Wednesday, May 6, 2009
It wouldn't be right if HowFresh only did a Yankee Stadium review. And then another review. I might be labeled biased or partial. Never that. HowFresh reps NYC- all parts. Even the boroughs I don't really care for.
The Shea-k Shack, I think I need to copyright that. Citi Field wasn't doing it for me anyway. There's no identity with that name- too generic. And we all know that the Yankees run the city. But I don't want to make this a mud throwing contest. It's bad enough the stadium is located in Siberia. Nothing like the friendly confines of 161st and River. You can't find parking there, unless you use a lot ($18), which I don't, and Shea's freshly ground rubble is still sitting there, a stadium cemetery. The chop shop district is BANANAS. Shit is a 3rd world country. Dust everywhere and potholes. I thought I broke the whole transmission- motherfuckers are just ready to pounce once they see the injured animal. Next time, if there is one, the 7 train will be the chauffeur.
Big shout to the 3 cats drinking Bud cans in front of the stadium that sold my boy a ticket for $5. There still are some decent human beings out there. They even showed love to a cat with a Yankees hat. That definitely set a nice tone for the events to follow. Outside the stadium are all the engraved bricks and stones. I read that there were some inappropriate ones that got through but after scouring a bunch I gave up. I had a Shack Party to attend. The one above was decent- should have been a P and not an M. Shocked Jackson Smith even recalls any of those memories.
Entering the Jackie Robinson rotunda is cool but it doesn't feel like a baseball stadium, more like a museum, or Capital building. Aside from the huge blue 42 (24 backwards works for me) and some images of Jackie and the Dodgers, there's nothing to give the feeling of a baseball stadium, and especially a baseball stadium where the Mets play. Fucking Yankee fans ruining photos. I apologize on their behalf. Such dirtbags. Learn some manners.
Unlike Yankee stadium, there have been food write-ups, reviews, and mentions of Citi Field food for months. I knew exactly what I wanted and basically where I had to be. The good shit is in the outfield, primarily center field, where it feels more like a Boardy Barn party than a baseball game. The lobster roll and shack burger were tops on the list. After that, whatever caught my goat. I was unable to find funding for this recon mission so I needed to be a bit more selective. I still got it in.
After passing various stands including Nathan's, Brooklyn Burger, World's Fare which housed Daruma of Tokyo and Mama's of Corona, I had a moment upon spotting Catch of the Day. I would finally have a lobster roll at a baseball game. My life was about to change. Fuck a $5 hot dog. HowFresh all grows up. $17 lobster rolls. Ask somebody. I get so open over seafood, too open probably. I was so focused on this one. Ordered the lobster roll ($17), a cup of Long Island clam and corn chowder ($4.75) and a 16 oz. blue point lager draft ($7.50). David Pasternack of Esca was behind the menu and on first observation it looked like he put together a nice little selection.
Definitely not the catch of the day though not quite an error, more like a routine pop up that got lost in the sun. The potential was there but not executed properly. The lobster roll was packed with meat, a positive, but lemon juice overpowered it. Reminded me of disinfectant. Not a good look, especially for 17 beans. The lobster was cooked well, but I couldn't really taste its natural sweetness. Served on a toasted and buttered split top bun, the lobster was joined by some celery. Basically I tasted lemon and celery. Scurvy is so last century. No need to keep fighting it.
Heard the clam chowder was on point so it joined the party. More watered down than what I'm used to but was enjoyable with ample enough amounts of fresh clams and celery and onions. The better of the 2 dishes at CotD. For $4.75 a definite value. The Blue Point Lager out of LI was the beverage of choice. Word is the flounder sandwich is the winner.
Again, more Yankees rudeness. They saw me taking pics and kept trying to get in them. The above one snuck in. Assholes. But yes, the Yanks are so amazing, even if they're having some early season issues.
As we made our way toward center field aka the main event, another beverage was in order. Similar to Yankee Stadium's Beer vendors, Big Apple Brews has a very broad variety of both domestics and foreigns. $7.50 per bottle, though you can get 16 oz. drafts for the same price. Do the math dummy. The stand is dead center in the CF pavilion surrounded by all types of grub. A nice pit stop for a brew before you embark on the Shake Shack journey. Had the Staropramen Pilsner because I was told the more syllables, the higher the alcohol content. No complaints.
