Friday, June 18, 2010

Good Food, Great Park, Mediocre Baseball

I love the smell of the ballpark.

The smoke from the BBQ pits, the peanuts, the hot dogs, the grease, the grass, the sand, the guy who forgot to shower sitting two rows in front of you...I love it all.

As I'd mentioned, last evening PID and I jaunted across the river to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the ChiSox. Now let's get one thing straight. I'm a die hard Yankee fan at heart.  I was born wearing pinstripes and may or may not know the middle names of the entire starting line-up (and a few choice pitchers).  However, being a former softballer, I can't help but love the game wherever I can get it.  Which, sadly, happens to be Pittsburgh. 

Have we had a winning team since I've lived here?  No.  Have we had a winning team since I was 9?  No. But that's OK!  We have an absolutely amazing ballpark with a breathtaking view (I always say it looks like we're sitting on a green screen, it's too perfect to be real!) that serves OUTSTANDING food.

I know, I know.  You're thinking "ballparks serve hotdogs, nachos and beer, right?"  And you would be correct.  But OUR ballpark just happens to serve it up a notch by scattering two of Pittsburgh's local favorite eateries throughout the park.  The hardest choice upon arrival is not which over ecstatic vendor from whom to purchase beer, but whether to get Quaker Steak or Primanti's to accompany said beer. And by jove, they make it even harder by slapping them right next to each other so the coleslaw and pickles taunt you and each other simultaneously.

PID and I were lucky enough to be seated in section 108, DIRECTLY in front of these two culinary gems.  When we decided it was time to indulge we, quite literally, stared at these two signs for 4-5 minutes, mouths agape, in contemplation.

"Awguehwine?" We heard and ignored.

"EXCUSE ME -- ARE YOU TWO IN LINE?" a clearly perturbed woman repeated.  We snapped back to life and replied "No...wait yes!  No, I think not yet."

Finally we decided on Quaker Steak & Lube to cure our hunger pangs and stood in line awaiting a stadium bucket o' wings. 

After arguing with both self and PID, I decided to forgo the $8 beer and stick to diet Pepsi... still putting us back a pretty penny since I require a large beverage when it is above 70 degrees outside.

PID and I are suckers for onion rings, so we threw on an order of those as well. It may seem steep, but at QSL you get 5 rings for $5.  I will never argue that that is a fair price, however I will say that, considering the price of ballpark food in general, the size of these monster rings are quite favorable and ridiculously delicious.  I'm a dipper by nature (ranch? BK zest sauce which I've stolen bags of specifically so I can use it for everything other than BK? ketchup? you name it, I dip in it).  However, I realized by the time I'd returned to my seat that I forgot to ask for ranch and had less than zero desire to navigate back through the sea of kneecaps, thighs, beer cups and nacho cheese for a measly cup of Hidden Valley.  So I sucked it up and took a bite.  To my pleasant surprise no dipping sauce was needed for these puppies AT ALL.  They were massive and tasty. (Save the "that's what she said jokes.  Leave them for PID.)   I was in onion ring heaven.

Then it was on to the wings.

I chose the Arizona Ranch breed while PID had been pretty excited about his Louisiana Lickers.  I told him he only liked it for the name.  We each tried eachother's and surprisingly decided that we'd made the right decision, although both were quite appetizing we were happy with our individual choices.  PID is pretty cute when he's sloppily shoving a LA Licker in his mouth, isn't he?

Cliffs notes:

Drinks:        2 LARGE diet Pepsis @ $4.75
Appetizer:   5 onion rings for $5
Meal:         1 single order of AZ Ranch Wings @ 9.75
                 1 stadium bucket of LA Lickers @ $18.75
Dessert:     PID's company and a fabulous view of Garret Jones' rear @ $0
Tax:           Tax included at the ballpark
TOTAL FOR TWO:      $43
Overall opinion?
I can't say enough good things about date night at the ballpark.  But I can say two bad things.  First, we are all well aware of "ballpark prices" which run in the ballpark of WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.  But hey, you're paying for the experience, right? Oh wait... you already paid for that with your ticket...

Second, sadly, I can say that I've lived in Pittsburgh for 8 years and I honestly can't tell you if I've been at PNC Park for a Pirates win more than two times.  It's sad, but I still have love for the black and gold, no matter which pitch they swing at or unnecessary diving catch they miss.

But while date night with the Pittsburgh Pirates may not be overly romantic, we sure enjoyed ourselves and our meals.  We'll be back next week and the week after.  We've already got our tickets.  All you can eat seats? HERE WE COME!

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