By Arturo Ortiz
The infield dust has cleared, the tears have dried. The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers’ 104-win season came with a chintzy runner-up tiara. While we practice saying, “Wait ’til next year,” we’ve decided to think about the only other baseball-related topic that brings us comfort: Dodger Stadium food!
La Vida Baseball made a visit to Chavez Ravine in the waning days of the regular season during Hispanic Heritage Night at the park, an evening the team was playing its SoCal neighbors, the San Diego Padres, so there was a full-on Latino vibe all around and a chance to do some research for this edition of Ballpark Food.
As Dodgers fans filed into the stadium to cheer their playoff-bound team, they were given commemorative T-shirts with the team’s L.A. logo filled in with flags representing Latin American countries. And while players warmed up on the field or signed autographs, smart fans got in line early for some of Major League Baseball’s best stadium food.
Visiting Dodger Stadium for some good baseball is only part of the experience; it also includes indulging in the many food selections available. (And maybe trying to pick out Fernando Valenzuela in his radio booth. And waving.)
No true Dodgers fan or foodie can resist the Latino-inspired cuisine sold at the stadium. The “Dodger Dog,” a longtime staple, can be ordered in any number of ways: plain, grilled, bacon-wrapped — or with a Latino twist: the newly famous “Doyer Dog,” named after the local Spanglish nickname for the boys in blue.
The base of this specialty hot dog is a standard “Farmer John” wiener and steamed bun, but what sets it apart from a regular Dodger Dog is the addition of hot nacho cheese, diced tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños for that extra kick of spiciness. Okay, maybe just the jalapeños make it “Latino,” but who’s arguing? We’re eating, here.
With long lines at the LA Taquería stand at the stadium as a testament to its popularity, another must-have while enjoying the game is the carne asada nachos. This incredible delight consists of a generous serving of crispy tortilla chips smothered in gooey queso goodness, loaded with flavorful carne asada. The carne — flank steak marinated in savory lime juice — adds a kick of tanginess to the mix of regular nacho deliciousness. You get a choice of toppings that includes refried beans, diced tomatoes, onions, sour cream and jalapeños, all perfectly served in a Dodgers helmet to ensure a fiesta for your taste buds. The carne asada nachos are an instant favorite among many baseball fans, regardless of their cultural background.
And like having to decide who your favorite Dodgers pitcher of all time is (Valenzuela? Koufax? Kershaw?), you will have to make the impossible choice between carne asada nachos and carne asada fries. That’s right, all of the above can be had atop a big pile of French fries.
LA Taquería also serves up tacos and churros, so you are basically set.
And for some irresistible elote — grilled corn covered in cotija cheese, mayo, lime and chili powder — check out the Think Blue BBQ on the left field plaza.
And now, what to drink? Try a refreshing michelada. Beware of long lines to get your hands on this beverage. The michelada is carefully crafted by servers who by no means rush the creation of such a masterpiece, so please — pack your patience. And your wallet, because this will set you back $20.
This beverage is a true work of art. You choose which ice-cold beer you’d like as a base (a lager or an amber ale are excellent choices). Next comes tomato cocktail juice or Clamato, a beautiful blend of chili powder around the rim of the souvenir cup, and a finishing touch of lime juice and slices of lime. This is a marvelous 24 ounces of pure refreshing goodness that will put an end to your thirst. Be sure to enjoy this true classic the next time you plan to visit “Blue Heaven on Earth” — mi gente, you will not be disappointed.
The Dodgers treated their fans that day to live music via Banda La Maravillosa – ¡Así de Fácil! The 16-member L.A.-based banda group, all clad in Dodgers jerseys, kicked off its set with El Mariachi Loco, a favorite of Dodgers first baseman Adríán González, before launching into a selection of banda songs and cumbias that got the crowd dancing.
At the end of the set, the group, whose members range in age from 16 to 29, showed their support for young undocumented people in the U.S. by removing their jerseys and sporting t-shirts that displayed the slogan #SOMOSDREAMERS.
The Dodgers recognized their hard-working stadium staff for their work all season. MVP and Rookie of the Year awards were given to ushers, maintenance, security, parking, and food service staff who help create the joyful experience of watching a baseball game at Chavez Ravine.
And the team also celebrated local heroes, such as Pasadena Fire Dept. Captain David Márquez, who helped in rescue efforts in Houston after the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.
In the words of the renowned broadcaster Jaime Jarrín, La voz de los Doyers, “The Dodgers [organization] have distinguished themselves with their respect for our community. The Dodgers inculcate in us to do something for the good of our Hispanic heritage. And for us, it is a great pleasure to witness this celebration. We’re immigrants, we’re here, but we have a very special culture. A beautiful culture. And the Dodgers are ready to show their respect and even try to elevate it.”
The Dodgers went on to beat the Padres, 10-0, to the delight of screaming fans.