So far, so good. The Reds are now nine games into their crucial stretch of 35 leading into the All-Star break, and their record stands at 6-3. As I mentioned last week, if they are going to make a move to get back into the race, now is The Time.
It’s also summertime, and that means your excuses for not driving up to see the Redlegs have greatly diminished. The kids are out of school, it gets darker later, and television is AWFUL. But this week I want to focus on perhaps the best reason to get to Great American Ballpark: The Food.
Last week, Pedigo brought to our attention that some website called “Man Tested Recipes” has named the Meat Lover’s Hot Dog in Cincinnati as the best new food at a ballpark in 2011. Now I know some of you out there hear “hot dog, bacon, fried, salami, chili, cheese” and get all food-nutrition-snobby. You are also the people that ruined McDonald’s by getting them to clutter up their menu with yogurt parfaits and apples in a Happy Meal. (It’s a “Happy” Meal, people! Not a “Guilt-Ridden, Overly Obsessive, Count Your Calories” Meal!) To you I say, get over it. Americans overindulge. Baseball is America’s Pastime. Do the math.
So to get your stomachs growling and your motors running up to Great American this summer, I give you my Five Best Epicurean Delights at a Cincinnati Reds Game:
5. Montgomery Inn Barbecue: True confession: I don’t really like Montgomery Inn Barbecue, but I know a lot of people really, really do. While I figure those people obviously have never been to Tuscaloosa, Columbia or Owensboro, I do appreciate the existence of this local favorite inside the ballpark. You can find it near Section 127.
4. Funnel Fries. Take the glory of a funnel cake and add the convenience found in the form of a french fry. How can you go wrong? These (along with garlic fries and cheese fries) are sold at Game Time Grill, with four locations inside GABP.
3. Penn Station. Suffice to say, my wife and daughter are not the Reds fans that my son and I are. But knowing that there is a Penn Station in the ballpark can coerce them to a game or two each season. The only downside is that there is only one variety available (the Philly Cheesesteak, and I’m more of a Chicken Teriyaki sort of guy), but the quality of the sandwich and the fries is comparable to what you find at your local Penn Station. It is found near sections 130 and 154.
2. Skyline Cheese Coneys. For me, the cheese coney is as emblematic of Cincinnati as the Big Red Machine itself. I really hope there’s no one out there that has never experienced the majesty of the cheese coney. Sometimes I catch myself singing this song if I haven’t had one in a while. Five locations throughout the stadium.
And #1, the GOETTA DOG. I didn’t grow up in Cincy or northern Kentucky, so I am a newcomer to goetta. But I have had it in hot dog form at GABP and in its original form at the world famous Anchor Grill in Covington, and I am hooked. For those still wondering what the heck I’m talking about, goetta is basically a sausage made from ground meat and oats. I know what you’re thinking, but ya gotta trust me on this one. My son is convinced there is no better dog in the world than a goetta, and he’s the kid that was only short a Polish from hitting for the “sausage cycle” at Miller Park a couple of summers ago. Get a Goetta. You can find them at Roebling Dogs near section 112 and sections 130-132.
Those are my favorites. Let me know what yours are. There’s also a new Mr. Reds’ Smokehouse down the right field line that is supposed to be all that. So pack up the kids and the antacids and get to a Reds game this summer.