time.

If that's the kind of person you are, Hrbek's at Minnesota's Target Field has a drink you might love. Just make sure you know what to do with the bones.

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