Tag Archives: baseball

Opening Day concessions

Not Just Peanuts and Cracker Jacks: Baseball Teams Introduce Unique New Concession Items for 2014

It’s Opening Week for Major League Baseball, a time when fans feel a new sense of hope and optimism that this year will be the year for their favorite team. As exciting as it is to hear the crack of the bat again, for a foodie like myself, it’s just as exciting to see what new items are being offered at the concession stand! While the classic hot dog, beer and peanuts will always be a ballpark staple, a recent trend has seen teams introduce unique and sometimes extreme concession offerings to their customers. This year will test the stomachs, as well as the wallets, of the curious fan.

Hot Dogs

It’s hard to go wrong with the classic stadium hot dog. A little mustard, some relish and you’re set! If classic is too simple for you, have no fear — there is no shortage of dynamic hot dog options being offered this year.

In Detroit, the Tigers are offering several new twists on the original. The Poutine Dog is topped with fries, cheese curds and gravy. Another option is the Late Night Dog, topped with a fried egg, cheddar cheese and bacon. Cardiologist appointment not included.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are upping the ante this year by unleashing two monstrous wieners. The Venom Dog is a foot-long habanero sausage topped with black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream, and will run you $10. If you consider that a kid’s-size portion, then you should try the D-Bat, an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapenos and bacon, served with fries. This behemoth is a whopping $25, so only serious appetites need apply.

Sandwiches and More

Of course, if hot dogs aren’t your thing, there are plenty more choices out there. The Pittsburgh Pirates are serving up “The Closer,” a double decker grilled cheese sandwich with nine, count ‘em, NINE–types of cheese and finished with candied bacon!

Out to prove that things are bigger in Texas, the Rangers introduced the Choomongous, named after their outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. This Asian beef sandwich is topped with spicy slaw. No big deal, right? Did I forget to mention that is two feet long? You’ll want to bring some friends to share!

In Cincinnati, the Reds are challenging fans to take on their new sandwich, simply called “The Bacon.” This porcine delight features a one pound slab of bacon topped with shredded lettuce, tomato and black pepper mayo, served with chips, half a pickle and potato salad. Anyone brave enough can try the “Bacon Challenge.” All they have to do is eat four “Bacon” sandwiches, with all the accoutrements, in one inning. Do so, and all four sandwiches are free, and the winner gets a t-shirt that says, “I Conquered the Bacon Challenge.” Fail, and leave with a lighter wallet and a lifetime of regret.

Ice Cream, Anyone?

Sitting through a three hour game in the middle of summer can be tough without something to cool you down. The Chicago White Sox have you and your family covered, as they introduce a Banana Split Sundae Helmet. Served in an actual-size baseball helmet, this whopper includes 12 scoops of ice cream and weighs in at a belt-busting THREE pounds!

Meanwhile, the minor-league Akron RubberDucks are catering to the over-21 crowd with the 32 ounce “Ugly Duckling.” 16 ounces of Irish stout beer are poured over three large scoops of vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate syrup and chocolate sprinkles.

Concession Equipment

If you are a concessionaire, shop Central for all of your concession equipment needs. Whether you’re serving the classics, or something a little more daring, Central has you covered. Check out our assortment here.

Video Tuesday: Vollrath Insulated Colored Serving Bowls

Earlier this year, Vollrath took a trip to the Sheboygan A’s ballpark to show just how tough the latest coating they developed really is.  Check out this video to see what happens (or what doesn’t happen) when two baseball players have some fun with Vollrath’s insulated serving bowls.

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: 4/2-4/6

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for
April 2-6.

Food Allergies in American Children on the Rise
From Family Practice News, Read Article

Over the last few years there has been more awareness for food allergies, especially in children.  It’s become a huge issue in schools, but restaurants and foodservices are also taking precautions to accommodate those with allergies.  According to a recent article from Family Practice News, food allergies in children are up 33 percent. These numbers are based from a Centers for Disease Control study of over 90,000 patients.  The article says these numbers could be higher because there is a higher sense of awareness of food allergies and also, more children are being tested.  Read the full article on the Family Practice News website for more statistics from the study.

