Target Field foods 2017: Rating the new ballpark fare

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Tony Nelson

Since christening Target Field in 2010, your Minnesota Twins have enjoyed just two winning seasons. The team bottomed out last year at 59-103 -- the franchise's worst record since 1949 -- and attendance followed suit. 

Baseball competency is an increasingly tough sell, which is why Target Field marketers have wisely shifted focus to the ballpark experience. Namely, stuffing one's face, State Fair-style, with alluring new concession delicacies. On Thursday, the Twins trotted out a preview of 2017's roster of new food prospects. Some items packed Miguel Sano-ish oomph, while others suffered Aaron Hicks-ian fates.

Ahead of Monday's Opening Day contest against the Kansas City Royals, your hometown alt-weekly scarfed 'em all. Because baseball, we rated the edible newbies with our patented Strikeout!, Walk!, Home Run! system. 

Home Run! 

Kramarczuk's Kurd-Marczuk

Arteries, don't fail me now! What red-blooded American could possibly refuse a hedonistic swirl of fried cheese curds, Kramarczuk's polish sausage, and gravy? Lovingly crafted by the meat wizards from Northeast, the smoky sausage pops as your teeth sink into God's favorite cheese. The synergistic experiment in fatty indulgence, of course, is bound together by humble-yet-satisfying brown gravy. Those seeking subtle, intricate flavors, look elsewhere: This baby's all about satisfying your junkiest urges, and it delivers. $9.50/$20, Portable 101

4 Bells' Shrimp Boil

4 Bells, the newish Loring Park restaurant specializing in Southern fare, is a Target Field rookie. Its debut offering arrived with an obvious litmus test: the corn. Far from in-season, the crisp, on-the-cob side dish passed with flying colors. A spicy glaze saturated the rest of the Shrimp Boil, which also boasts fresh-tasting, hearty shrimp, potatoes, and Butcher & the Boar's celebrated sausage. Possible issue: Balancing all these movable parts with a plastic fork and flimsy dish in the stands might be a messy nightmare. $14.50, Portable 114

Andrew Zimmern's Canteen's Skewers

Another winner from our state's leading foodie celeb. The skewers served up by his Canteen enterprise come in three varieties -- Braised Boneless Beef Short Rib, Mediterranean Chicken, and Braised Pork Shoulder. The beefy offering evokes a burritoized high-end gyro, and that's a very good thing. Encased in a flatbread exterior that feels more like a flaky tortilla, the fillings provide a complimentary blend of expertly spiced meat, creamy eggplant spread, spiced yogurt, and diced tomatoes/cucumbers. $14.50, Stand 120

Hot Indian Foods' Chicken Tikka Salad

Just the thought of eating Indian food while baking under the ballpark sun ticks your body temp up a notch. Thankfully, food truck fave Hot Indian Foods arrived at a refreshing salad spin on chicken tikka. Tender chunks of chicken rest atop a bed of leafy greens, with spice-loaded sauce and deep-fried garbanzo beans dancing between both. $12.50, Portable 120

Hrbek's Triple Sausage Sampler Bloody Mary 

The risk here is clear: Garnish gimmickry paving the way for a watery, lifeless bloody. Not the case! Your skewer of Kramarczuk-sourced sausages (brat, Polish, andouille) is a meal unto itself, especially paired with a backup skewer of ol' standbys (cheeses, pickle, olive). A rich, flavorful mix accented by sneaky vodka is your reward once you start drinking. Kent Hrbek throws in a Bud Light beer-back, for good measure. Also available: the pictured mini-burger configuration. $19Hrbek's Pub

The Cookie Cart 

Nonprofit north Minneapolis bakery Cookie Cart teaches teenagers cooking and entrepreneurial skills. And it doesn't just peddle good vibes, as the namesake cookies are legit tasty. $3-$8, Portable 101

Walk! 

 

Barrio's Tacos 

Barrio's racket is selling serviceable, overpriced Mexican to moneyed crowds in downtown Minneapolis and Edina. Its street-style chicken and barbacoa tacos won't offend anyone, but the price tag for a trio of them might. Any number of food trucks provide better eats for less coin. Also available: A burrito. $12, Stands 105 & 305

 

The Herbivorous Butcher's Vegan Italian and Sriracha Sausages

Sure, fine, yeah, whatever. Located in Northeast, the Herbivorous Butcher is doing cool things as the first vegan "butcher shop" in the U.S. Its sausages, on the other hand, taste just as good as any meatless option you'll find in the co-op aisles (Field Roast FTW). The Italian and Sriracha varieties should be agreeable to even the most meat-crazed among us ... when slathered in mustard, tucked in a bakery-fresh bun, and topped with sauteed onions. $12.50, Portable 129

Andrew Zimmern's Canteen's Sloppy Ko

Love Korean BBQ? You'll love what's inside this new sandwich, including marinated beef, a boiled egg, and bright, vibrant kimchi. The eggy soft bun makes for a strange fusion, though. With French bread, this could be a winner. $14.50, Stand 120

Andrew Zimmern's Canteen's Frozen White Chocolate Mousse

Lordy, the spherical chocolate orb-sprinkles pop with alarming abandon! Beneath those scary suckers you'll find a vanilla mousse and cakey bottom crust. Refreshing, unique, well-prepared -- but is it really better than a scoop of Izzy's over at Section 114? Or, for that matter, the enduring pre-packaged majesty of the Kemps Malt Cup? $7.50, Stand 120

Strikeout! 

Summit beer cheese pretzel

A bougie'ed-up gas station pretzel by any other name. "Herbs" don't save this over-salted, basic-ass bread, neither does the goop-y cheese cup that was supposedly graced by Summit beer. $9Metropolitan Club

Murray's Smoked Beef Sandwich

Murray's tricked fans for years into thinking its chewtastic steak sandwich was anything more than cafeteria-grade. Replacing it this year is the downtown steakhouse's smoked beef variation. If there's any discernible flavor -- and that's a mighty "if" -- it's vague sourness permeating these supremely bland folds of beef atop a forgettable bun. Ending on a positive note, the house-made dill pickle chips were a treat! $14.50, Portable 116

All photos by Tony Nelson


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