I got a chance to sit in the all-you-can-eat Right Field Pavilion and I could’ve had the same experience paying full price to see “The Human Centipede.” Two Dodger Dogs. One nachos. A half a bag of peanuts. Three sodas (Diet sodas). And I actually ate less compared to my friend Ryan (“I’m going to eat five Dodger Dogs,” he said. He failed after 2 3/4 and two nachos) and the girl who sat next to me, who stuck a leftover Dodger Dog into her purse. I’m pretty sure this is how Jonestown was like, where everyone consumed themselves to death. Instead of cyanide-laced Kool Aid though, it was death by Dodger Dogs.
Even though I’m a Cubs fan, I’ve been to Dodger Stadium more than any other ballpark. That’s what happens if you’ve lived in Los Angeles for 15 years of your adult life. I like Dodger Stadium. It’s the third-oldest ballpark in baseball, and the first of the modern stadiums. Unlike the other cookie-cutter stadiums from the 60’s-80’s that followed and were later destroyed, Dodger Stadium retains it’s Kennedy-era charm. I’ve gotten a chance to eat pretty much everything at Dodger Stadium, so I thought going to my first game of 2010 gave me a good excuse to give a quick primer on food there. I am somewhat apprehensive to share my opinions of Dodger Dogs since Dodger fans can get um, stabby when provoked. But this blog is called “Eat With Joe.” And I did eat two Dodger Dogs yesterday. So with that…
Dodger fans speak reverently about their beloved hot dog as if it’s communion bread and wine. To eat a Dodger Dog is to instantly spark wonderful memories of Dodger greats like Darren Dreifort, Gary Sheffield and “Manny being Manny.” Since I’m a Cubs fan, I can eat a Dodger Dog more objectively and can unequivocally say that they’re disgusting. Dodger Dogs are less hot dogs and more a pink meat sponge that tastes vaguely of pork and immensely of salt. The problem is that there’s no casing, which a self-respecting sausage MUST have. Because of the lack of casing, it’s just a steamed, ground meat product that’s very soft and mealy. At the back of the Stadium, they sell grilled Dodger Dogs, which is better than steamed. The grilling process chars the exterior a bit, and that adds some contrast to the pallid wieners. The grilled Super Dodger Dogs, which is all-beef, is probably the best option. But even then, they’re pretty poor. While Dodger fans might feel nostalgic eating a Dodger Dog, I feel, I don’t know, gay eating these sponge-y meat tubes.
Gordon Biersch garlic fries
This is by far the best thing you can get at Dodger Stadium. While most ballpark french fries soak up oil like tampons, Gordon Biersch’s fries are actually semi-crispy. All this is absolutely smothered in crushed garlic and oil. Your breath will smell like a dead pet afterward, and your heart might croak soon afterward. But at least you ate the only decent thing at Dodger Stadium.
Mentioning bad breath gives me a good excuse to go on a completely illogical tangent about Kiss Cams. For some reason, I’ve always wanted to get on the Kiss Cam. Of all the stupid ballpark video-screen gimmicks at every sporting event, I’ve always enjoyed the Kiss Cam. People always react the same. They look bored, realize they’re on the Jumbo Tron, alternately panic and get excited over the short moment of fame Andy Warhol promised them, then get it on with their loved ones. You can tell a lot from how couples kiss. If it’s a young couple making out like a soft-core, they’ve been dating for no more than a month and having sex several times a day. If it’s an old couple who give each other a quick peck, then they’re stuck in a sexless marriage now that their kids left for college. And if it’s two platonic friends, then as a cliche would say, you can cut the awkwardness WITH A KNIFE. This situation can only lead to a Meg Ryan romantic comedy afterward.
I always wonder how I’d react if I was on a Kiss Cam. Would I push the limits of PG-13? Would it be a polite peck on the lips? Would I dare ruin a platonic friendship if I was there with a female friend and try to slip a tongue, just so I don’t look like I got shot down in front of 40,000? I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll truly discover what kind of person I am until I get caught on a Kiss Cam. I almost got on once. I went with a friend and after the sixth inning, I went to the bathroom. When I came back, my friend said, “you missed the Kiss Cam. The camera guy was walking around” and she was annoyed that I did. That moment said a lot about our “friendship.” You see? The Kiss Cam reveals all. YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM IT.
One more thing, the bratwurst from Gordon Biersch is also pretty good. Try to stick to Gordon Biersch at Dodger Stadium, if possible.
I actually looked up AYCE Right-Field Pavilion at Dodger Stadium on Yelp. A Yelper named Sabrina L. described peanuts thusly, “PEANUTS ARE MAD SALTY!” So true Sabrina. So true.
For some reason, she also warns Asian Yelpers not to eat here. For all you non-Asian Yelpers though, go right on ahead.
Dodger Stadium might have the worst popcorn I’ve ever ate. They’re literally like packing popcorn. They might very well be leftover packing popcorn after Frank packed up Jamie McCourt’s stuff and shipped her ass out.
I love Cracker Jacks. This is usually my side dish of choice, since it’s surprisingly not bad for you (compared to other ballpark fare). What I do not like are the prizes, which gets you initially excited (ooh! free prize!), but then disappoint you like family members. Normally, it’s a “tattoo” that barely sticks on your skin. In fact, most of it absorbs into your epidermal layer and there’s a good chance you’ll get cancer from it. Screw the toy, the sailor and his cute dog. Don’t get in the way of me shoveling as much caramel covered popcorn and peanuts into my mouth as possible.
Carnation Frozen Malts
I also love Carnation Frozen Malts. I like the flavor that’s vaguely reminiscent of chocolate and malt without being either. I even like the crappy wooden spoon that can barely make a dent in the frozen hunk of ice cream. I swear global warming can melt a glacier faster than the amount of time it takes to work your way through a malt with the wooden spoon. I’m also a fan of Frosty’s from Wendy’s, so I have a soft spot for all things chocolate-malty. Except I looked at the list of ingredients on these things and found out that what I actually like is guar gum. Damn. Sometimes, it’s better to keep an illusion and not face reality.
On 60 Minutes yesterday, chef Jose Andres, he of the Bazaar at SLS and all the molecular gastronomy stuff, said that cotton candy is the most complex way of cooking sugar. Man has truly achieved all there is to achieve then. BTW, cotton candy at Dodger Stadium costs $4.50. The foie gras wrapped in cotton candy at the Bazaar costs $5. I call shenanigans.
California Pizza Kitchen, Panda Express
Fuck these places. If you eat here at a Dodger game, then you probably hate baseball. And America. Only Democrats would eat at these places.
They used to have King Tacos at Dodger Stadium several years ago. That used to be the best thing to eat at Dodger Stadium. Now it’s replaced by Camacho’s, a Mexican restaurant subsidiary. Fuck Camacho’s too.
I’ve never eaten at the buffet here. It’s for rich folks, and I’m definitely not one of them. They auctioning the chance to eat at this buffet with Tommy Lasorda, Fernando Valuenzuela and Ron Cey, for charity. Eating at a buffet with Tommy Lasorda is like going on a drug bender with Lindsay Lohan. It’ll be both mind-numbing and scary. I wish I could afford to win this. The buffet, not the drug-bender.
My friend Bobby asked why I didn’t mention beer. That’s because I don’t buy beer at Dodger Stadium. That’s what 24-packs of Bud Light and parking lots are for.