April 22nd, 2015

Food Mash-Up: Ballpark Edition

Posted in New Foods and Flavors, Trends

With the recent opener for the baseball season, ball parks around the country are debuting new food items to entice game goers to their stands. Many baseball parks take inspiration from the food at state fairs, often a great source of trending ideas for development chefs. In an anything goes climate, it pays to take note of the food being served in these venues as they appeal to the mainstream flavor-wise with fun and interesting forms.

Miller’s Park: Inside the Park Nachos

Miller’s Park is the home to the Milwaukee Brewers and the Inside the Park Nachos is perfectly named. Not only does it have a catchy tag, it’s an innovative twist on the classic Nachos. Start with a taco meat burger link crusted with Doritos and drizzled with cheese sauce and sour cream. It’s served with a side of salsa. Easy to eat and portable, the dish made its debut this year.











(Photo: Courtesy of Yahoo Sports)


Chase Field: Churro Dog

Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, announced it would start selling this dessert mash-up at the beginning of the 2015 season. For the mere calorie count of 1,117 calories you, too, can enjoy this decadent and over the top dessert. It features a cinnamon churro nestled inside a chocolate glazed Long John. From there, it’s loaded with toppings, including frozen yogurt, caramel and chocolate sauce. It just may be the craziest dessert to show up at a ball park yet.











(Arizona Diamondbacks photo, via Twitter)


 New York’s Citi Field: S’Mores Bacon

The New York Mets are serving a mash-up on a stick, consisting of bacon that is coated in chocolate, graham cracker coating and marshmallows. All my favorite foods in one place, I say let me at it!
















(@AramarkSports, Twitter)


Fifth Third Ball Park: Pretzel-Breaded Italian Sausage

I can’t help but think this one would be perfect on a stick with some whole-grain mustard.  I have to admit, the idea of a pretzel coated sausage excites me. It’s served on a submarine roll and is definitely a new twist on the sausage and hot dog items you typically see at a ballpark.









(Cory Morse | MLive.com)


Houston’s Minute Maid Park: Chicken and Waffle Cone

Houston Astros’ fans can treat themselves to classic chicken and waffles in a convenient cone form. Filled with creamy mashed potatoes and fried chicken, the waffle cone is drizzled with honey mustard.










(Photo Credit: Twitter.com/darrenrovell)


Tampa Bay Tropicana Field: Mac Bat

Here’s another cone idea, but this time it’s a bread cone.  Portable and comforting, it combines ground beef, bacon, jalapenos, and creamy mac n’ cheese. I just hope I don’t fall asleep after I eat it.










(Photos courtesy Tampa Bay Rays)


Frawley Stadium:  Krispy Kreme Doughnut Hot Dog

At The Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Krispy Kreme Hot Dog is an exclusive. You won’t see it at a Krispy Kreme near you! It’s a Krispy Kreme Bun split, and stuffed with a hot dog, bacon and raspberry jelly.










(Photo courtesy Wilmington Blue Rocks))


Fox Cities Stadium: The Big Mother Funnel Burger

Minor league team, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, has big league taste! Two powdered-sugar dusted funnel cakes sandwich a bacon cheeseburger with all of the fixings. Its dinner and dessert all in one.










(@ChefTimHansen, Twitter)


Well, I think it’s time to get in the kitchen and whip up some crazy mash-up for dinner. I know I am inspired by these over the top but fun dishes. I hope you are too!

April 6th, 2015

Bufalina – Austin Restaurant of the Month

Posted in New Foods and Flavors, Pizza, Restaurants









Helmed by Steve Dilley, Bufalina showcases the best Neapolitan Pizza that Austin has to offer. Fondly dubbed “the Aaron Franklin of Pizza”, he is a former financial trader who made the jump to pizza. His background includes a stint at the prestigious Vera Pizza Napoletana in Naples in 2010, as well as a brief stint at Pizzeria D’Atitilio, which opened in 1937.

The two year project to build out Bufalina included bringing in an authentic Stefan Ferrara oven brought all the way from Italy. And it is a sure thing of beauty:












The atmosphere is cozy and lit with candles. The majority of the seating is picnic-style with long communal tables. Overall, the interior, while understated, is comfortable.










The pizzeria prides itself on more than just its pizza offerings though. The hand-pulled Mozzarella is made with curd from local dairies (or is brought from New Jersey when local milk is not available). Our plate featured a tomato relish with capers, fresh basil, and a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper. Overall, the plate was well balanced.












Bufalina also offers a daily pasta special. The featured pasta was actually quite lovely. The tagliatelle was rich with egg yolks and reminded me of the pasta my grandma used to make by hand when I was little. It was topped with pulled pork and braised chard with a ladle of duck jus over the top. I rather enjoyed this dish, as it really took me back to grandma’s homemade noodle soup, where everything came from the farm. Definitely memorable, especially since it is rare to see freshly made pasta on a menu in Austin.











Next on the menu was the Calabrese pizza, which was topped with a light tomato sauce, slightly spicy salami, roasted red peppers and fresh Mozzarella. The dough was well fermented and the pizza had the signature charred crust we come to expect from Napoletana-style pizza. Overall, this was a decent pizza, but the flavors could have been amped up a little (think Calabrian peppers instead and some intense garlic notes).

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The Brussels sprout pizza was next up. It featured sliced Brussels sprouts, serrano peppers and chopped ham. This was my favorite dish by far, but I am probably slightly biased since I happen to love Brussels sprouts. There was a nice char on the Brussels, and the touch of heat from the serrano peppers balanced the salty sweetness of the ham quite well.

brusselssproutpizza (1024x913)











For dessert we chose the orange olive oil cake with coffee ice cream. The cake had a nice crumb, somewhere between a pound cake and a scone, with rich olive oil notes and a touch of orange.  The coffee ice cream played unexpectedly well with these flavors.

oliveoilcake (756x800)












And one last thing if you want to try this cozy little pizza place: get there early. They fill up fast, and they do not take reservations for parties under eight people. We dined right when they opened, and I am glad we did! The line to wait got pretty long pretty quick, with waits over two hours, and that was within 45 minutes of arriving.