Texas Rangers writer Evan Grant says he's close to checking himself into a hospital. Food writer Sarah Blaskovich desperately needs to eat something leafy and green. They just tried 10 of the new concession items debuting at Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers, for the 2016 season. Pray for them.
By SARAH BLASKOVICH and EVAN GRANT
Cotton candy, hot dogs and beer are fine options at the ballpark. But they seem so pedestrian compared to their new concession counterparts at Globe Life Park in Arlington: a $27, triple-decker sandwich with five kinds of pork; a skewer of fried chicken and doughnuts; or a cart of vegan food.
Another new one this year, available only on Sundays at the ballpark, is a $28 bloody Mary studded with whole slices of bacon, doughnuts, sausage and cheese, and two brisket sliders. This go-big-or-go-home dish actually sounds like a good deal; it could feed at least two people.
All the new items make their debut during the Texas Rangers' season opener and will remain on ballpark menus through the season.
It isn't likely that you'll splurge on every new concession item at the ballpark. After all, there are well over a dozen newcomers. Save your bucks for beer and consider our ranking of 10 new ballpark gut busters:
1. Wicked Pig -- $27
He said (Evan Grant): Five kinds of pork is five kinds of awesome. Though the truth: They all really blend into one porkgasm. I couldn't tell where the prosciutto ended and bacon began. It's served club style on a giant Hawaiian roll that reminded me oddly of challah bread. Try to sweet talk your way into one extra slice of the bread, then create two ginormous -- but manageable -- sandwiches.
She said (Sarah Blaskovich): Whoa, this thing is big. Watching Evan Grant eat a triple-stacked sandwich packed with pork was probably the highlight of my week. The coleslaw and pork rinds add great crunch to this sandwich. It's a monster, but it's delicious.
2. Sweet spot cotton candy dog -- $10.50
He said: Not as awful as it sounds or looks. The green cotton-candy-infused mustard looked like something that rhymes with "comet," but really the whole effect was like putting dijon or honey mustard on a hot dog. Not traditional, but not unpleasant.
She said: Available since the postseason in 2015, the cotton candy hot dog is a near-perfect example of how to gussy up an existing ballpark favorite. It's made with a good beef frank, then topped with cotton-candy-infused mustard, which takes the edge off the yellow stuff that is usually too tangy for me. Then it comes topped with puffs of cotton candy, a personal must at every ballpark excursion. This one's a winner.
3. Flamin' Hot Cheetos dog -- $10.50
He said: When it comes to Cheetos, I'm a puff guy. And when it comes to toppings, I try to omit neon colors from the regular diet, but this works on a nice all-beef Black Angus hot dog. The Cheeto-infused nacho cheese may look like it sprung from a nuclear reactor, but it's just slightly kicked-up queso. And no Cheeto dust on your hands afterward!
She said: The Flamin' Hot Cheetos infused into the nacho cheese didn't give this 'dog the atomic punch I hoped it would have. But I do love Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and eating them on top of a hot dog feels like I'm a kid breaking the rules. I like it.
4. Homerun cheeseburger -- $16.50
He said: It's a cheeseburger. A big cheeseburger. But still just your basic cheeseburger. If they can get the American cheese as melty for mass consumption as it was at the taste test, it's a better than average big cheeseburger, too.
She said: FOUR all-beef hamburger patties? This is a commitment. And on the whole, it's a great burger if you're the super-sizing kind.
5. Pub pretzels with beer cheese -- $7.50
He said: Just another spin on the ballpark pretzel and nacho cheese cup. If these pretzels can be kept softer than the ones that spin around under a heat lamp in most ballpark concessions, it's a winner.
She said: Pretzels with cheese feel right for the ballpark. These come with a kick in the pants: the habanero kind. They're hard not to like, though not especially unique.
6. Vegan jerky -- $5
He said: The only thing we sampled from the vegan cart. It's a little slimy to the touch, but it's got the firmness of good quality beef jerky. Yes, the smoky sweetness tastes a bit artificial, but, hey, it's fake beef to start with.
She said: This is not beef. But that's OK: It gets points for pretending very well. It has some subtle texture issues that carnivores will likely not appreciate. But you know who isn't vegan jerky's target audience? Carnivores. Vegans might love it.
7. Pudge's Plate -- $16
He said: A good panini named for a Hall of Fame player. But the single most puzzling ingredient of the day is the turkey patty that really doesn't serve much purpose except to make everything more bread-y. Nothing left me more puzzled about the tastings today than that turkey patty. Why? Why the turkey patty?
She said: Finally, a normal sandwich! Anyone who wants a good turkey sandwich, or loves Pudge (Ivan) Rodriguez, or both, should consider Pudge's Plate. But what's the deal with the turkey patty?
8. Buffalo chicken loaded fries -- $9.50
He said: Unless you eat this platter very quickly, I see a lot of potential for the white queso topping to congeal into what will look like pools of glue. Also, it will only make the waffle fries, the kind of fry that lacks crispness (and isn't that the whole purpose of the fry?) soggier. And what's the point of eating soggy fries?
She said: Buffalo chicken: good. Queso: good. Waffle fries: good. All together? Only OK.
9. Bacon and cheddar loaded fries -- $9.50
He said: These are potato skins on waffle fries. If you still live in the 1980s and hope to see Charlie Hough pitching for the Rangers, this is for you. I'm comfortable in the Twenty-first century.
She said: Potato skins aren't really my jam, so these didn't appeal to me. They do seem perfect for the ballpark. But I'll be sticking to a $27 Wicked Pig sandwich rather than this appetizer.
10. Chicken and doughnut skewer -- $12
He said: Biggest disappointment. The donuts look lovely coming out of the fryer. Everybody loves donuts. Everybody loves chicken nuggets. Everybody loves chicken and waffles and donuts are basically just another spin on the waffle. So, where did this go wrong? Start with the doughy donuts. Then add the difficulty of actually getting a bite that includes both chicken and donut and you've got an idea that sounds better than it actually tastes.
She said: We were let down with this sweet 'n savory dish. They're a play off of chicken and waffles, though here, it's hard to get a bite with both chicken and doughnut. What you're left with is slightly spicy fried chicken and dense doughnuts, both fine on their own but not better together. Save your calories for something else.
Follow @Evan_P_Grant for baseball. Follow @sblaskovich if you're hungry.