Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Salt River Field: Man versus Mega Dog

I came…I saw…I kicked its ass! As previously reported I was fortunate enough to be able to make a short trip to spring training where I was able to take in games at the ballparks in Surprise, Camelback and Salt River. Salt River is home of the Cactus League’s premiere processed meat monster: the MEGA DOG.

The Mega Dog is daunting, but manageable. I strategically picked out a spot on the grass berm in order to keep the food contamination to the ballpark at a minimum while I plowed into the beefy beast. Not to mention to keep from selling a kidney to afford a ticket to one of the more expensive spring training venues. Hauling the several pound treat to the grassy knoll for assassination by ingestion was easy enough, but handling it was not as simple. I quickly reverted to the weapon of choice for slaying such a monster: a fork.

Displaying the wares
How was it? It is a ½ pound, all-beef National Deli frank covered in tender pulled pork, topped with southwest mac and cheese (that is mac and cheese with green chili added). The ingredients played well together on the bun and served up a delicious ballpark meal. If I have one issue it would be the amount of cheese they smother the dog with, it could stand about half of what is added.
How did it stack up?

Appeal-as the only monster dog offered in the Cactus League, the competition is slim. But, it was appealing enough to warrant a drive to Phoenix-4

Ingredients-top notch fillings. Normally, National Deli is not on my top few of hot dog choices but the all-beef on the Mega Dog is quite tasty-4.5

Ahhh....the aroma of the Mega Dog
Uniqueness-the mac and cheese, the pulled pork, the large frank…it’s all been done before. Putting green chili in the mac and cheese is the sole unique twist-3.5

Monstrosity Factor-it was big, and I actually had help eating it, but I am certain I could have downed it all by myself. Big, but not the biggest-4
Value-it can feed two fans and costs $13. A good ballpark bargain-5

Overall Taste-minus a half of a point due to the cheese overload, otherwise it is quite delicious-4.5

A score of 25.5 of 30 is a dog worth tackling, but not worth a trip specifically to the desert. Unless of course you are mired in winter weather, then by all means enjoy a Mega Dog. Otherwise, leave it to the professionals…I do it for you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hot Dog Alert #10

The Cheeseburger Dog
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better it does. Previously, I reported about the new MEGADOG being served at the Arizona Diamondbacks spring training games this year. What I didn’t know was if it would make the leap to the D-Backs MLB venue at Chase Field. The news: it won’t. Instead the Phoenix team will be serving up The Cheeseburger Dog. For fans that can’t decide whether to get a cheeseburger or a hot dog, this is for you.

Phoenix has been ground zero for monster dog creations. They have or have had the D-Bat eighteen inch corn dog, the Churro Dog dessert creation, The Mega Dog and now this frank-inspired Frankenstein.

So what’s on it? It is made from char-grilled hamburgers, deep fried and then served with bacon, lettuce, tomato and a secret sauce. I just hope that secret sauce is infused with Lipitor.

No word on the cost yet, but from previous experience in these matters (I love being able to say that) I would guess between $20-30. Chase Field is on my radar this summer so I will let you know.

Now the better news. The baseball gods have smiled upon me. I will be in at Salt River Field this Saturday afternoon to take on the MEGADOG. Me versus one of the most monstrous concoctions in concessions history. Stay tuned for a full review.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hot Dog Alert #9

It is the last year for Major League Baseball at Turner Field in Atlanta. Despite its tender young age of 17, it will be demolished as the Braves head for swankier digs next season. As an aside, both Fenway Park and Wrigley Field are over 100 years old. I guess they really don’t build them like they used to.
The Everything Dog
To help celebrate the last season in downtown Atlanta, the Braves are entering the “oh my God” hot dog race with their newest concession entry The Everything Dog, or T.E.D. for short. Not sure if the name is also a clever nod to the man who made baseball in Atlanta fashionable, Ted Turner. In any case it is at least as big as Ted’s ego and a formidable entry into the monster dog foray.

