Monday, April 4, 2011

Cubs Opener: Mea Culpa And Pass The Hot Dogs

There were so many priests at the Cubs game on opening day that it was unquestionably my religious experience of the week. Is it because I haven't been to church lately that I noticed each and every one of them? Must mean that God is making a house call this Sunday and I can sleep in again.

Too bad they couldn’t collectively do a divine interference during the seventh inning stretch when the outcome of the game was clearly not in our favor.

Even the hallowed ground of Wrigley Field and the band couldn’t pull out a win for the Cubs.

Nor could Robert Redford...
     The CEO...
     or all the swag.

But like every year, I didn’t care. I am a Cubs fan. I will be excited if they win and loyal if they don’t.

All the bars around Wrigley Field were jammed packed with people of every age looking for an excuse to celebrate. The fact that the Cub’s lost keeps you in there a lot longer than you planned because you have to find some way to drown your sorrows.

It’s going to be a long season but I believe they will do it. And, just what they do is unquestionably a matter of faith so now we have come full circle. I like ending everything on a hope and a prayer.

I’m excited about all the new food at Wrigley this year including the return of Vienna Beef and am wondering when the vendors will take each other on and do a reality show? Can you see it all now? ...The Battle of the Ballpark chefs. Sounds like a good one to hand off to Guy Fieri.

This season, Loaded Dogs, at The Works concession inside the main gate, sells five new dogs including the Taco Dog with ground beef, pico de gallo, cheddar, sour cream and jalapeno and the Frito Pie Dog piled high with chili, cheddar and a heap of Fritos.

Other toppings include kim chi (what doesn’t have kim chi on it these days thanks to the Korean cooking craze fueled by Bill Kim of Urban Belly and Belly Shack), mac and cheese and a combination of cucumber, daikon radish, cilantro and chili sauce to duplicate the always in vogue banh mi sandwich. Look for more original dogs as we head into the season.

If you want something to chill on try frozen kefir (Kefir is a probiotic cultured milk beverage similar to that of yogurt) topped with berries and trail mix which is available at the Grounds Crew and Brew stand near the main gate. You can also grab Edy’s frozen custard at the two Chillville stands which is up on the main concourse on the left and right field ramps.

If you don’t want to consume all of your calories at the ball park because you’re saving your splurge for a dinner at Mercat a la Planxa this weekend, go for some of the new, healthy options that have been just introduced.

Preparations like a grilled chicken with lettuce and tomato on a whole wheat bun, vegetables with hummus and a fruit cup with chili-lime salt are now all featured on the expanded healthy menu at Wrigley. I love healthy most of the time but at the ballpark where hot dogs and peanuts still rule? A difficult thought!

One thing you can mail to any cubs fan around the world - peanuts!

The restaurants and bars around Wrigley, who make it the one-of-a-kind neighborhood it is, are now partnering with Levy to bring you some of the best food in the area.

Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap brings the fan-favorite Stanburger to Broadcast Grill and Sheffield Grill which are both located in the right field main concourse. Wrigley will also be switching Pizzas to neighborhood favorite D’Agostino’s.

Fans of Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner’s Fifty/50 (2047 Division) will find their new wings cart in the left field bleacher patio this summer.

Don’t you just love a ballpark that supports their neighborhood chefs?

More on Wrigley eats this season..

Bon Appetit!