We expected a bizarre hot dog -- this year, the frank comes doused in Cheetos-infused nacho cheese -- as part of the Texas Rangers' new roster of ballpark eccentricities. The too-tall Wicked Pig sandwich with five kinds of pork, six if you count crunchy pork rinds, fits right in, too.
Globe Life Park in Arlington has been home to 2-foot-long hot dogs and 24-inch-long deep-fried brownies. So 'scuse us if we didn't foresee vegan nachos, vegan jerky and a salad as part of the 2016 menu.
"Our goal this year," says Casey Rapp, general manager for Delaware North Sportservice at Globe Life Park, "was, let's go wacky, let's go crazy."
"But let's also give health-conscious fans that vegan cart."
Vegans and healthy eaters can thank Van Alstyne resident Twalla Grant, in part, for inspiring the meat-free cart. She has politely bothered Rapp and his team since 2014, asking whether the fry oil contained animal products or if the hot dog buns contained dairy. She and a few others did know about the vegan hot dog, which has been available at Globe Life Park for three years, but it wasn't publicized and many didn't know where to find it.
Grant's pestering worked, and now she'll be able to buy the meatless nachos she's been asking for, among other vegan items. "It still makes me speechless," she says.
Alongside the vegan cart are more typical ballpark gut-busters, all debuting April 1 at Globe Life Park. This year, however, there will be no new 24-inch foods, which are ballpark staples. New ones might become available later in the season, Rapp hints.
Here's a look at some of the new concession items coming to Arlington for the 2016 baseball season:
Wicked Pig -- $27
"Stuff could fall off," says Rapp. That's how big this sandwich is. A Hawaiian roll is stacked with pulled pork, bacon, sausage, prosciutto and ham, then doused in barbecue sauce and topped with coleslaw and pork rinds. Customers get a fork and a knife, thank goodness. There's also a third bun in the middle for those who want to unstack it and tackle it as two sandwiches.
- Sold in the 557 Smokehouse in section 49
Flamin' Hot Cheetos Dog -- $10.50
Every year, Delaware North concocts some kind of new hot dog. Last year, it was a 'dog topped with puffs of cotton candy and a sugar-infused mustard in neon green. This year, it's spicy instead of sweet, with Flamin' Hot Cheetos infused into the nacho cheese and then sprinkled on top. "The cheese has this atomic-looking color to it," Rapp says. "It's not yellow, it's orange."
- Sold in sections 22 and 48
Chicken and doughnut skewer -- $12
Instead of going for a chicken and waffles dish, executive chef Cris Vazquez dreamt up a chicken and doughnut skewer drizzled with buffalo honey sauce. The 12-inch skewer might eventually get supersized into a 24-inch option, but the engineering wasn't quite there yet. "You can't just put it on a lightweight stick," Rapp explains. They're still hunting for the right way to serve 2 feet of hefty fried chicken.
- Sold in section 50
Vegan cart: vegan hot dogs, meatless nachos, black bean burgers and more
A cart dedicated to meat-free and healthier items will be available in section 16, on the third base side. The concessions team sampled about 50 vegan items, Rapp guesses, to pick items that were right for ballpark fans. The cart will sell a vegan hot dog, black bean burger, vegan jerky, vegan nachos, vegan spinach wrap, hummus and organic beer.
Sold in section 16
Shake it up salad -- $9
Also available on the vegan cart: a portable salad, designed to be shaken so the dressing coats the vegetables as fans walk to their seats. It's not the Texas Rangers' first salad, Rapp points out. But it's the first one that focuses on how people might want to eat one: with one hand, and quickly.
- Sold in section 16 and Centerfield Market
Globe Life Park will also debut other new concession items such as smoked brisket fries in the Captain Morgan Club and pretzels with beer cheese in sections 11, 18, 30 and 327. Ballpark attendees with suite tickets will also see new menu items such as rocky road bread pudding and a three-platter raw bar.
All new items become available April 1 at Texas Rangers games at Globe Life Park, 1000 Ballpark Way in Arlington.
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