The enjoyment of a ball game at Target Field is so much more than the final score. It's the crack of the bat, the vibrant green of the grass, the crisp Minnesota spring wind pinking cheeks, a serious-sized drink and a pile of calorie-rich foods. The big news in stadium food is not just that it now includes some literally big food, like a softball-sized, cheese-stuffed meatball. We recently tasted some of the new menu items at Target Field, and as you might expect, we've got some opinions.
The Mega Meatball ($9) was packed with flavor. The meat mixture contained a healthy amount of Italian sausage, beneath a scarlet blanket of kicky tomato sauce and on the inside, a hunk of gooey mozzerella cheese. The meatballs are from Valentini's, a family-owned Italian restaurant in Duluth (they also have an outpost in Chisholm).
The Food Network's Buffalo Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese was a decent mac 'n' cheese with crusty brown crispies, but the "buffalo" was without bite. Priced at $10.75, it's hard to justify a serving, unless you've got a cheesy itch to scratch. They also have a Bacon Sloppy Joe ($10) served with a side of Fritos. The flavor was a bit meager, but if you put those chips into the Sloppy Joe it becomes a salty, crunchy, sloppy, tasty mess, just begging for a beer to wash it down.
Another newcomer is LeeAnn Chin, serving both vegetarian and chicken stir-fried noodles ($8.50). Here was the heat we were looking for--a decent amount of mouth burn and fun to slurp.
The loaded potato ($8.50) bar was nothing exciting, but the potatoes were massive and possibly a healthy (depending on how you load it) option sure to fill a stomach.
The garlic fries ($8.50) were fun to eat out of a paper container, but the blast of raw garlic was a bit harsh. Make sure you them with everyone around you or face 8th-inning ostracism.
The fried pickles ($7) whipped up a bit of a frenzy among tasters. Soggy pickle chips coated in extra-crispy, thick breading are fried and served with a side of either ketchup or a vat of Heinz ranch dressing. Salty, tart, crunchy, and creamy, the only bummer was that the pickle, free from it's fried shell, made a squishy retreat, leaving behind a husk of flavorless, fried crust. Oh well, that's what the ranch sauce is for, right?
The absolute best of the new items is the addition of both Fulton and Surly beers ($7.75/$8.75). You can now also get 2 Gingers whiskey at the ball park. On a warmer day, a Big Ginger cocktail sounds like a crisp, refreshing quaff for the ball game.