Burger King Making a Strong Comeback

This week Burger King began their strong comeback and rolled out new menu items which include smoothies, salads, frappes, chicken fingers and snack wraps.  Speaking of the snack wraps, there has been some buzz this week about a pulled commercial they put together with singer Mary J. Blige.  Some say it was pulled because some viewed it as stereotypical.  However, in an article from the Associated Press, they say Burger King actually pulled the commercial due to a licensing issue.  Either way, the video is still floating around on YouTube and they say the video will be back soon.  Check it out, it’s a tune that will stay stuck in your head all day!

Baseball Stadiums Accommodating Those with Peanut Allergies
From Time NewsFeed, Read Article

Extending on the allergy conversation, this week marked the beginning of the 2012 Major League Baseball season.  Some stadiums are doing something a little different this year and are accommodating fans with peanut allergies with some sort of peanut-free zone on specific game days.  In a recent Times article, they say the New York Mets and Yankees are two stadiums that have come up with different variations so those fans with allergies can enjoy a game.  Read the full article on the Times NewsFeed website.

Central’s Spring Blood Drive

Today is Central’s spring blood drive! Many employees have made appointments to raise their sleeve to help those in need.  It’s a great way to get employees involved, so if your business is interested, get in touch with your local blood center and host a drive.  After all, according to the Indiana Blood Center, did you know every two seconds someone needs blood? And one pint of blood can help up to three people? They also say nearly all blood used for transfusion in the United States is drawn from volunteers.  Check back next week to hear how our blood drive went!

Good Friday and Easter Recipes

As this weekend many will be celebrating Easter, here are a few websites with recipes for both today (Good Friday) and Easter.

Lifestyle Food: Easter Good Friday Recipes

Food Network: Celebrate Easter, Recipes and How To

About: Gluten Free Easter Quiche Recipe

Rachel Ray: Easter and Good Friday Recipes

Taste of Home: Easter Recipes


Central’s Week in Brief: September 30

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more. It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1.) Usually when you go to a baseball game, common beverage options are water, soda and beer. Well, it looks like there’s another beverage that’s become quite popular at ballparks–wine! Andrew Shipe of Aramark told the Houston Chronicle, “Five years ago, wine was mostly limited to the premium seats.  But these days, it’s more likely to be on the main concourse.” Read the full story here.

2.) When it comes to advertising, sometimes looking into your company’s archives may hold the key to success, or at least is a good shot! Wendy’s latest marketing campaign answers the 1984 question, “Where’s the beef?” by simply, well, answering it!  “Here it is!” they say.  To address it, Wendy’s has thrown in snippets of the now decades old commercial into new commercials for their line of “Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers.” Check out more information on the New York Times website.

3.) In the last few weeks, a listeria outbreak from cantaloupe has claimed at least 13 lives and has infected over 70 people, according to statistics from the Center for Disease control.  Then just this week, Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. has recalled 131,000 pounds of ground beef under the suspicion it may be contaminated with E. Coli.  An ABC news article reported that so far, no one has reported being ill from the beef  and the recall was voluntary.  With two major recalls, now is a good time to review standards and procedures at your restaurant. Click here to view ABC’s article, which includes tips.

4.) Is your restaurant using social media or mobile apps? At this year’s MUFSO (Multi-Unit Foodservice Operator) conference, which was held September 25-27, NY Times Columnist David Pogue stressed the importance of using these methods of communication.  He noted many restaurants are leery of social media and apps but, “if you use it right, there are some incredible things you can do.” Read the full story here from Nation’s Restaurant News.

5.) Exciting news from Central! We’ve recently rolled out our Monthly Customer Newsletter which includes the latest from our blog, foodservice news, tips, questions, a Twitter topics and more. This month’s @CRPRestaurant Twitter topic is “What is/was your favorite school food and why?” Answer it on Twitter by using the hashtag: #crplunchfaves.  Then enter in #crplunchfaves in Twitter’s search tool to see what others are saying.  Feel free to get creative and dig deep to remember some of the neat things you ate as a kid!  Also, be sure to check out the newsletter here!


Image from MorgueFile

Living with Dietary Restrictions: Gluten-Free

Image from MorgueFileHave you had a sandwich this week for lunch?  If so, it was probably some type of meat and/or veggies inside a nice thick bun or maybe some delicious doughy bread.  Imagine that same sandwich, only take away the bun or bread and you’d be more accurately describing a meal fit for someone who is gluten-free.  Whether you’re gluten-free by choice or necessity, it can put a crimp in your daily diet, but it’s important to know that it doesn’t mean having to do without. Celiac.com says that “at least 1 in 133 Americans” are affected by Celiac Disease.  Wheat allergies are in the top 8 most common food allergies alongside items like peanuts and shellfish.  There are many more suffering with gluten sensitivities.  With this in mind, much of the food industry has begun to turn over a new leaf and started to offer a much broader range of foods and knowledge to ensure safety and variety for those on a gluten-free diet.

