Hit It out of the Park: Where to Eat Before a Baseball Game #savortheroad

Oh, yes! Take me out to the ballgame, but, please, skip the peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Admittedly, stadium concessionaires have elevated baseball fare to baseball cuisine. Cuban pretzel dogs and ice-cold craft beer have replaced dirty water dogs and lukewarm draft beer. All good, but I would still prefer to be wined and dined (a bit) and eat a meal sitting at a table (I can forego white tablecloths!) rather than balanced on my lap. I love America’s pastime, and I love eating out. So, let’s make a night of it!

Whether you’re embarking on a summer road trip to make a pilgrimage to some of our national pastime’s sporty cathedrals or staying put to root for your home team, we’ve rounded up nine stadiums and scouted out some of the best spots to grab a bite before the umpire shouts “Play ball!” — or after the last pitch. Batter up! Here’s where to eat before a baseball game, from coast to coast.

Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox. This storied ballpark offers hungry die-hard Sox fans everything from soup to nuts, literally. Jerry Remy’s is the undisputed go-to spot either before or after a game at Fenway; owner Jerry Remy is a legendary Red Sox broadcaster and a living local treasure. The restaurant serves up comfort food with a modern flair and an enormous craft and micro-brewed beer selection. This is Red Sox Nation. Find other restaurants near Fenway Park. 

Blog BaseballEats1 Jerry Remys copyYankee Stadium, in the Bronx, is now across the street from the original “House That Ruth Built.” The new stadium, completed in 2009, is a state-of-the-art baseball venue. It features 25 concession stands, more than 100 moveable concessions, and three restaurants: NYY Steak, Hard Rock Café, and Audi Club. From dry-aged USDA Prime steaks to sports and music-themed burgers and performance-cooking stations, anyone can score delicious food at Yankee Stadium. Find other restaurants near Yankee Stadium.

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards in B’more is where the Baltimore Orioles play. Built in 1992, Camden Yards is just blocks from Baltimore’s picturesque Inner Harbor and is a destination for baseball and non-baseball fans alike. Located within the Orioles’ complex is Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant, named after the team’s beloved catcher, Rick Dempsey. Dempsey’s serves up classic pub fare: a variety of Maryland crab appetizers, hearty salads, fish tacos, beer-braised pork belly, beer-can chicken, and eight signature burgers, as well as local and regional bottled craft beers and four in-house brewed, baseball-themed beers. Dempsey’s is open not only on game days, but seven days a week, year round. Find other restaurants near Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Nationals Park hosts the Washington Nationals team. Situated along the Anacostia River in D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood, Nationals Park is best accessed by the city’s uber-efficient Metro system. Just east of the stadium is Yards Park and Agua 301, an authentic Mexican restaurant with a modern flair. Ceviche, soups, salads, empanadas, huaraches, and entrees that are both traditional and contemporary — and definitely not Tex-Mex. Dine al fresco along D.C.’s riverfront, and then stroll over to cheer on Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and company.

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Wrigley Field in Chicago is the beloved abode of the Chicago Cubs. Known for its ivy-covered, brick outfield walls, old-timey, hand-turned scoreboard, and red marquee, Wrigley Field is the place for Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Directly across the street from the ballpark, in what is affectionately known as Wrigleyville, is Rockit Burger Bar. As one might expect, this is a burger joint — one with unexpected burgers. How about a mac & cheese attack, a huevos rancheros, or a venison foie gras burger? Find other restaurants near Wrigley Field.Continue Reading

August Restaurant Weeks: Where to Dine for Less

Blog August Restaurant Weeks Casa Lever copyAugust is almost upon us — bringing with it even more summer restaurant weeks. We’ve rounded up where to dine for less in the coming month!

* Baltimore Restaurant Week lets you dine out more in B’more with $15 lunches and $20 + $30 dinners through August 2. Book a table.

* Howard County Restaurant Week has local flavor at fabulous prix-fixe prices through August 3. Book a table.

* New York City Restaurant Week has $25 lunches + $38 dinners at more than 300 restaurants, including Casa Lever (which will be offering its red beet tortelli with ricotta, spring English peas, Pecorino fondue, and raspberry-pickled red pearl onion, pictured), through August 14. Book a table.

* Hudson Restaurant Week brings $13 and up lunches + $25 and up dinners through August 7. Book a table.

* Baltimore County Restaurant Week is cooking up $15.15, $25.15, $35.15 lunches + dinners, July 31-August 15. Book a table.

* COOLinary New Orleans has delicious two- or three-course lunches for $20 or less, three-course dinners for $39 or less, and all-new $39 or less prix-fixe brunches, August 1-31. Book a table.

* Houston Restaurant Weeks stretch for five delicious weeks of $20 lunches, $25 brunches, and $35 + $45 dinners, from August 1-September 7. Book a table.

* Miami Spice has sweet dining deals with $23 lunches + $39 dinners, August 1-September 30. Book a table.

* Center City District Restaurant Week in Philadelphia starts soon. Don’t miss $20 lunches + $35 dinners, August 2-14. Book a table.

* Downtown St. Louis Restaurant Week is your gateway to $25 dinners, August 3-9. Book a table.

* Pittsburgh Restaurant Week invites you to dine on three-course prix-fixe meals + $20.15 specialties, August 10-16. Book a table.Continue Reading

Chill Out: Seven Cold Summer Soups to Order Now

Soup that isn’t served hot can be a real drag. Unless, of course, it’s cold soup, in which case it is a delightfully refreshing blast of flavor on a hot summer’s day. Here are seven cold summer soups to order now — and the restaurants at which to do so. 

