April 25, 2013
At Wrigley: Every season Levy Restaurants, which handles the concessions at Wrigley Field, manages to come up with a few new food items for fans to try. You may have to search a bit for these new items, some of which are available in only one or two spots in the park. The most inventive, if somewhat impractical, newcomer is the Chicken and Waffle Stix, which jams two waffles and three pieces of fried chicken (boneless) on a skewer; it comes with an open cup of bacon-maple dipping sauce and is a challenge to eat neatly; price is $10, or $13.25 if you include the cost of dry-cleaning my sweater.
There's a Chicago Chop Dog ($8.25), a footlong on which the traditional Chicago hot dog components have been chopped into a relish, and the bison dog options expand with the addition of a bison bratwurst ($7.75), which is pretty tasty and single-hand friendly. A hefty pulled-pork sandwich ($7.50) made with Uncle Dougie's BBQ Sauce (a sponsor this year) isn't going to replace your favorite 'cue, but it's decent (it would be more grandstand-friendly if cut in half).
My hands-down (make that hands-up?) favorite is the Sheffield Dip ($11.50), a hearty, two-handed sandwich that's a cross between a French dip sandwich and an Italian beef. The sliced beef is piled high on a crusty Italian roll and topped with provolone cheese; alongside is a wide cup of jus for dipping and a nice pile of excellent fries.
The catch is that the sandwich is available only at the Sheffield Grill (at the right-field extreme of the main concourse) and is so unwieldy you'll want to sit and eat it right there. Luckily, the grill offers a fair amount of seating. — Phil Vettel
At the Cell: The start of a baseball season brings such promise — and for purposes of this Dining section, the promise of new stadium foods beyond peanuts and Cracker Jack. Allegiances aside, U.S. Cellular Field has historically served better food than its North Side counterpart, only because the stadium offers more modern amenities.
In years past, Sox park has included Wow Bao and Smoque BBQ among its vendors. So during the opening-week stand, I spent a game sampling the new menu items at The Cell's 100 and 500 levels. (Didn't try the stadium's more exclusive stadium club and diamond suite levels, which offer an expanded menu.)
At the general-admission levels, new foods include a meatball sandwich (the three balls were meatloaflike in taste and texture), a barbecue pulled pork sandwich (just OK) and the Comiskey Burger, a cheeseburger with a pico de gallo consisting of Chicago hot dog toppings (smart concept, but the poppy seed bun needs to be grilled or steamed). My favorite was the Walking Taco — or, the Frito pie-in-a-bag popular in Ohio and points south. It's a bag of Frito corn chips, with nacho cheese, chili and hot peppers deposited inside the bag and eaten with a fork.
It's a bit hard to find the chili meat, but still it was sloppily enjoyable: cheesy, warm, crunchy, messy but containable. This should be served at every ballpark in America. $4.50, at Sections 110, 164 and 544 at U.S. Cellular Field. — Kevin Pang
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC