Citi Field Food Tour 2019
There’s no crying in baseball—unless you’re crying about how good the food is.
For years, baseball stadiums across America have been stepping up to the plate with their culinary visions, presenting food that keeps people coming back to the ballpark no matter where their team resides in the standings. And while we all want to root for a winner, the opportunity to stuff one’s face with unbelievable grub always lessens the sting of a loss. In that spirit, the New York Mets once again invited members of the media to sample Citi Field’s 2019 menu during a day that, at least in this writer’s opinion, is the greatest press day of the year.
During the visit, the organization pitched details about the 1969 Weekend set to start June 28, when the ball club will honor the 1969 “Miracle Mets” with appearances by members of that championship team and a slew of fan giveaways. Meanwhile, the Mets also revealed that the team will honor Mets great Tom Seaver by officially renaming Citi Field’s address after the ailing Mets pitcher. All good stuff, but enough with the nostalgia trip. Let’s eat.
Leading off the ballpark food tour is the Lobster Nachos from Catch of the Day. It’s hard to believe that there was once a day when people thought cheese and lobster did not belong together. Luckily, thanks to creations like lobster mac n’ cheese, those days are long gone. Here, pepper jack fondue is draped over Maine lobster with cilantro-lime creme, a sprinkling of cotija cheese and a few slices of jalapeños. It’s all piled atop warm, salty nachos. The lobster is fresh, with a signature sweetness that gets a robust wallop from the peppery cheese sauce. Of all the items sampled, this one elicited thoughts of a mid-July afternoon game the most.
Next, Citi Field stalwart Pat LaFrieda returns with a filet mignon steak sandwich, a heaping delivery of cheese-covered meat. The sandwich features LaFrieda’s special reserve cut of 100 percent black angus hand-cut beef, with a generous layer of Vermont Monterey jack cheese, sautéed sweet vidalia onions and beef au jus on a locally baked and toasted French baguette. The tender steak and sharp cheese are definitely hearty, but those sweet onions offer the perfect change-up.
I know what you’re thinking: Did he really start an article about ballpark food with lobster and steak? Who does this upper crust elitist eater think he is? Fine, if that’s your attitude, let’s talk about hot dogs. More specifically, Haute Dogs. This purveyor of elevated franks features two dogs for the days of summer: the Bases Loaded Dog, a foot-long hot dog with cheddar fondue, applewood smoked bacon and green onion; and the Pretzel Dog, a foot-long hot dog wrapped in a house-made artisan pretzel. While both are home runs, the Pretzel Dog is a grand slam—a big, beefy wiener wrapped in warm doughy pocket.
One of the new additions to Citi Field for 2019 is the Brooklyn-based Emmy Squared, a company cranking out pizza and burgers that are as head-turning as they are delicious. The pies include the Colony Squared, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, pickled jalapeños and a drizzle of honey; and The Emmy, with mozzarella, banana peppers, red onions and ranch sauce. As for their burger, the behemoth Le Big Matt is a monstrous double-stack of Pat LaFrieda grass-fed beef patties, American cheese, Sammy Sauce (a zestier take on the classic “special” sauce), greens and pickles on a pretzel bun, served with Zapp’s chips.
Another product of Brooklyn, Big Mozz, makes its triumphant return to Citi Field, this time with two new—and very divergent—bites. First, there’s the Mozz Pockets. Think a grown-up’s version of the frozen Totino’s Pizza Rolls. These poppable ballpark treats are filled with mozzarella, red sauce, pecorino romano and, as the purveyor insists, “magic.” What separates these tiny pizza bites from the store-bought variety is without a doubt the crust, which is so good it completely embarrasses Mr. Totino. Big Mozz’s other item is a collaboration with cookie dough virtuosas DŌ, for a sweet partnership that produced a ball of flash-fried cookie dough—crispy on the outside, ooey-gooey on the inside. Oh, sweet heaven. It comes in two varieties, signature chocolate chip and rainbow cake batter.
Destination Dumplings arrives for the 2019 baseball season with three diverse dumplings: The Classic, an unctuous mix of pork and chive with scallions and house soy sauce; a bright-green edamame dumpling with citrus soy; and a slightly spicy Korean beef with chili miso and sesame seeds. Another Asian station is Daruma of Tokyo, with an assortment of fresh sushi like salmon belly, spicy tuna, fluke, and more.
Another must-try item this season is Nicoletta’s meatball hero, that takes everything you love about a meatball parm and fits it onto a hamburger bun-sized sesame roll. Meanwhile Arancini Bros. returns with their amazin’ balls, this time with a sausage and pepper ball, a taco ball (finally fitting a taco into ball form) and the decadent Amazin’ Cheesecake ball, filled with a strawberry cheesecake and a graham cracker outer crust. Other sweet treats at Citi Field include the aforementioned DŌ, Wowfulls and Dulcinea.
The full lineup of food at Citi Field is far too massive to fit here, but also be sure to check out Dan and John’s Wings, especially their new Buffalo Chicken Sandwich; ‘Lil Sweet Chick for more great chicken sandwiches; Fuku, who returns with a spicy fried chicken sandwich; Stuf’d, another new addition with the daunting stuffed Reuben sandwich; The Pizza Cupcake, serving a pizza in cupcake form; and the flavorful favorite Bash Burger by Chef Josh Capon.