Hot dogs may be the top-selling stadium food, but baseball fans have moved well beyond the greasy pork product. San Francisco brought garlic fries to the park in 1994 and then Seattle made sushi a not-so-out-there option. Both items have popped up at other parks around the nation.
But the second decade of this century has seen true strides in the vast selection of ballpark offerings. To go for a beer and a dog is not to truly experience what baseball has to offer the palate.
That said, the Dodgers will most definitely be trying to appeal to kids on Star Wars night in July when they offer a cotton candy lightsaber.
But some of the most interesting, exotic and bizarre offerings around Major League Baseball take their nods from bacon, ethnic groups, local favorites or a desire to try to hit a culinary home run.
Chicken and Waffles
This Southern classic has found its way into multiple ballparks. Some highlights: In the form of a waffle cone filled with fried chicken bites in Houston’s Minute Maid Park (there's also a sweet-potato sandwich version, new this year); as a sandwich, with a juicy piece of fried chicken between two puffy waffles, in St. Louis; and on a stick at Rogers Centre in Toronto. In Houston, the waffle cone is freshly made and filled with real mashed potatoes, followed by fried chicken nuggets and drizzled with honey mustard. The Cardinals' version is served in a home-plate shaped box with tater tots smothered in queso sauce. Both versions were introduced in 2015. New this year is Toronto's take on a classic: Chicken wrapped in a waffle with a maple Sriracha drizzle, kind of like a chicken version of a corndog on a stick.
Bacon and Eggs
It's rare that a baseball game is ever a breakfast-time event, but in 2015, the Tigers decided to get into the bacon game, introducing a thick-cut strip of bacon topped with three deviled eggs and garnished with fried jalapenos. As if that concoction wasn't enough of a nod to the pig, the team also added pork rinds to its offerings last season.
Pork and More Pork
So, if you want your pork fix, but not in the form of a wiener, head out to a Rangers game. Because don't forget -- everything is bigger in Texas and the "Wicked Pig" is no exception. New this season at Globe Life Park is a sandwich too big to get your mouth around -- piles of pulled pork, bacon, sausage, prosciutto, pork rinds, slaw and barbecue sauce. The sandwich is built like a club, because it needs that extra layer of bun to hold up all that meat.
If you must have a hot dog, Aramak food service is rolling out some new crazy combos this season. Both Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia are offering bacon-wrapped dogs. Royals fans can try a foot-long bacon-wrapped, tempura-battered foot-long wiener on a pretzel bun while Phillies fans can clog their arteries with a bacon-wrapped dog served with Tabasco mayo and smoked tomatillo salsa verde, topped with chopped tomatoes and onions. In Denver, Rockies fans can get a taste of Hawaii with the new "Beach Comber" hot dog, topped with pineapple, BBQ sauce and jalapenos while Pirates fans may (or may not?) be tempted by the so-called "Cracker Jack and Mac Dog," which pairs the old-time ballpark favorite of Cracker Jacks with mac and cheese, salted caramel sauce and fried jalapenos all on an all-beef hot dog wrapped in Indian naan bread.
Buffalo Cauliflower Poutine
Yep, you read that right. This writer did a double take because, ah, cauliflower and poutine? Not anywhere near something that sounds like baseball food. But, if you're in Toronto and up for a culinary challenge, Aramark is rolling out breaded cauliflower covered in buffalo hot sauce and topped with cheese curds and cheesy gravy with a few scallions tossed on top for good measure.
The year 2013 may have been forgettable for Orioles fans, but if you visited Camden Yards, well, there's nothing forgettable about the crab-dip fries. Introduced three seasons ago, this savory snack is remarkably simple and delish -- a basket of waffle fries topped with a silky sauce likely comprised mainly of crabmeat, cream cheese and butter. According to multiple sources, fans mourn the end of the season and their access to this culinary creation.
The Pirates might call it a "Brunch Burger," but let’s be truthful. This is a donut sandwich, complete with team-color themed sprinkles. Yep, the team introduced a bacon-sausage patty (that is 40 percent ground bacon), fried-egg combo served between two halves of a fluffy glazed and frosted donut. The item was introduced as a special in 2015.
Standard fare all around New York, when Citi Field opened in 2009 it brought this fried delight to the ballpark. The perfect eat-on-the-go food, Citi Field's knish is brought to fans by Gabila, a Coney Island institution that has sold more than 1 billion knishes. The rectangular knish has a mashed-potato filling stuffed into tasty dough and deep fried. And all those carbs are only 170 calories.
The Diamondbacks debuted what might be called a "dessert imposter" on the Food Network last season in the form of the churro dog -- a cinnamon-dusted warm churro nestled in a Long John chocolate-glazed donut topped with frozen yogurt and caramel and chocolate sauces. This sweet treat weighs in at 1,117 calories.
Dinner and Dessert on a Stick
OK, so that's not what the Rangers are calling this kind of unappetizing looking combination, but what to make of fried chicken pieces and donut holes on a stick? New this season and called the chicken-and-donut skewer, the whole thing is drizzled with buffalo honey sauce.