Eats at Mets

In food on 04/19/2009 at 8:24 pm

The other half haggled for some Brewers tickets last week from a co-worker with season tickets at Shea Stadium cum Citifield. Saved us $6 off face value. I’m so proud. With that extra change, you could buy one Nathan’s hot dog in the newly constructed brick behemoth which is surprisingly cozy on the inside. I tagged along to sample the eats.

You’d think if you hired the Danny Meyer empire you’d put big signs everywhere but after a round of searching, passing Dunkin’ Donuts, normal burgers, Italian sausage, Nacho Grande and Nathan hot dog stands, we saw no sign of Shake Shack or Blue Smoke or the other ‘upscale’ food. Finally I asked and was told to head out behind center field.

The line for Shake Shack was gynormous so I skulked around in the open air area blocked off from the main stadium by a four-story collage of billboards and giant TV screen. Besides Blue Smoke, there was a Box Frites and El Verano Taqueria, which didn’t sound too exciting. In the corner there was also a pizza place of which the personal sized pies didn’t look any better than Sbarro’s.

hellO vegas!

I got in line for Blue Smoke since it was the lesser known of the Meyer empire, and maybe people didn’t want to get their hands mucky with sauce. The other half joined me and decided to get a shake later. We spent $27 for pork ribs, a pulled pork sandwich and smoked Buffalo wings. I enjoyed the accompanying new pickle coins best out of everything, crunchy and just tangy enough, but of the meats, the ribs were very tender and moist while the pulled pork on a seeded bun were too dry. The wings were overcooked and kind of hard.

KC style ribbies

el menu de blue smoke

On our way up to our seats in the nosebleed section, we passed by a seafood stand, Catch of the Day, that had lobster rolls for $17, a good deal even in the real world. I wasn’t in the mood for mayo though. We chilled for half an inning to watch the Brewers at bat and soak in the ambience. Wow, even at upper left field, the seats were fantastic. The only other time I’d been to a Mets game, it was such a long walk through the parking lot to the stadium, and our seats were on the lower level but felt so far from the field that we might as well have been in another state. The architects may have borrowed from the Broadway theatre style seating with higher angles to get the feeling of being closer while looming over the field. It’s a little treacherous getting to the seats since the walking room is non-existent. As long as you keep your vertigo in check, Citifield is miles beyond the slum of Shea Stadium.

Back to the food. So after the game started, we went back downstairs for some more food investigation. Even though the line was now quite short, the time it took to get a shake was awhile, despite the fact that they don’t cook to order at the stadium. I could see the heat lamps and the wilting sad burgers. The fries are supposedly fresh cut here, unlike the frozen ones at the other locations. What intrigued me was this:

special shake shack brew?

Shake Shack apparently has its own special draught beer! I never noticed that before. It’s made by Brooklyn Brewery, and is a pale ale. For food, there’s only the varieties of Shack burger, Chicago and NY hot dogs. For shakes, only vanilla and the black & white, which is vanilla custard with fudge swirled together. The chocolate part tastes better than mere syrup, but I can’t imagine kids in the back melting chocolate nibs on a double boiler.

We took a stroll around to look for ‘Taste of the City’ which ended up being a deli hidden in a back corner with cashiers outside. There was sushi, chefs making more fries, Superpretzels and cuban sandwiches wrapped in foil. The line for  Mama’s of Corona heroes was the longest. Everyone was ignoring the cold cases of salads and other assorted healthy yogurt parfaits. This caught our eye:

me want cookY

Next time, if I’m really bored, I’ll do a taste test of the 5+ varieties of french fries offered at all the different concessions, buy a $3.75 Mr. Baseball cookie to color and throw down a frosty Shackmeister ale. My neighbors were eating cannolis and Italian cookies when we left at the bottom of the sixth inning. They looked about ghetto supermarket quality. Bonus pic:

good thing we're moving to the 'burbs

Parting shot: Do Braised Red Onions really need to be monitored?

gourmet toppings bar

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