Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sunday Times Does A Ballpark Food Tour, Can’t Help But Love The Offerings At Citizens Bank Park

cheesesteaks at rick's at the citizens bank park, philadelphia phillies, ashburn alleyFormer “$25 And Under” columnist Peter Meehan hits up the New York Times Travel section with a solid piece on ballpark eats.

And Philadelphia deservedly shines.
But the prize for vernacular food probably goes to Citizens Bank Park, the four-year-old home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Most of the action takes place in Ashburn Alley (named for the Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn), a brick promenade behind center field where fans can practically hang over the visitors’ bullpen or dine under the giant Liberty Bell sign that lights up and rocks back and forth when the Phillies hit a home run.

Ashburn Alley is home to hoagies, Chickie & Pete’s crab fries (French fries dusted with Old Bay seasoning) and two of the city’s respected cheese steak purveyors, Rick’s Steaks and Tony Luke’s. Tony Luke’s had the better cheese steak of the two (though their other locations are notably superior). Even better is Tony Luke’s juicy roasted pork and provolone sandwich, dressed with tender broccoli rabe, as good a meat sandwich as there is in the majors.
Seriously. (Phillies, you can pat yourself on the back for recruiting a distinguished crop of local food vendors.)

Meehan was also a big fan of the Schmitter.
Also not to be missed is the Schmitter sandwich from McNally’s, an outpost of an 87-year-old Germantown tavern at the end of Ashburn Alley. It’s not named for the Phillies legend Mike Schmidt, but rather, I was told, after a long-gone McNally’s customer who always ordered it with Schmidt’s Beer, the now-defunct Pennsylvania brand.

The Schmitter packs, from top to bottom: melted cheese, a generous squirt of a “special sauce,” griddled salami, more cheese, sliced tomato, fried onions, griddled steak and another slice of cheese, just to help keep the beef in place. It was the unhealthiest thing I encountered on my cholesterol-gathering trip, an unholy alliance of meats, cheese and mayonnaise tucked into a Kaiser roll. It was also impossible to stop eating after the first bite.
cheesesteaks at citizens bank park, philadelphia philliesIn the interactive features accompanying the article, he had this to say about Tony Luke’s.
The cheese stakes [sic] at Citizens Bank Park may be popular, but they pale in comparison to Tony Luke's juicy roasted pork and provolone sandwich, dressed with tender broccoli rabe.
It’s true.

Related:
Buy Me Some Sushi and Baby Back Ribs [ New York Times ]
Finding the Hits, Avoiding the Errors - A culinary scorecard for all 30 major league baseball stadiums [ New York Times ]

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