What’s the difference between celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies?

“People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients,” is the way Celiac Disease is described by the Mayo Clinic.  While this disease is manageable, if not carefully monitored and properly diagnosed, it could eventually lead to permanent damage to the intestines.  Since this disease is genetic, the American Celiac Disease Alliance encourages, “If someone in your family is diagnosed, it is recommended that first degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) are screened as well. “

Gluten sensitivity, while still painful, poses no long-term physical damage.  Basically, it is an intolerance of the body to digest gluten and while it can cause discomfort in the form of abdominal pain and similar issues, it will not cause any permanent damage and will go away once the gluten is out of the system.

Wheat allergies are more directly associated with a protein found in wheat products, which means it could be possible for sufferers to eat other types of grains.  Like many other allergies the symptoms can range anywhere from mild (an upset stomach) to severe (throat swelling, lowered blood pressure, etc.)

What products should be avoided?

For all three issues you should avoid products containing wheat, rye and barley which includes many types of bread, crackers, pastas, pizza and cookies.   It’s also extremely important to always read food labels to make sure other products don’t contain these ingredients.  According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), “Wheat has been found in some brands of ice cream, marinara sauce, play dough, potato chips, rice cakes, and turkey patties, and at least one brand of hot dogs.”

What are some alternatives?

Recently, more and more items have become gluten-free.  There are now breads, cereals, pizzas and other products certified by the FDA as gluten free.  Two such brands that you may find in your local grocery store are Udi’s which specializes in baked goods and Amy’s which offers everything from frozen pastas to soups (with an extra bonus that all products are either organic or made with organic ingredients).  FAAN also gives the suggestion of using items like rice, corn or potato starch flour when baking as a substitute for wheat flour.                       

Eating Gluten-free on the Go

Although it does take some extra planning, eating gluten-free at your favorite restaurant is a possibility.  As mentioned in our post on dairy-free dining, there are many databases like Allergy Eats and Allerdine which allow you to search for restaurants in your area that take special food safety measures for patrons with food allergies.  There’s also a database specifically for gluten-free eating, Gluten-free-onthego.com, that allows you to search for everything from coffee shops to sit-down restaurants all over the world (recently France, Italy, Spain and Mallorca were added to the search areas).  And in case you’re at the grocery and want to know what’s safe to grab, there are also several apps to get your phone thinking gluten-free such as Gluten Free (for Blackberry) and Gluten Free Ingredients (for Android).

Just as in our previous dairy-free post, it’s extremely important to be aware of the possibility of cross-contamination when eating gluten-free.  The easiest way to do this is simply by keeping an open dialogue between yourself and the wait staff and/or management.  Doing this will give you the ability to ask questions and make an informed decision on whether or not an establishment truly does meet the standards for being gluten-free.  In addition to your own guidelines, an advocacy group for the gluten-free community called Celiebo, has presented a certification program to make sure restaurants are as safe as possible for diners.  In an article from Food Service Central, it says that “The Celiebo certification includes training programs, presentations and educational materials to be posted in kitchens detailing the specifics of gluten-free food preparation and ingredients to avoid. Certified establishments will also receive a window decal that states they are a Celiebo Certified Gluten-Free Restaurant™.”  And while this certification is currently only being used in New York City, it plans to eventually expand.

In the meantime, if you’re on the go and curious as to where it’s safe to eat, you can rest assured that there are many options.  Chains like Cheeseburger in Paradise, Bonefish Grill, and Outback Steakhouse (also Dairy-free friendly) all have a variety of options to keep you safe while letting you enjoy a wide selection.  However, restaurants are not your only gluten-free on-the-go dining option.  If you like sports, you’ll be happy to know that many baseball and football concession stands are also joining in on this dining revolution.  Triumph Dining has some great coverage on dining safe while watching your favorite team including what’s offered at some individual stadiums like Tropicana Field and Busch Stadium.

Delicious Gluten-free recipes to try at home

“Lighter than Air” Chocolate Cake

Zucchini Muffins 

How do you or your family members deal with being gluten free?  Please share your story.