Finally. The only reason I even came out to the Shea-K Shack. Maybe not the only but close to. Of course there was a line, but what would the Shack be without one. I would have been worried- like they ran out of patties or something. The Shack Burger is priced at $5.75, a dollar more than both NYC locations. I can fucks with that- especially when a dog can run you $5 to $6. Had some very enjoyable conversations with Mets fans- all tried dissing Yankees Stadium as some King Midas creation but they were uneducated and talking wreckless. Had to school them. As well as advise them that the Shack Burger is the TRUTH. See that, a Yankees fan dropping science in CF. Beltran, your days are numbered. In all honesty, Danny Meyer runs CF out there (He is responsible for Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, El Verano Taqueria, and Box Frites). Dude is 5 tools, 1st round draft pick with keeper value. WOW.
I read somewhere that the burger was a bit off at Citi. Couldn't be farther from the truth. Perfection in a bun. True story. Medium cooked flavor filled patty with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and shake sauce on a potato roll bun. Read more about them HERE and HERE. The wait wasn't that bad. Shorter than what you experience in the city. Screens are all around to watch the game. You cannot see the field from CF, a mistake in my opinion, since that's the most appealing place to be. Missing a Luis Castillo pop up isn't really a big deal anwyay. Washed the burger down with a Shackmeister Ale, a Brooklyn Brewery American Pale Ale- 16 oz. for $7.50. Smooth beer with a slight citrus taste that compliments a salty cheeseburger. I meant to get a black and white shake but lost track while I was ordering.
Blue Smoke, to the right of SS, offers 3 dishes- a pulled pork sandwich, Kansas City Spare Ribs and Chipotle Chicken Wings. My boy had the pulled pork sandwich. Served on a sesame seed brioche bun with a generous amount of swine. Nice tangy flavor but a bit dry. A little more sauce (pause) would have done the job. I saw some chick going to work on the ribs, and while this is just an observation- they looked meaty and moist (pause again). Worth a shot next time.
I was probably kind of wrecked by now thus the reason I completely passed on the tacos at El Verano Taqueria and the fries at Box Frites. Cold beer goes down real easy in plastic cups at baseball games. For real for real. These stands are located directly across from Shake Shack. This is unacceptable. My apologies for the lack of due diligence. Especially since I wasted money and stomach space on some of the worst nachos in the universe.
In completing a counter clockwise tour of the field level concession area we ran into Nachos Grande. The only reason I even considered them was based on the success I had with the Moe's Billy Barou Nachos at Yankee Stadium. I was going to have a HowFresh "throwdown". And I was pretty confident that "The Yankees Win!!! The Yankees Win!!!!" Win they did. Not even a competition. This shit was offensive. Notice I said shit. I prefer not referring to food as shit, but this was an exception. The steak nachos ($9) consisted of shredded beef that had an odd smell and a taste to match. You know that old steak smell. Yup. The jalapenos were way too crunchy and not that spicy. The chips were bland- not salty enough. No wonder they weighed close to a pound. Slop is cheap. 3 attempts was all I could do and then they hit the basura. You hear that Omar. Your nachos are basura.
Above and below are some images of menus from spots I didn't hit. Daruma of Tokyo (sushi) and Mama's of Corona (Italian fare- sandwiches and so on) are located in the World Fare Market in the RF corner.
Nona Delia's Pizza is the last vendor before reaching the CF oasis. Pizza looked decent- like real NYC pizza and not Pizza Hut puffy little pies.
Nathan's and Brooklyn Burger were located on the field level 1st base side. There might be more through the stadium.
That was it for the grub. After those nachos it was a wrap. Plus I was heading up to the grandstand and knew I wasn't going to make it down to CF again. I had a game to watch. Time to see my boy Cantu get busy. The stadium confuses me. Green seats with the black outfield wall with orange trim. I know the green seats are paying homage to the Polo Grounds, but where is the royal blue? No matter how much I dislike the Mets, at least rep your shit. There is absolutely no identity at this stadium. Granted, who wants any memories of Shea, but at least have the colors, logo, Mr. Met, and so on. After all the place is a baseball stadium where the Mets play. Not just a huge out door amusement park that sells the better ball park food in NYC. Sorry Yanks. But like our first president, HowFresh cannot tell a lie.
A non-food post to follow shortly.