CINCINNATI -- Graeter’s, Keystone Bar & Grill and taco hot dogs ... oh, my.
After sampling these Wednesday during the Reds' tasting of new food at Great American Ball Park, I strongly recommend fans treat home games this season as diet-cheat days.
Here are nine reasons why you will want to up your caloric intake.
Keystone Bar & Grill
On Opening Day, Keystone will start selling two varieties of its delicious macaroni and cheese at the ballpark. On the menu: Keystone’s gooey, classic mac and cheese and its bacon mac and cheese, which includes barbecue chicken and bacon. You can find Keystone’s concession stand in the first base concourse of the park.
Cincinnati’s beloved French pot ice cream will be available at the ballpark starting on May 1. The Graeter’s shop will be located along the third-base line in Gapper Alley. Just imagine savoring a scoop of raspberry chocolate chip during a hot summer day.
Porkopolis Specialty Dogs
Not only is the Queen City synonymous with baseball, it has a pretty strong affiliation with pork, too. So, these four new deluxe hot dogs make perfect sense. The Gator Dog has cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and a pickle; the Nacho Dog is covered in nacho cheese, salsa, tortilla chip crumbs and jalapenos; and the Reuben Dog comes with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing.
My personal favorite: the Taco Dog, topped with beef, cheddar, lettuce, pico de gallo and hot sauce. You can never go wrong with a double meat dish.
The Cherry Drizzle Chicken Basket
I don’t know who came up with this concession item, but I want to thank them. The basket features a layer of powdered-sugar-and-cherry-drizzle-covered funnel cake fries heaped on top of chicken tenders. (Think wistfully about the best church festival or county fair that you’ve ever gone to while eating it.)
The Buffalo Chicken Fry Box
This year’s Fry Box takes things to a whole new level. Rather than simply putting Buffalo chicken in a box with fries, ballpark chefs put the tangy chicken on top of an enormous baked potato with toppings.
A single Fry Box might actually feed a family of four.
The Pulled Pork Flatbread
This new concession offering is kind of like a seventh-inning stretch for foodies wanting to pace themselves. It consists of pulled pork, coleslaw and maple hot sauce on grilled flatbread.
It’s rather light and savory compared to the aforementioned 10-pound potato.
Laura’s Lean Beef Banh Mi Sandwich
Sticking with healthier food options? Laura’s Lean Beef Banh Mi is a must try. This sandwich holds sliced beef, Daikon (a winter radish), carrots, cilantro, cabbage and pickled cucumbers and is topped with fried wontons and yogurt sauce.
OK, maybe the Bahn Mi isn’t that healthy, but the mix of flavors and textures is so delicious. The sandwiches will be sold at the Teppanyaki Grill, located near the Brewery District bar on the third-base concourse.
The Food Bar Sandwiches
The Food Bar is serving three new handhelds this year worth every bite. Try the grilled Queen City hot ham sandwich topped with pineapple slices and cherry drizzle; the Queen City bockwurst sandwich topped with sauerkraut, peppers and onions on a pretzel roll; or my favorite, the goetta reuben burger, which is covered in sauerkraut, Swiss and Thousand Island Dressing.
The Bloody Mary
You’ll probably need something to wash all that food down with, and the Reds covered all the bases this season with a fantastic new Bloody Mary. The ballpark’s take on this classic includes Tito’s Handmade Vodka and house mix, garnished with a celery stalk and a beef or pepper stick. The drink is also team color correct. Go Reds!