Ajo Blanco
Sometimes referred to as “white gazpacho,” ajo blanco is a subtle Spanish summer delicacy made from ground almonds, garlic, bread, and olive oil for a smooth and cool texture on the tongue. A specialty of the Andalusian region of Spain, you’ll find it at your better tapas restaurants and Spanish wine bars. It is a real hit when it’s on the menu at at Jaleo by José Andrés in Washington, D.C. Give yourself extra points for consuming the superfood that is almonds. [Photo courtesy of Jaleo by José Andrés]

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Borsch, or borscht, the storied beet soup of Eastern Europe can be served either hot or cold. A staple in New York’s Jewish community, it inspired the colloquial name of the old resort region in upstate New York: the “Borscht Belt.” But you don’t have to go to the Catskills to enjoy a good bowl of this purple pleasure. If you find yourself in San Francisco, schlep on over to the Inner Richmond district for a sanguine supper at Katia’s Russian Tea Room and Restaurant. Just be sure not to wear white unless your spooning skills are top notch. [Photo courtesy of Katia’s Russian Tea Room and Restaurant]

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Chilled Asparagus Soup
Cold soup, it turns out, can be made from just about any vegetable or fruit, offering a wide array of flavors and textures. Carrots lend their natural sweetness and pair well with fresh herbs, grated ginger, turmeric, and more subtle spices. Leeks bring fragrance to the bland creaminess of potatoes. Avocados, asparagus, fennel — all of these can take the main stage in a sublime cold soup when they are seasonably plentiful. These days, you’ll be able to find a great selection of freshly made soups made with everything from artichokes to zebra squash. At Pub & Kitchen in Philadelphia’s Center City, chef Eli Collins is dazzling diners with a lovely chilled asparagus soup featuring rhubarb, queso fresco, and almonds. [Photo courtesy of Pub & Kitchen]

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Korean Cold Noodle Soup
My completely unanticipated passion for cold soups began at a Korean-Chinese hole-in-the-wall somewhere in northern China where my host ordered us each a bowl of Korean Cold Noodle Soup (naengmyun). A full meal in itself, the large stainless steel bowl was filled with toothy noodles in an icy-cold, sweet, spicy, and tangy beef broth that I can still taste in my mind today. It was topped with an Asian pear, cucumbers, and more sliced beef. I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since. Stateside, Seorabol Korean Restaurant in Philadelphia makes their cold buckwheat noodles by hand in the traditional way. “This is the way Koreans have made and eaten naengmyun for centuries and we plan to keep that tradition and culture alive, even when it is not convenient,” says Seorabol’s chef Chris Cho. Seorabol offers two variations of the dish: bibim naengmyun (spicy mix), pictured, and mool naengmyun (in cold beef broth). Both are guaranteed to delight. [Photo courtesy of Seorabol]

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Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2015: Book a Table

Food & Wine magazine recently announced its annual roster of Best New Chefs of 2015. The honorees represent chefs who have been running a kitchen for less than five years and who are winning fans and attention in their culinary communities. A few commonalities among the winners, according to Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin, include nods to the past and a highly personal aspect to their cooking. “The chefs seem to be cooking to please themselves, and in the process have dazzled diners,” Cowin told CNN. The standout chefs include:

Chef Zoi Antonitsas, Westward, Seattle, Washington

Résumé: Chef Antonitsas may be familiar to diners outside the Seattle area because of her turn as a cheftestant on season 4 of Top Chef. Formerly the executive chef at Madison Park Conservatory in Seattle, Antonitsas worked at  Zazu Kitchen + Farm in Sebastapol, and the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco before opening Westward in the fall of 2013 and bringing her unique blend of Mediterranean-meets-Pacific Northwest cuisine to the shores of Lake Union. She also served as a consultant for nopa.
Rave review for her food: “The food — ah! The food was amazing! I loved that everything was so simple, yet so delicious — how food should be. The presentation was impeccable.”
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PFE - chef katie button panuelo de chocolate - 5.2011Chef Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, North Carolina

Résumé: Scientist-cum-chef Button opened Cúrate in 2011 after mastering her culinary craft at Spain’s legendary El Bulli. Later stints include Jean-Georges in New York and The Bazaar by José Andrés in Beverly Hills. She also opened the bar Nightbell, and is penning her first cookbook. Cúrate has been named a Top 100 Best Restaurant in America in 2013 and a Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurant in 2014 by OpenTable diners.
Rave review for her food: “The quality of the food was outstanding. I have been to Spain multiple times and this was like being there, from the food to the wine to the unhurried pace of the meal.”
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Chef Jim Christiansen, Heyday, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Résumé: His experience may be primarily rooted in the midwest, but chef Christiansen found his inspiration abroad as well, namely in the cuisine of Copenhagen’s renowned noma, at which he staged. After spending time in the kitchens of La Belle Vie and UNION Rooftop Restaurant in the Twin Cities, Christiansen opened Heyday to acclaim in April 2014.
Rave review for his food: “The kitchen obviously knows their stuff and the chef is inspired from start to finish. With baked goods done in house, everything is super fresh and innovative without being inaccessible. We were so happy with our food and our server; it couldn’t have been better.”
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Chef Tim Maslow, Ribelle, Boston, Massachusetts

Résumé: Chef Maslow is well known to Boston foodies, having first wowed diners when he revamped the menu at his father Paul’s aging Watertown restaurant Strip-T’s. Previously, he honed his skills within the Momofuku family of restaurants in Manhattan, rising to chef de cuisine of Momofuku Ssam Bar. He opened Ribelle in March of 2013 and received four stars from the Boston Globe a little more than half a year later.
Rave review for his food: “Whenever I get a chance to stop by Ribelle, I again realize that Tim is at the very top of the list of the best chefs in the Boston area. As a foodie, I love this place.”
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