For many attendees, a trip to a baseball game is as much about the snacks as it is about the score. No longer limited to peanuts and popcorn, today’s fans have a diverse range of options — especially at loanDepot Park, home to the Miami Marlins.
I recently headed out to a game, not only to check out the team but to also try out some of the latest and greatest food offerings. Below, my ranking of the stadium’s five buzziest snacks.
5. Strawberry Shortcake Bao Buns (The Change Up – Section 1)
I love a good food mashup, and the strawberry shortcake bao buns from The Change Up, a chef-curated outpost with a rotating menu, were head-turners: Turns out that perching slices of strawberry shortcake on bao buns will invite quite a few stares. Two different things were happening with this snack, and like Pippen and Jordan, these two elements weren’t really talking to each other. The strawberry shortcake was perfectly moist and the whipped cream and strawberries were decadent, but it was impractical to fold the cake between the bao buns. My advice: Order the dessert for the strawberry shortcake, and consider the bao buns a mostly unnecessary sidekick.
4. Cubano Gigante (Goya Stand – Section 40)
The newest item at the park, the Cubana Gigante is not for the faint of heart. Each sandwich takes about 30-40 minutes to prepare, and only a limited number of these are made per game — my advice is to order as soon as you get to the park. Now for the sandwich itself: It measures roughly 34 inches and weighs three pounds, with enough to feed 4 to 8 people. As far as Cuban sandwiches go, it’s got all the right elements: roasted mojo pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. The sandwich was a win for me — quite flavorful — but there was so much of it. Go for it if you’re attending a game with a large group or plan on taking leftovers with you.
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3. Steak Nachos (Novecento – Section 23)
Ballpark nachos can be hit or miss: Too much cheese, and the nachos become a cheesy swamp, too few toppings and you’re eating dry chips. Fortunately, the steak nachos from Novocento, a Brickell-based Argentinian restaurant, had a lot of good things going for them. The steak on the nachos was done well, and the meat was tender and well-seasoned without being too salty. The fresh tortilla chips had a satisfying crunch, and the mozzarella and chopped tomatoes added a savory touch. My only (tiny) critique was that the tortilla chips needed a little bit more mozzarella, which would have taken this dish over the top.
2. Goya Sazon Dog (Top Dog – Section 4)
The hot dog is a classic ballpark menu item, and some purists will say that the only topping a hot dog needs is a single squeeze of mustard. I disagree. Case in point: The Goya Sazon Dog from Top Dog is a tasty Miami take on the classic hot dog, and when we sampled it, the snack was brimming with toppings and flavor. The juicy frank was nestled in a sweet brioche bun and topped with onions, pineapple and crispy potatoes, giving each bite a mix of sweet and savory flavor. Despite all the toppings, the hot dog also held together very well, even during my emphatic participation in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th-inning stretch.
1. Buffalo Chicken Taco (Naked Taco – Section 8)
Naked Taco is one of the latest additions to the food promenade, and their tacos did not disappoint. I ordered two popular flavors: the Buffalo Chicken (my choice of the two) and the Philly. The Buffalo Chicken taco had the perfect blend of crunch, with spicy fried chunks of chicken, chopped celery and carrots; it was also topped with blue cheese crumbles. The Philly taco, a take on the Philly cheesesteak, included seasoned ground beef, shredded mozzarella cheese and sliced green onions. Though tasty, the Philly was a bit messy (the ground beef oozed out of the tortilla too easily), but the Buffalo Chicken taco held together quite well — and so takes the top spot.