Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Marlins Park - Taste of Miami

Today is a very special night in Miami. It is 2012 Opening Night  for the Miami Marlins and they're doing it with style: a new name, a new logo and a new park! Both the players and the fans are excited and looking forward to a new season that promises to be a spectacular one. The Marlins face off against the St. Louis Cardinals, defending world champions, and the fans are shaking in their boots. Now, you're probably wondering why I'm writing about sports in my food blog, right?  Well, I'll tell you. Along with the new stadium, come endless possibilities of new cuisine! That's right, it is no longer just the same ol' "buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks". Now you can sing, "buy me some platanitos and ceviche on the side."

As I walked around the stadium, I ran into so many chefs wearing their chef jackets and hats, that I temporarily forgot I was in a ball park and felt as if I had entered a taping of  Iron Chef America. It was wonderful! There are food stands in practically every corner, selling everything from traditional ball park fare to regional cuisine; and the food is all made from scratch. Sneak a peek at the culinary lineup's roster: 

French Fries
Miami Shrimp Burger
You want some plantain chips with mojito? Then grab your foam finger and mozy on over to the Promenade Level by third base. Here you'll find "Taste of Miami"; a concession area themed after the richness of our city, featuring a wide variety of regional fare from three Miami restaurants: Papo Llega Y Pon, Don Camaron and Latin American Grill. You can get your fill of Pan con Lechon (Pork sandwich), Croquetas de jamon (Ham Croquettes), and Ceviche. And let me tell you my favorite palate pleaser of the evening: The Miami Shrimp Burger, made with Florida shrimp, and a combination of seasonings, that made everyone around me lick their lips when I bit into it. I also ordered a side of French Fries, and they were delicious as well; crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and slightly salty- just like I like them. Be still my hungry heart!

Chili Hot Dog
Sobe Hot Dog
Maybe you want traditional stadium comfort food. Move over puny hot dog, here comes the king:  The Chili Dog! Any bigger, and I would've had to use the widescreen feature on my camera to photograph it. And of course, in keeping with the Miami theme, you will find the Sobe Hot Dog on the menu that screams "Miami Is For Me"! It is an all beef grilled dog with mango slaw, on a toasted split top bun with chipotle mayo and potato sticks. Totally dogalicious! Popcorn you say? Well, what flavor would you like ? They've got Milk Dud popcorn, chocolate and peanut butter popcorn, malted milk ball popcorn; you name it, they got it!

There are over 100 items to choose from and the best part? You won't even have to make a long line or miss an inning to get one. Fans will be able to use MLB's "At Bat" app on their smartphones to order food from one of seven concessions. They can pay from their seat and will be informed when it will be ready and at what station they can pick it up. Wow! They really thought of everything. To wash it all down, there are over six beers on tap to choose from and several bars located throughout the stadium.

I love baseball and am looking forward to enjoying another game at the new Marlins Park real soon; but now there's an added incentive to "root, root, root for The Marlins.." I will be eating some gourmet food as I try to catch the fly balls that head my way.

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