Introducing…What John and Cait Ate
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it…and try these concessions!”
-John & Cait
We’re really excited to introduce a new series to you: What John and Cait Ate.
During each homestand, we will be meeting with John DiMartini, Executive Chef at Delaware North Sportservice/Miller Park to sample some of the latest and greatest Miller Park fare.
Sportservice provides the food and drink concessions for 25 major league sports clients at 23 venues, including 10 Major League Baseball stadiums. As the exclusive food, beverage and retail provider for Miller Park, Sportservice offers so many concession stands and such a wide variety of food options that fans dashing out of their seats for a quick snack between innings may be missing out on some of the best ballpark bites.
Don’t worry. We’re here to help.
When most fans think of ballpark fare, the first things that come to mind are—thanks to the song—peanuts and Crackerjack, as well as hot dogs, brats, maybe popcorn, etc.
Well no offense to the classics, but while baseball is still America’s favorite pastime, America’s palette has evolved.
“Our taste buds have evolved,” Chef John said. “With Food Network and things like that, people see unique foods and want to try them. The ballpark is not just a hot dog place anymore.”
Indeed. What John and Cait Ate will prove that. So, read on for our first food review and feel free to chime in with comments of your own or questions you may have!
Today, at our first meeting with Chef John, we were treated to an array of smoked products. This past offseason, Sportservice acquired a smoker and now, beef brisket, pork and turkey are all smoked in-house, or rather, in-park.
We sampled the hand-carved smoked turkey breast and BBQ beef brisket sandwiches, as well as the pulled pork parfait and the smoked beef brisket parfait–all new this year. Each item is generous in portion and costs just $7. Read on for a description, photos and reviews!
Hand-Carved Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich- $7
The turkey on this sandwich is smoked fresh with brown sugar and herbs for four hours day-of-game. Then, the tender, juicy meat is topped with a roasted red pepper chili sauce that perfectly complements the turkey’s smoky taste.
John: The turkey was fresh and tender and the flavor from the roasted red pepper chili sauce gave it just the right amount of “kick.” The sauce didn’t overpower the natural smoked flavor of the turkey. It was a healthy portion and I found it easy to eat.
Cait: The hand-carved smoked turkey breast sandwich puts my brown-bag lunch turkey sandwich to shame. The turkey absolutely melted in my mouth. I haven’t had any smoked foods recently, so this was a wake-up call for my taste buds!
Hand-Carved Smoked BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich- $7
The hand-carved smoked BBQ beef brisket sandwich is made up of tender beef that has been smoked for 12 hours, topped with a special BBQ sauce that is made in-house, along with a special horseradish sauce.
John: Ever since the Brewers “Create a Concession” contest in December, Chef John was telling me how excited he was to get his new smoker at Miller Park. After tasting this sandwich, I can see why. I have always been a fan of meat cooked in a smoker and this sandwich is great. I found it easier to eat with a fork and the flavor was like something from a Texas BBQ. I have never really been a fan of horseradish sauce, but this was different. It complemented the homemade BBQ sauce for a unique taste. Without a doubt, I would recommend this to anyone.
Cait: I tend to steer away from red meat and usually only choose chicken or turkey, so I will admit that I don’t have the most educated palette when it comes to judging beef. I will also admit that I came to this tasting with preconceived notions of brisket: I have relatives down South and that’s the only time I’ve ever encountered the meat. Based on that experience, part of me wanted to try this sandwich while pinching my nose just to get it over with—you know, like little kids do when they have to eat their vegetables—but I didn’t think that would be very professional. Well, let me tell you…the hand-carved smoked beef brisket sandwich is like one of my favorite 1980s sitcoms: Out of This World. It was nothing like the tough, jerky-like substance I ingested down in Georgia. I was also a little frightened by Chef John’s description of “horseradish sauce,” but I found the sauce to be surprisingly sweet with a unique, tangy flavor. That, combined with the BBQ sauce made for one tasty sandwich.
(out of 5)
Where To Satisfy Your Craving: Both of these sandwiches are available at the patio outside the right-field corner on the Field Level & Ribbie’s Cafe outside Section 221 on the Loge Level (pictured below). The sandwiches are also served on the Club Level at the bar in the Home Plate Lounge and the Brewery Hill Deli next to the Home Plate Lounge; there, the sandwiches come with fresh cut potato chips and a pickle for $8.75.
Now, on to “dessert”…
Smoked Beef Brisket or Pulled Pork Parfaits- $7
When the guy in the row in front of you comes back to his seat, your first thought is “Mmmm… I could really go for some ice cream right about now.” But then you do a double-take and you realize that that’s no ice cream sundae. Before you know it, you find yourself tapping him on the shoulder. “Excuse me, sir, but what is that?” As he explains to you that it is a smoked beef brisket parfait, a combination of the aforementioned delectable smoked meat and creamy mashed potatoes drizzled with the special BBQ sauce and topped with chives-oh, and it is also available with pulled pork-your mouth begins to water. He stops you before you have a chance to ask your next question. He already knows what it will be. “Section 127,” he says. And, like the Famous Racing Sausages at the starting line, you’re off.
John: I have heard about this and seen this, but I have never been able to try one. The same smoked beef brisket from the sandwich mixed with mashed potatoes makes for a delicious meal served in a ballpark-friendly style. It was great. Having it all mixed together allowed the flavors to blend perfectly. Priced at $7, this was a great deal and definitely a complete, filling meal. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to other MLB ballparks and often roam the concourses. I have never seen anything like this. Bravo to Chef John and his crew for this unique and delicious item.
Cait: Genius. As Chef John told us, “It’s comfort food. It’s easy to eat. You can grab it with a beer and go back to your seat.” Anyone can put meat and potatoes on a plate, but this is a new twist on old dietary staples, both in look and in taste. And it fits in a cupholder!
(out of 5)
Where To Satisfy Your Craving: These parfaits are available on the Field Level behind Section 127 (Tripleplay Sliders, shown below), on the Loge Level behind Section 214, on the Club Level outside Suite 64, and on the Terrace Level, behind Section 417.
Well, that concludes our first food critique. We hope you enjoyed reading it half as much as we enjoyed tasting these new items. We also hope we’ve inspired you to step outside of your brat and beer routine (not that there’s anything wrong with that) next time you’re at Miller Park to check out the wide variety of concession offerings.
We’ll be back with another edition of What John and Cait Ate during Green Week at Miller Park, June 20-26!
What about you? Do you have a favorite ballpark snack? A question about concessions? Something you’d like to see featured here? Post your comments below!