Meet The New 16-Inch, $21 Hot Dog At Dodger Stadium
Dodger Stadium has two new hot dogs and one of them is so large and power-packed, you'll think it's Cody Bellinger's bat.
Every year, the venue reconsiders its menu, removing items that didn't sell well and swapping out offerings to give hungry fans something new to chew on. But it's tough to make everyone happy.
"You're not going to please everybody. The hardest part is accepting that," says Los Angeles Dodgers executive chef Ryan Evans. "But I do really listen to the fanbase. We brought tacos back this year. We added a burrito this year, chicken options, more plant-based and vegetarian options."
For the 2019 baseball season, the Dodgers menu runs the gamut from insanely gluttonous to satisfyingly healthyish. Vegetarians, you've got options too. Vegans, you'll have to wait a little longer.
Many of these options are only available in certain areas of Dodger Stadium. Why? We have no idea.
First up, the 747 of stadium hot dogs, an item that did so well when the team experimented with it during last year's post-season, they brought it back.
Measuring 16.5 inches, the Going Yard requires two hands to carry and probably two stomachs to digest — although that depends on how hungry you are. It's so large, it extends several inches past the bun on both sides. Charred on a grill (at least the one we tried was) instead of being warmed under a heat lamp, the jalapeño cheddar sausage is heaped with corn, grilled onions and avocado then drizzled with sour cream. It's a hot, meaty, drippy mess to eat and we mean that as a complement. ($21. Find it in sections Field 10, Loge 133 and Reserve 4. 21.00.)
It's a showstopper but we prefer the new "Dodger Sausage," which clocks in at a more manageable eight inches. (The Dodger Dog is 12 inches, by comparison.) Seasoned with al pastor spices, the sausage has pineapple chunks in the grind, paying homage to the ring of pineapple ring you'll see on top of the trompo that some taqueros use. The grilled al pastor dog is dressed with pineapple salsa and a cilantro-lime crema. ($12.50. Available in sections Field 10, Loge 133, and Reserve 4.12.50.)
What should you eat with either of these hot dogs? A bowl of esquites, another returning player from last year's post-season. Dodger Stadium isn't the first local sporting venue to put street corn in a bowl but it tastes damn good topped with spicy mayo, cheese and Tajin. ($9. Available in sections Field 22 and 23, and Top Deck 6. 9.00.)
For vegetarians, Dodger Stadium is now serving a Beyond Meat Burger. The plant-based patty has a strange, soft, spongey texture but that's probably because we're used to beef (and no, we don't customarily get our burgers well done). It's served with herb mayo, lettuce, tomato and onions on a brioche bun. The burger has some animal products in it so it isn't vegan but chef Evans tells us he's working on offering a vegan option, maybe next season. ($14. Available in 14.00 Field Section 47 and Reserve section 29.)
Last season's poke bowl is gone but it has been replaced by a California roll bowl made with imitation crab, sriracha aioli, edamame, carrots and cucumbers on a bed of sushi rice. (Available in 15.00 Field section 45)
Other new options include a pollo asado bowl (available in Loge 137 and Reserve sections 23 and 24. 13.00), a plate of four chicken or beef tacos (18.00 Field section 10 and Reserve section 13) and a romaine and spinach salad with cucumbers, radishes, feta cheese, either pecans or walnuts and a creamy mint dressing (10.50 Field section 5, Loge section 132 and Reserve section 10).
Evans has to balance a bunch of challenges whenever he adds an item to the menu. It needs to be something fans can carry to and eat in their seats. It needs to be possible to make in the stadium's kitchens, which aren't like the kitchens of newly built venues. And it needs to reflect the city.
"I love all the different ethnicities in this town and there really isn't any cuisine that we couldn't do here that wouldn't reflect one area or one district of Los Angeles. But when it comes down to Mexican-American culture, how do you bring that to a ballpark that's built in the middle of Echo Park? I think that's always been my goal when I took over here," he says.
Despite the culinary innovations and switcheroos, Evans says one item reigns supreme and outsells everything else at the stadium: the Dodger Dog.
"I like the fancy food, I like to make the fancy food and I like to see people enjoy it," he says, "but there's a lot of purists and they just want the Dodger Dog and a soda."