Baseball season is nearly upon us! Root, root, root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame, etc. But don’t bother with the peanuts and Cracker Jacks, because ballpark cuisine—especially in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers (who definitely do not play in Dallas)—is significantly more advanced than that. And by “advanced,” we mostly mean, “likely to kill you dead of a heart attack before the seventh inning stretch,” because the new menu items being served up at Globe Life Park are intense, y’all. They’re meaty as hell—except for the ones made with no animal products at all at the park’s new vegan stand.
It wasn’t really a surprise when the Portland Trailblazers added vegan options to their arena, because as anyone who’s ever seen Portlandia knows, it’s a make-believe place where everyone is a cartoon character. It’s more surprising that you can get hot dogs there, frankly. But this is Tarrant County, a place known for Cowtown and beef, that’s now serving up snacks at a stand known as “Ballpark Vegan” over in section 16. While there’ve always been things that vegans could eat at Globe Life Park—peanuts are vegan, after all, but not Cracker Jacks—a vendor whose entire menu is animal-free is a bold switch.
According to the website VeggieHappy, which helps vegans find dietary-compatible options in unexpected places, they’ll be serving up “Shake It Up Salads”—garden salads in a cup that you can add dressing to, then shake to ensure that everything is evenly coated in cruelty-free vinaigrette—black bean burgers, vegan hot dogs and nachos, veggie wraps with fake chicken, vegan chili (this is still Texas), vegan jerky (which the site describes as “primal strips of meatless vegan jerky,” whatever that means), as well as hummus and more traditional ballpark fare like pretzels and fruit and veggie cups.
That’s cool. Whatever your personal dietary preferences regarding meat and veganism may be (and as a publication with a barbecue editor on staff, we’re hardly going to get self-righteous on that front), there’s room for all kinds in a 50,000-person stadium. A lone cart where meat is not available isn’t going to kill anybody—especially when there are other parts of the park that will be serving up just so much meat.
How much meat, you ask? Can your heart handle reading this description of the Wicked Pig? It’s a double-decker sandwich on a sweet Hawaiian roll bun that features pulled pork, bacon, sausage, ham, prosciutto, and pork rinds, in case you love pork products so much that you want to eat all of them, in all of their delicious forms, at the same time. (Also, there’s coleslaw on the sandwich, because veggies are important.) That ridiculous sandwich is available in section 49, and hopefully that is far away from where you’ll be sitting, so if you plunk down $27 for a Wicked Pig you’ll at least have the opportunity to walk it off.
“But wait,” you say, “I love ridiculous foodstuffs, but $27 is a lot of money for a sandwich that will probably kill me before I finish it. Are there options for me that still sound like they were assembled through a game of Madlibs, that are only pretty ridiculous instead of truly insane?” Worry not, friend, the answer to your latest query is “Yup!” Howzabout a Chicken & Donut Skewer? Those are three different nouns, plus an ampersand, that can be combined and served to a human being! Here, you get boneless buffalo chicken wings, adjacent to little powdered sugar-dusted donut hole, for an entire 12 inches of non-sequitur foodstuffs. At a dollar an inch, in Section 50, it’s practically a bargain.
If all of that sounds well and good, but you’re such a beef-lover that pork and chicken might as well be vegan fare, fear not: Let’s meet the “Homerun Cheeseburger,” which cuts the froufrou in favor of something more elemental: It’s just a cheeseburger the way that Jimmy Buffett might have sang about it (lettuce, tomato, red onions, a pickle spear, and waffle fries, according to the brave DFW.com writer who sampled it), but this friggin’ thing is a literal homerun, as in it covers all the bases, as in—in case our baseball metaphors aren’t working for you—there are four beef patties on this honking cheeseburger. It’s only $16.50, too, which amortizes out to just over $4 per patty, so you might as well eat two.
The list goes on and on. We could be here all day, describing ridiculous foodstuffs for you. Casey Rapp, the stadium’s general manager, told GuideLive.com that the plan this year was “let’s go wacky, let’s go crazy.” You’ll tire of reading about them at some point, ashamed of the gluttony of America and trying to parse a dynamic that includes watching physically fit sportsmen (I mean, reasonably so—they’re just baseball players, though) perform feats of athleticism* (asterisk, again, for baseball) while the people in attendance gorge themselves on products that are an eerie combination of “food” and “science.”
Before we go, though, check out this perfect encapsulation of that food-science deal: The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Dog, which aims to be to hot dogs what the Doritos Locos taco is to tacos—an unholy, yet somehow perfect, melding of two arcane arts that fills consumers with both joy (it probably tastes good) and unease (it’s not of this earth!). The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Dog is an all-beef hot dog topped with nacho cheese that’s infused with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, then sprinkled with those self-same snack products atop for additional crunch and “atomic kick,” according to press notes. So in case you were wondering: Globe Life Park is both catering to vegans this year, and offering meat-eaters plenty of dining options that insult their very existence. Take us out to the ballgame!