The Everything Dog has nearly everything available at a typical ballpark concessions stand jampacked into one bun. It includes, of course, a footlong hot dog, topped with concessions condiments: fries, chili, nacho chips, beer cheese, jalapenos, and popcorn (yes, popcorn). All that on a bun and then drizzled with coca-cola infused BBQ sauce (you did know the Coca-Cola Company is headquartered in Atlanta didn’t you?).

No word on how much is weighs or costs yet, but both numbers are certain to be hefty. Although, considering the it could feed at least two normal fans (normal fans, not me), it might end up being a bargain. Particularly when you figure in that you can get by with one trip to the concession stand and end up doing something unheard of, like actually watching baseball at the baseball park.

I am not sure my search for the best ballpark hot dog will take me to Atlanta this year, but this dog makes a trip worth considering. If not, I call upon another dog to report on the dog. Atlanta native, Navy Gunner’s Mate and hero of the Western Pacific: Troy Clardia...the bat signal is sweeping the sky and beckoning you to Turner Field to tackle this dog and give our readers a full report. Don’t let us, or your country, down.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Word Please

You Wouldn't Confuse This....
I thought we put this debate behind us last year. The whole “is a hot dog a sandwich” hullabaloo, which, kinda like pumpkin spice in autumn, got waaaayyyy too much coverage. This year, with new hot dogs being introduced and fast food chain hot dog wars about to go nuclear, I suppose we should revisit the issue.

For This
In 2015 I was asked on various TV and radio programs if the hot dog is indeed a sandwich. I often used the Webster’s Dictionary answer that states:  two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between. Sounds like a hot dog to me. And that is my final say on the matter. A hot dog is a sandwich.

So Why Would You Confuse This....
So why not just call it a sandwich? One word: respect. Sometimes variations of a generic object are so unique and special that they deserve their own moniker. Hot dogs are so woven into the fabric of Americana that they truly deserve to be called their own thing.

It happens all the time. Take aircraft for example. A Boeing 737 is an airplane. So is a Boeing-made F-18 Hornet. Yet, while both are airplanes one is an airliner and the other a fighter. Ask any enemy MiG pilot if having a 737 on your six o’clock is the same as having a Hornet in the rearview mirror.
For This
So while you can call a hot dog a sandwich, if you try to call it one at the ballpark and happen to be sitting next to me, I will slap you. Respect for the quintessential American dish please.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Hot Dog Alert #8

Still looking for that winter getaway? Real baseball fans know there are two choices: Florida or Arizona. The Sunshine State hosts MLB’s spring training Grapefruit League, while the Cactus League tosses the horsehide around in the greater Phoenix area. Can’t decide which venue to escape the cold? Here is something that tips the scales in Phoenix’s favor: the MEGADOG.

Sounds colossal no? It is. it will be served up at Arizona Diamondbacks’ spring training games at Salt River Field. Salt River is one of nicest (and some say the best) of all of the Cactus League ballparks. While that can be debated, one cannot debate the Diamondbacks taking the lead in the monster dog competition. Two years ago they invented the D-bat eighteen-inch corndog, and last season they had the diabetes-inducing Churro Dog dessert dog. How can they outdo that? Allow me to introduce the Megadog.

The Megadog
It starts with a half-pound footlong hot dog nestled in a bun. Then add smoked pulled pork and top with green chili mac ‘n cheese (made with cheddar and gouda cheeses with some cayenne pepper tossed in). The Megadog weighs in at over one pound and will set you back twelve smackers. Not a bad price tag for a meal that will have you loosening your belt a notch or two.

No word yet if the Megadog will be promoted from the spring training menu at Salt River to the big league facility at Chase Field. Considering how the Diamondbacks have improved their on-field lineup this season, no reason not to carry that initiative to the concessions stand at Chase. Despite how they finish up the 2016 season, even if dead last, the D-backs are headed to ballpark food hall of fame if they keep adding to their list of titanic treats.

Unfortunately, I have no plans to hit the Cactus league this year, but I will be at Chase Field at some point. If the Megadog is on the menu I’ll post a full review. Are you in Phoenix? How about guest blogging after you test one? Trust me….my waistline welcomes other hot dog reviews