The Colorado Rockies open their home schedule on Friday, a time to dust off your list of excuses for skipping work or school to enjoy an afternoon at the ballpark.
You're so there. And you're hungry.
But before you drop your dime on some peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jacks or classic hot dogs, take a closer look at the foods that aren't hawked on the aisles but are on the menus of concession stands. Sweet and salty aren't your only choices.
Aramark sates hungry Rockies fans with good and good-for-you eats and drinks at Coors Field and other Major League Baseball stadiums. Last year, its new menu hit it out of the ballpark, with Colorado Brisket Melt (chopped brisket mixed with sautéed onions and bacon and topped with white American cheese) and Spicy Chicken Sandwich (fresh grilled marinated chicken breast topped with pepper jack cheese, fried jalapeños, Sriracha aioli, lettuce and tomato on jalapeño cheddar bread).
Some dishes from last year are still in the lineup, joined by some new surprises.
"Our culinary team works tirelessly to create menu items that are on trend and full of variety and local flavors," said Aramark spokesman Erin Noss.
Even those who keep their diet "clean" and eat only healthy foods can find some grub. Check out the "Healthy for Life 20 by 20" section of the menus.
"This option reflects Aramark's commitment to giving fans a greater variety, choice and access to healthier menu options," Noss said. "At Coors Field, there are two locations that offer fresh-made salads with a variety of toppings and dressings, veggie dogs and veggie burgers."
But if you're an old-schooler when it comes to game-day noshing, don't let all this culinary-speak worry you.
"While we are excited to introduce new items each season, guests will still find the fan favorites they love around the ballpark," Noss said.
And that's just fine with Mike Boyle, host of the Restaurant Show and a huge Rockies fan.
"I spent my formative baseball years at Dodger Stadium eating Grilled Dodger Dogs, with mustard and chopped, raw onions," he said. "Old habits, like old memories, die hard.
"As much as I appreciate Aramark's efforts to expand their culinary offerings, give me a grilled Coors Field hot dog with mustard (everybody knows you do not put ketchup on a hot dog), raw onions, a bag of salted peanuts, and plenty of cold Coors Light. Give me all that, and heaven can wait."
With apologies to Boyle, here's what's in store this year at Coors Field. Peek at some of these distinctive, mouthwatering and purple dishes:
- Chicken & Purple Slaw Taco Trio: chicken topped with salsa verde and purple slaw in flour tortillas.
- Triple Play Dog: an "extreme dog" topped with Carolina-style pulled pork, crumbled bacon bits and purple slaw.
- Rocky Mountain Po'boy: Rocky Mountain oysters (not oysters at all, as Coloradans know) topped with garlic slaw, guacamole, green chili ranch, pico de gallo and cotija cheese, on a po'boy roll.
- Taco Club: taco-seasoned ground beef topped with melted cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, fried jalapeños and a drizzle of avocado sour cream piled on a flour tortilla (or toast as in photo).
- Mile High Mac-N-Cheese: green chili mac 'n cheese topped with crumbled chorizo and pico de gallo.
- Rockies Fritters: purple berries folded into fritter batter and fried (like doughnuts) covered in a sweet rum glaze and dotted with purple and silver candy pearls.
So set your stadium food game plan in motion. Then get your vocal cords in gear to root, root, root for the home team.