When people go to a baseball game, they eat hot dogs and maybe some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, right? Well, sometimes it’s not that simple. There are an increasing number of kids and adults with special dietary preferences or food allergies who couldn’t eat any of those things. Plus there are all sorts of “foodies” who are looking for something a little more exciting than the standard fare.
So when the L.A. Dodgers invited the Jolly Tomato to a behind-the-scenes food tour of the baseball stadium, we were intrigued. What else can you eat besides a hot dog and peanuts? Turns out the answer is “a lot,” thanks to Levy Restaurants, the official restaurant partner that provides food and beverages at Dodger Stadium. In fact, the stadium is practically buzzing with activity as early as two hours before the game with people who come to explore culinary adventures while taking in some great ballpark views.
If you’re lucky enough to have some of the high-end seats, you can dine at the exclusive Dugout Club (for dugout season ticket holders), the Stadium Club (a members-only restaurant for season ticket holders), the Prime Ticket Club for special box-seat ticket holders, or in the sky-high suites. On a tour of these areas we saw some amazing salads (seriously – who would expect to eat mache and red oak salad at a ballgame?), carving stations, and the most spectacular dessert cart you’ve ever seen.
For us mere mortals, a.k.a. the regular ticket-holders who want to explore different food options, there are a range of different options at the various food stands throughout the stadium. And here’s the most important thing to know: If your ticket does not allow you on to the field or club levels, go to Fan Services, tell them that you want to buy food on a different level, and they will give you a special pass (but not passes for your whole party).
If you are a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free eater, you *do* have choices. At the Club Marketplace on the club level, you’ll find a variety of salads, fresh fruit, hummus, and even organic spicy pumpkin seeds (now that’s a cool thing to be munching while you cheer on the Dodgers). Plus, at selected stands on the field level, there’s a tasty new menu item: Sloppy Janes. They’re kind of like Sloppy Joes, except they’re made with tempeh, peppers, onions, molasses, and brown sugar barbecue sauce, all on a vegan wheat bun. And of course there are veggie dogs widely available throughout the stadium.
If you’re just looking for some food adventure, you can check out highlights from this year’s new menu. On the loge level you’ll find what they call “Extreme Loaded Dogs.” These loaded dogs include The Heater (topped with buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese coleslaw), The Big Kid Dog (topped with mac and cheese and covered in Fritos), the Frito Pie Dog (topped with chili, cheese, and Fritos), and The Tailgate Dog (topped with baked beans, barbecue sauce, potato salad, and cheese). Note: If you’re going to try one of these, you might want to share with a friend. Note to self: Never attempt to sample all of these in one sitting again.
If you’re feeling a little more, ahem, reasonable, another new treat on the field level is the “Meatball Mania,” which are skewers of three different meatballs: a beef meatball with marinara sauce, a chicken meatball with green chile verde sauce, and a Thai pork meatball with ginger-soy barbecue sauce. (That Thai pork meatball, incidentally, left our table full of food bloggers begging for more.)
Feeling hungry yet? If you have a group of anywhere from 25 to 56,000 friends, you can have your event catered at Dodger Stadium through Levy Restaurants, for events on or overlooking the field.
So…what do baseball players actually eat? We had the chance to meet star right fielder Andre Ethier before the game, and it turns out he has real foodie credentials. He rattled off a list of just about every great restaurant in town that he visits, plus his five-star recommendations when he’s traveling. We asked Ethier if he had any special food routines for the game, and he says that he tries to eat as healthfully as possible. His post-game snack includes “chicken strips, fruit, and some oatmeal.” And – whaddya know – after that conversation, he went on to hit a two-run homer.