CLEVELAND - I remember those days at the old ballpark when my father would lean over to me at about the second inning and suggest, "Hey, how 'bout a hotdog and soda pop?" Well, it could not get any better than that at the stadium, watching my favorite Cleveland Indians team make a run for the pennant.
Well, things have gotten better. Maybe not for the Indians on the field, but for the eating in the stands. The Indians are moving into the gourmet world of fine foods.
In the Progressive Field suites, management spooned out new offerings on the ballpark menu. Wednesday, it was a spread good enough for Queen Elizabeth if she were to bring her entourage to watch an Indians game. Well, she probably won't show, but had she bought a ticket and walked through the turnstyle, she could have eaten like a queen.
"They make a bananas foster up here in the suite which was absolutely delectable," said Mike Bazulka, a food writer for Food Management Magazine.
I tried what he tried and I have to agree the bananas foster was simply irresistable. The executive chef at the ballpark, James Majors, has laid out a splendid table of food to try. The Indians and the Food Network have formed a partnership, creating new foods for fans in the suites.
The writers who were invited to taste will write about the foods. The Indians management hopes their positive reviews will prompt others to sample the eats. If enough like them, the foods will spread to the cheaper seats at the ballpark.
"Buffalo chicken mixed in with the mac and cheese was wonderful," said Melina Urick, of Pursuite Writing Service.
Like a proud papa watching the family eat, Chef Majors beamed. He boasted of the desserts.
"The milk shakes, the malts, the fruitbeer floats, canolis are great," he said, adding some of the desserts are prepared table-side in the suites.
All this is a far cry from hot dogs and a soda pop with my father, as we sat in the grandstand watching the Cleveland Indians make mincemeat of the competition. Still, the hot dogs, soda pop, popcorn, peanuts and the Cracker Jacks are still there.
It's just now the ballpark has become a giant restaurant. I can just imagine someone will soon cry for the waiter at the ballpark. "Oh, waiter. Check that. Oh, garcon, could I have another spoonfull of that wonderful French sauce?"
Well, maybe we haven't gotten to that point yet. But it could be on the way. At any rate, bon appetite at the ballpark.
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