You could say the new Super Bowl LII menu items at U.S. Bank Stadium are a real home run.
Ha-ha! Just kidding! I know that’s the wrong sport!
They were pretty good, though -- the 13 new foods (along with two cocktails) on a menu Aramark senior executive chef James Mehne says he and his team have been working on for "about 364 days."
There's a collab with Revival. There's Flamin' Hot Cheeto-topped macaroni. There's a sandwich showdown between the NFC and AFC. There are brats from Kramarczuk's... but only if you're in one of the extra-exclusive clubs.
We got a little sneak peek at TCF Bank Stadium on Wednesday. What was best in this freshman class?
We really dug Prairie Dogs’ 2-Minute Drill Dog -- a bacon-wrapped number with buffalo ketchup, celery, ranch, and a pile of blue cheese -- where the crispy bacon added an extra satisfying pop to the hot dog casing. Their Sota Dog, which comes from the “if all else fails, put a tater tot on it” school of Sota thought, was a much more basic but still damn fine dog.
Also incredibly -- and unsurprisingly -- satisfying: Revival’s Smoked Pork Belly Sandwich and Hush Puppies. The jalapeño and cheddar pups were especially delightful: snackable, puffy little morsels of magic much lighter than the tiny grease bombs you may have had down South. Load ‘em up with Revival’s house-made hot sauce, and let that sweet potato puree take you away.
The new mac and cheese comes topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheeto and Cool Ranch Dorito dust, something you’re maybe rolling your eyes about, but let me tell you: premature! Turns out, a creamy three-cheese blend of Boursin, goat, and American with chipotle chicken gets even better when it has an added spice assist from snack chips. Go figure.
But the big showdown here is, of course, the New England Clam Roll and South Philly Roast Pork Sandwich from House Divided. Let's take a look at the Official Aramark Photography here, which puts my on-its-last-legs iPhone 5 work to shame:
Nice. That's New England on the left, Philly on the right.
As someone who grew up outside Philadelphia but spent eight-ish years living in Boston, I feel uniquely positioned to weigh in on which of these two takes home the W… and I gotta give the trophy to the clam roll. It was so fresh and light and springy and balanced, whereas the Philly sammy was loaded down with dry pork and the broccoli rabe felt a little like an afterthought. (Hey, they probably didn't have 364 days to perfect these two.)
Plus, here’s the thing: If you’re going to introduce a Philly-themed dish that’s not a cheesesteak, that's totally cool. We do eat more than those there. I’m even willing to overlook overcooked meat. But for the love of Rocky Balboa, if you’re serving cheese, meat, and veggies on an Italian roll, then you had better call that thing a hoagie and not a sandwich.
Anyway, you can read up on all the new items below.
If you somehow scored tickets to the Big Game, you might even get to eat them.
New England Clam Roll (kettle chip crusted fried clams, house tartar sauce, shredded lettuce, griddled roll)
South Philly Roast Pork Sandwich (Italian roast pork, sauteed broccoli rabe, sharp provolone, hoagie roll)
House Divided, Section 118
Espresso A La Mode (French vanilla ice cream, chocolate shavings, mini marshmallows, espresso sauce)
Blue Unicorn (Blue Moon ice cream, Fruity Pebbles, strawberries, sprinkles, bubblegum sauce, whipped cream)
Bubble Waffle, Section 111
Mac N Cheese (chipotle chicken, goat, Boursin with herb, and white American cheeses, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Cool Ranch Doritos)
Sections 116, 310, and 337
Smoked Pork Belly Sandwich (mustard BBQ sauce, pickles, slaw, Texas toast)
Hush Puppies (roasted jalapeño and cheddar, Revival house hot sauce)
Revival, Section 111
Ike's Roadhouse Sloppy Joe (all-beef sloppy Joe, onions, peppers, spices, kaiser roll and house chips)
Ike's Foods & Cocktails, Sections 119, 329
Sota Dog (Vienna all beef dog, tater tots, chive sour cream, paprika, poppy seed bun)
2-Minute Drill Dog (bacon, buffalo ketchup, blue cheese, diced celery, ranch)
Prairie Dogs, Section 122
Walleye Chowder (potatoes, wild rice, vermouth, dill, sourdough roll)
Hyundai and FMP Clubs
Kramarczuk's Wild Rice Bratwurst (caramelized onions, lingonberry chutney)
Braised Short Rib Sandwich (pancetta, arugula, smoked tomatoes, pickled red onions, roasted garlic and cheddar, griddled potato roll, house chips)
Hyundai, Medtronic, and FMP Clubs
Head-to-Head Signature Cocktails:
The Wicked Red (cranberry juice, rum, and blueberry)
Midnight Green Punch (vodka, sour apple, and lemon-lime soda)
House Divided, Section 118