Sometimes you’ve just got to give in to deliciousness and give the taste buds what they crave. Locally, there are two places where even the healthiest of eaters check their habits at the door and savor the plethora of tasty fare, the State Fair of Texas and a Texas Rangers baseball game.
We’re still a few months from Big Tex and his world of wonder, but the Rangers start the season Thursday when they host the world champion Houston Astros. And as savory as a successful season-opening series against the enemies from down south would be, that pales in comparison to what the ballpark vendors are offering this season.
“While we do take suggestions from fans, we have a very creative group of chefs. We also listen to our managers,” said Casey Rapp, general manager of Delaware North Sports Service at Globe Life Park, home of the Rangers.
Calling these chefs creative is an understatement, like saying LeBron James is a decent basketball player. In fact, this year, their creations were so, well, creative, that Rapp said they couldn’t decide which ones to cut from the list of suggestions – so they didn’t cut any.
“Usually we narrow it down, but this year they were just all so good we threw them all out there,” Rapp said. “We have 81 days (the home schedule) the fans can enjoy these, and we want to give them something to remember.”
Remember, these are the same people who gave us the Boomstick in 2012. That jumbo (to use the word mildly) dog is still around, as is the Beltre Buster, a burger named after one of the most popular Rangers ever and bigger than most cars driven to the ballpark.
“The reason we created these were to share. I have seen one person finish a Boomstick by themselves, but I wouldn’t recommend it without Tums,” Rapp said with a laugh. “There’s been crazy food out there forever, but when we created the Boomstick, we opened up sports. Now, it’s what is Minnesota doing? What is Atlanta doing?
“It’s even gotten into the NFL, NHL and NBA. The Green Bay Packers have come up with some crazy stuff.”
At Globe Life Park, the new “crazy big” item on the menu is the Lay’s Home Plate Chicken Sandwich. It’s call such because it literally is as big as home plate. It’s a full-size fried chicken breast split, crusted in Lay’s original potato chips. It comes on a giant bun with lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo and MORE Lay’s chips. It costs $27.50.
The most talked-about item so far seems to be the Dilly Dog. It’s a pickle cored out and filled with a hot dog. Then, it’s all fried in batter, essentially turning it into a sort of corn dog. It costs $10.
“Opening day is our Super Bowl,” Rapp said. “We’re excited for people to come out and taste all this.”
The Rangers unveiled the menu Monday at a special gathering for media members. Let’s just say Big Tex had better get pretty creative to top what’s available to Ranger fans. And with all due respect to the team, we’re not talking about the on-the-field product, though we hope they come through with some tasty surprises of their own, because as Rapp said, “When they’re winning, the beer’s colder and the hot dogs are tastier.”
New concession highlights this season:
*The Dilly Dog – This unique item is a delicious Best Maid dill pickle cored out and stuffed with an angus beef jumbo dog. It is battered and fried to a golden brown. Located at Stare Fare Stand at section 41. $10.
*The Triple B – Bacon, brisket and bologna topped with Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce on a soft roll. Located at the Homeplate Butcher Block at section 24 and the Smokehouse 557 at section 49. $18.
*7th Inning Cinnamon Roll – A classic iced cinnamon bun, battered and deep fried to golden perfection. Topped with raspberry and chocolate sauce. Available at the State Fare Stand at section 41. $10.
*Cheetos Jalapeno Bacon Dog – A juicy all-beef hot dog wrapped in bacon, covered with Cheetos cheese sauce and topped with spicy jalapenos and crunchy Cheetos. Available at the American Dog Stand at sections 22 and 48. $11.
*Lay’s Home Plate Chicken Sandwich – A sandwich as big as home plate. A full-size chicken breast split, crusted in Lay’s original chips and fried to perfection. Layered on a giant bun with lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo and more Lay’s chips for that extra crunch. Available at the Flew the Coop Stand Section 50. $27.50.
*Rold Gold Waffle Cone. – Classic waffle cone batter with crushed Rold Gold pretzels added in. The perfect amount of salty to pair with Blue Bell ice cream. Available at the Ice Cream Stands at sections 11 and 23. $9.25.
*Vegan Nacho Grande – Tostitos tortilla chips topped with house-made vegan chili and vegan cheese sauce, lettuce, tomato, olives and Beyond Crumbles. Available at the Ballpark Vegan Stand at section 16. $13.
*Nitro Cold Brew Coffee – Cuvee Nitro Cold Brew coffee offered on draft with Monin French vanilla or hazelnut syrup and almond milk. Available at the Ballpark Vegan Stand at section 16. $7.50.
*Home Run Ham Fries – Juicy classic ham cut into sticks, battered and fried until crisp. Available at the State Fare Stand at section 41. $7.50.
*Pickle Fries – Dill pickle spears fried to crispy perfection. Available at the State Fare Stand at section 41. $7.50.
*Spicy Garlic Buffalo Fries – Savory garlic fries topped with classic tangy wing sauce to
make a spicy, garlicy treat. Available at the Fry Depot at sections 10 and 40. $10.50.
*Cracker Jack Cheetos Popcorn – A new take on a classic mix to celebrate 125 years of Cracker Jack being a part of America’s pastime. Cracker Jacks are added in to Cheetos popcorn to make a savory and sweet treat. Available at Chester’s Popcorn Wagon at section 42. $9.
*Vegan Top ‘N Go Frito Pie – The classic Frito Pie made with a vegan spin. Top ‘N Go Fritos Scoops served with vegan chili and cheese. Available at the Ballpark Vegan Stand at section 16. $8.75.
*Garlic Tots or Chips – Your choice of crispy tater tots or thick cut Yukon gold chips topped with savory garlic oil and shredded parmesan cheese. Available at the Chipper Stand at section 32. $14.25.
Available at the Rebecca Creek Saloon:
Rebecca Creek Bacon Jam Burger – A jam made from Rebecca Creek Whiskey, Applewood smoked bacon served with local goat cheese, shaved red onions, local tomatoes and butter leaf lettuce. $15.
Poblano Burger – Queso Oaxaca, stuffed grilled poblano pepper with cilantro mayo, butter leaf lettuce and local tomatoes. $15.
Smoked Pork Ribs – House blend of dry chili, brown-sugar-rubbed pork ribs. Served by the half pound with jalapeno cornbread, garlic-roasted coleslaw, house-made pickles, espresso-chili barbecue sauce and Texas Ranger Whiskey Barbecue Sauce. $15.
Chicken Tacos – Agave, lime, ancho shredded chicken, served with Mexican slaw, cilantro, and chipotle crema. $11.
Brisket Tacos – House-smoked brisket with queso blanco, green chili pico, and roasted salsa verde. $11.
Available in suites:
Pickle Bar – An assortment of fresh pickles, including classic sour pickles, bread and butter pickles, spicy garlic pickles.
Texas Mediterranean Mezze – Classic hummus, red pepper hummus, tzatziki, cucumber tomato salad, spicy Alive Mix, feta, and black bean puree, served with pita chips and Lavash.
Chines Dumplings – Fresh-steamed pork dumplings, served with sweet and sour sauce for dipping.
Beef Short Ribs – Tender slow-braised beef short ribs, served with a creamy risotto and red wine sauce.
Texas Street Tacos – Pulled chicken tinga and slow-cooked beef barbacoa served with classic accompaniments, including shredded cheddar cheese, salsa verde, salsa roja, cilantro jalapeno slaw, sliced jalapenos, pico de gallo and mini flour