Ken Hoffman reveals 19 outrageous new ballpark foods on the menu for Astros opening day

The massive Barbacoa Burger looks to be a hit. Photo by Ken Hoffman

Originally appeared on CultureMap


Nineteen rookies have made the Houston Astros' roster for their home opener on April 2 at Minute Maid Park.

Wait, you thought I meant 19 new players? Nah, that roster was pretty much set with almost every regular back from the 2017 World Series champs.

I'm talking about the menu at concessions stands. Where to start? How about a Three Little Pigs sandwich? This little piggy has slow-smoked pulled pork, spicy Italian sausage, black pepper bacon, cabbage slaw, and golden grain mustard BBQ sauce on a butter-toasted pretzel bun. Confirmed, that's just one sandwich, served at the Brew House Tiers in centerfield. 

Think about a Cinnamon Bun Sundae, with a warm giant cinnamon roll lost under vanilla bean ice cream, whiskey caramel sauce, Bailey’s chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and berries. Most cities have obscenity laws that prohibit this sort of thing. Available at the Brew House Tiers in centerfield.

"Being World Series champions has made it exciting for us," says Mat Drain, the Ayatollah of Aioli for Aramark, which runs the food show at Minute Maid Park. 

"We know we'll see an attendance increase so it energizes our culinary team to get more creative and make sure that we add more variety. Our goal is to improve the fans' experience every year."

The Astros held their annual hot dog and pony show to introduce new menu items to a curious and hungry crowd of media superstars. Watching the media eat makes the food fight scene from Animal House look like a Martha Stewart tea party.

I once got between Chronicle sports writer David Barron and a free cheeseburger. I spent three weeks in the hospital.

The Astros are really pushing the envelope on fan food this season (Cheddar Biscuits with Burnt Ends, seriously?), but the show-stopper is a Loaded BBQ Funnel Cake. It's got pulled pork, chopped beef, smoked sausage, citrus kale black bean slaw, and BBQ sauce on top of a deep-fried funnel cake. It’s available at the Brew House Tiers in centerfield.

Dominic Soucie, Aramark's resident evil genius, gave rise to this trifle.

"I was watching a show called Carnival Eats on the Food Network. Those chefs at state fairs and carnivals are very creative and I thought, 'Why not bring a taste of the carnival to the baseball stadium?' That's how I came up with the Loaded BBQ Funnel Cake. It has all four of the major 'S' food groups: sweet, savory, smoke, and spice."

The slogan for Astros players this year is "Never Settle." Here's a slogan for Astros fans: "Skip Lunch, Come Hungry."

Here’s the rest of the Astros' new menu items for 2018.

Jane Dough Cookie Dough 
Gourmet, edible, small-batch cookie dough. Sections 113, 129, 156 and 427. Also available at the Cookies & Creamery stand behind Section 219 and The Park stand behind 231.

Haute Dog
Foot-long hot dog served on a New England style roll with chopped brisket, bacon, BBQ sauce, and pickles. Served at the Budweiser Brew House in centerfield and the Texas Legends Grill behind Section 231.

Astros Slider Trio
Texas Pulled Pork Cheesesteak, with grilled onions and peppers, topped with queso blanco on a jalapeno cheddar hoagie. Texas Brisket Cheesesteak, with chopped brisket, etc. Hot Dog Sliders, on New England-style rolls. Available behind Section 114.

BBQ Burger
Grill beef patty with onion rings, bacon, jalapeno slaw and BBQ sauce on a Challah bun. Texans Legends Grill behind Section 231.

713 Burger
Nolan Ryan Beef patty on a jalapeno potato roll. Texans Legend Grill behind Section 231.

Taco Trio
Smoked pulled pork with pineapples and salsa verde on flour tortillas. The Taco Trio location behind Section 125.

Loaded Burrito
Choice of beef or chicken fajitas with cilantro lime rice, refried beans, cotija cheese, pico and sour cream crammed into a flour tortilla. HTX MEX behind Section 215.

Loaded Burrito Bowl
Same as the Loaded Burrito above, served in a bowl. HTX MEX behind Section 215.

Loaded Taco Fries
Fresh-cut fries smothered in picadillo, shredded lettuce, queso, olives, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla strips. The Brew House in centerfield.

.45 Express
Nolan Ryan Beef franks slathered with hot Cheetos, green chili queso, tortilla strips, cheese, pico de gallo, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, and cilantro, served on a crisp, corn tortilla inside a flour tortilla. Torchy’s Tacos in centerfield.

Barbacoa Burger
Braised beef, queso, pico de gallo, lettuce, avocado, and sunny side up egg served on a butter-toasted onion roll. Brew House Tiers in centerfield.

Osso Italian Nachos
Crispy pasta chips covered with ground Italian sausage, chopped tomato and formaggio blanco. Osso & Kristalla behind Section 226.

DAT Creole Meat Pie
Louisiana-spiced Akaushi beef with rougaroux sauce in flaky pastry. Osso & Kristalla behind Section 226.

Smoked Sausage and Queso Kolache
Jackson Street BBQ behind Section 124.

Cheddar Biscuit with Burnt Ends
Jackson Street BBQ behind Section 124.

You didn't think I forgot, did you?

The Astros better win on April 2, otherwise they won't be able to sell beer the rest of the year. How come?

Answer: they will have lost the opener.



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Houston has lost seven of eight

Mariners ride big fifth inning to series win over Astros

Jake Odorizzi earned his second loss as an Astro Sunday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

With the losing streak behind them by taking the middle game on Saturday night, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Sunday afternoon to try and make it back-to-back victories to take the series. Instead, they'd suffer their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-8, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ljay Newsome (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-2)

Odorizzi locks in through four while Houston grabs a lead

Jake Odorizzi did not start his afternoon the way he needed to in order to have a good rebound outing compared to his first start. In the 37-pitch first inning, he issued two walks and an RBI-single, putting the Mariners at a significant advantage early. Odorizzi flipped the switch, though, finding a rhythm to retire the next ten batters after that RBI-single to get through four innings with just one run allowed.

Offensively for Houston, they quickly responded to Seattle's run in the first with one of their own in the top of the second, capitalizing on some shoddy defense by Seattle to get Carlos Correa to second to set up an RBI ground-rule double by Aledmys Diaz, tying things up 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when a leadoff walk by Chas McCormick would turn into a run after a stolen base and two sacrifice flys to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

Mariners explode for four in the fifth

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle would explode in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and one-out walk to set up a two-RBI triple by Mitch Haniger to go ahead 3-2. That would prompt Dusty Baker out of the dugout to end Odorizzi's day and move on to Brooks Raley. Raley would not fare any better, giving up a two-run homer to Ty France to extend Seattle's new lead to 5-2. He would finish the inning, putting Odorizzi's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 89 P.

Seattle takes the series

Seattle would strike again in the bottom of the seventh against Joe Smith. After a leadoff walk, the Mariners would get back-to-back one-out RBI-doubles to extend their lead to 7-2. After Smith in the seventh, Peter Solomon would make his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Houston would then come up empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the finale and the series to Seattle.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Denver tonight and get an off day tomorrow. Tuesday night, they'll start a quick two-game set with the Rockies at 7:40 PM Central. Houston currently has Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) penciled in as their starter, but with ongoing illness, he has not yet been fully confirmed. For the Rockies, Jon Gray (1-1, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start.

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