A new trend in sports stadiums around North America is to diversify – people are looking, apparently, for different fare than the usual hot dogs and pretzels. I was impressed by the Amway Arena in Orlando.
So the Rogers Stadium has come to an agreement with Aramark to do just that. So you can now find on the main concourse a very different selection, like the Muddy York Market in section 109, which is based on a “fresh market” concept showcasing fare from different Toronto communities, such as gyros and souvlakis, satays, kung pao wraps, salads, Mediterranean meze and sushi. Who the hell wants to eat sushi while watching baseball?
There is also a Carvery station in section 122 – hot turkey or “Keith’s Red” roasted beef sandwiches, this is the place to go if you like to pile it high, in bread, in meat and in dough.
Pizza Pizza also opened a counter in section 134. It allows you to bring back a full pizza to your seat. The selection is limited, and it is Pizza Pizza, but if that’s what you are craving, worse does exist.
The Baker’s Deli in section 125 serves a selection of sandwiches on different breads, such as ciabatta, pumpernickel or rye, with different meats, such as corned beef, pastrami or smoked meat. Pickles, coleslaw or potato salad available on the side.
But what I really wanted to try was the Quaker Steak & Lube in section 134. During a game, you could be a lucky fan and get a bucket of wings delivered to your seat! But luck is a tough thing to wait for when you are hungry, and hungry I was.
So I made my way slowly to the counter, peering at the game from the open concourse all the way. Melissa had asked me to bring her something non-meaty, which I thought was a little weird, but I am not the arguing type. Thankfully, the Quaker Steak & Lube offered some vegetarian options, including the basket of onion rings. Perfect for her, I thought.
However, this was a bit disappointing. Thick rings of onion, they were crisp but not overcooked, and they tasted great. But for 6$, there was only 8 rings in the basket. That ain’t cheap.
The wings looked great. Busy people in the kitchen were tossing them in the different sauces and seasonings available. They were being offered in three sizes : single order, half a bucket or a full bucket. I asked how many wings were in a half-bucket, and was told 25, so I thought this would be just perfect, and for 21$, it is a deal at the Rogers Stadium – a price not unlike what you would pay for wings in the outside world. There was a lot of flavours available, and I hesitated a bit. Louisiana Lickers sounded tempting, but the manager corrected the cashier when I asked if they were spicy – apparently, not so much. I asked him about the BBQ Chipotle since she didn’t seem to know what she was talking about, and he pointed out that this was a dust as opposed to a sauce, and that it did have some kick. Sold!
I was pleasantly surprised. The wings were warm throughout, they were meaty, they were tender, they were well cooked, they were fully seasonned, they were simply great. The chicken was of a good quality – it was impressive. In a stadium, you never know what you can end up with, but these wings were just the right size.
The spices were raw, and by that I mean that the chicken is not cooked with them, the spices are added after the wings are cooked. Same goes for the sauces, and it is in fact the case in most places. Their melange was quite salty, and the overall flavor reminded me of the old style Lays Chips BBQ flavor, with more punch and a hint of chipotle. The chipotle was much more present in the aroma then in the taste, but I didn’t mind – when overpowering, you can grow tired quickly of chipotle.
I shared a few wings with my seatmates, but I still ended up quite full at the end of the bucket. There were 19 wings in the half-bucket, less then promised, but at about 1$ a wing, it is still a valuable purchase at the Rogers Stadium.
The game went on and on, all the way to the 12th inning – Lyle Overbay hitting a 2 run walk-off homerun to give the contest to the Jays, leaving us full and satisfied.