bac·cha·nal / bäknäl, baknäl, bakenl/ 1. an occasion of wild and drunken revelry. “the debauched and alcoholic president was said to be organizing unceasing bacchanals” 2. a priest, worshiper, or follower of Bacchus/www.MeetTheMatts.com
BRONX, NY – You know what I always enjoy on this site? It’s when we veer drastically off-topic and start talking about movies or 1970s TV shows or anything else that ain’t exactly sports. One of my favorite things is hearing what my pals JG Clancy and Cheesy Bruin either just finished eating or have coming up on the menu. Food is a great uniter, both in sitting down at a table and having a meal with friends or family and just generally seeing it, smelling it, and talking about it. If I have a great sandwich or meal somewhere, I always want to share that news with someone so that they can enjoy it as well. Speaking of which, a few weeks back I had a great sandwich from this little deli named Rocky’s in Millwood, NY. It was bacon, egg and cheese on a roll with a chicken cutlet, and now I never want a bacon, egg, and cheese without a chicken cutlet. Food plays a role in sports, too. I swear. Let’s serve it up!
Hot Dogs. No other food item is more ingrained in the American sports landscape than the hot dog. Vendors hawk them at every ballpark and arena, beer-bellied tailgating enthusiasts grill them in the freezing cold outside football stadiums, and they’re even shot of guns to ravenous fans. What other food would you eat launched out of an air rifle?
My personal favorite hot dog moment was attending a Columbia University football game with my Dad and Brother a million years ago. Back then student vendors would sell aluminum-foil-wrapped franks in the rickety wooden stands to people starved for food and anything resembling real football. Anyway, end of one game they were trying to get rid of their wiener surplus, so one vendor cut the price to 5-cents a dog. My Dad flagged the kid down, pulled out a $1 bill and said “I’ll take 20.” He then looked right at me and my brother and said, “Don’t tell your mother.” The man couldn’t resist a good deal.
Pizza. For some reason I don’t really think pizza lends itself to sporting events, even though it’s kinda engineered for it. When I see someone with a slice at a ballgame it looks odd to me. The one exception to this rule was when they sold single slice rectangular Ellio’s Pizza slices at Yankee Stadium back in the late 1970s-early ’80s. Those were awesome. The day they stopped selling those was a sad one indeed.
Wrigley Rooftop Dining. I think my favorite baseball stadium remains Wrigley Field in Chicago. Haven’t been in a while, but the last time my friends and I ventured out there, we took in one game in “The Friendly Confines” and another at an establishment just across the street from the stadium’s right field bleachers. I was against it at first, but it turned out to be pretty damn good. $90 got you in, all the hot dogs, brats, Italian beef sandwiches and other Chi-Town delicacies you could eat and late-game unlimited ice cream as well. It was basically watching a baseball game from a roof deck party. A much better experience than I was expecting.
Mr. Yoshida’s. I have no idea what’s in Mr. Yoshida’s marinade/sauce, but you could put this crap on anything and make it taste better. For years, before I finally surrendered my season tickets, I attended many a New York Football Giants tailgate party. The guys that ran the one that I went to were big on Mr. Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauce. They used it as a dipping complement to chopped up kielbasa, sliced steak, you name it. I think I heard that one of the guys demanded it be served during cocktail hour at his wedding reception or something. So good was this stuff that it actually made some of my last few live Giants games palatable.
OK, I’m off to eat some garbage for dinner; Ellio’s probably. Old habits die hard. Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who’s probably cooking up a post-mortem on the Yankees season. Better that than more inedible Knicks leftovers.