Catch Some New Rays Food Options


Maniac shoot |

It is only a matter of hours before I get to again strut through the doors into my second home from Spring to Fall. Only a few ticks of the clock before I can again see some of the new and exciting changes within the concrete walls of Tropicana Field, and again see our hometown Tampa Bay Rays take the field.

Some might call it a “dress rehearsal” since we come back in only a few days to do it for real and begin the 2010 Major League Baseball season on Tuesday, April 6th at 6:10 pm. But these last Spring games in which the Rays invite the Rays faithful back into the Trop to see a Spring Training game are more than just rehearsals to me.
They usually are a good time for me to wander all around the halls and by-ways of the stadium and try and seek out the new and unusual around Tropicana Field. It might be something as simple as a new coat of paint, or even a new vending area, but usually I can smell the changes even before I turn the corner in Right or Left Field Street, or even take a step up or two towards the First Base or Third Base concourse areas. The biggest changes to the Trop this past off season might be in the food selections.

In the past we have seen a few well known favorites of the Trop come and go like the Columbia Restaurant booth near the Rotunda that went poof into the night one off season, or even the home cooking favorite, the American Plate that featured the great Southern style BBQ ribs, meatloaf, roasted chicken and either peach or apple cobblers produced in house by local Chef Enzo.

Both were truly missed when it was discovered they would not return. But in 2010, the Rays main concessionaire, Centerplate went above and beyond the call to provide some new tasty options to Rays fans.


And the first great thing Centerplate did this past off season was remember where they were located. With water caressing the shores on all three sides of Pinellas County, in the past, seafood has been mostly a fried grouper sandwich in one of the First Base concession stands, and this great fresh food option has been lost in the shuffle. But this off season the group decided that they should embrace this segment of everyday Florida life, and also provide an extra seafood treat to visiting fans who might not get the chance to sample great Florida seafood on their short visits.

But first Centerplate did something really smart, and really wise in hiring a Chef who has been called the “fish whisperer” by the New York Time, Chef David Pasternick. He has such a flair for the love of fresh seafood ingredients, Pasternick has been known to personally go out into the local New York City waters and troll for his daily fresh fish specials himself before finally preparing them for his dining patrons at his New York bistro Esca. His restaurant is known for its creativity and originality in regards to fresh products from the sea, and some critics call it a “seafood Mecca”.


So it was a bit of a seafood coup for the Centerplate big brass to get the 2004 James Beard Foundation Best Chef Award winner to step into the confines of the kitchens of Tropicana Field and submit his own signature on some of this region’s most bountiful food items. And from his brainstorming sessions, Pasternick came up with a few more fresh options for Rays fans in 2010. And he used two of his favorite regions of the United States to bring these new ingredients into the Trop’s menu offering, and none of them involve a fryer or hot oil like our old staple, the grouper sandwich.

Actually, the two new food stands that have popped up in different sections of Tropicana Field will be a well sought after alternative to the usual ballpark food, and ones I will definitely hit within the first week of games this season. The first will be located about 30 paces down the stairs from my current Season Ticket seats just in the Rightfield Street section of Tropicana Field, just to your left if you enter at the Rotunda/Gate 1 entrance and then follow the smell of great cooking fish and spicy sausages.

You will then quickly notice the new sign for Ti (Cajun for little) Dave’s Po’ Boys which grew out of Chef Pasternick’s extreme love and admiration for the cultural foods of the New Orleans region of the country. Here you can sample two distinctive designed Po’ Boy sandwiches were are a common staple of living in New Orleans, with a added flair of Chef Pasternick’s bold use of flavors to kick your taste buds into third gear.

The stand will offer both a marinated and grilled shrimp sandwich as well as an artisan andouille sausage concoction. Both will also be topped with a zesty slaw and a specially spicy Creole mustard and both will be served on a traditional French baquette. And if those two items did not get your mouth watering, Ti Dave’s will also offer his version of Dave’s famous Cajun Fries, which will be French fries served extra crispy with a special Cajun country blend of herb and spices. Some people might say this stand’s fries will make most people forget about the 2009 fan favorite the garlic fries, and will become one of the “must have” items in 2010 when attending a Rays game.

And that is one of the important reasons to bring someone of Chef Pasternick’s expertise to Tropicana Field. To get you to try something different and exciting while also watching the same excitement on the playing field this season.


But some people might flock just as much to his second stand, that will be located in the First Base Concession area just beyond the walls of the First Base seating areas. The Fresco Fish Taco stand might just turn out to be one of those instant favorites for people looking for a healthier and more refreshing food option this season. The stand will feature a fresh fish taco either in a soft or hard shell filled with great grilled Mahi Mahi that will be topped with a piquant cabbage coleslaw and extra warm tortilla chips. Also available will be the option of either having a fresh tropical mango salsa, or a creamy queso dip to accompany the taco.

As an added bonus at both booth will be a localized adult beverage selection that was tailored to the regional menu of both locations. Ti Dave’s Po’ Boys will feature Louisiana’s own Abita beer, which is brewed in a local brewery about 30 miles north of New Orleans. The first bottle of this craft beer left the brewery in 1986 and has become an instant favorite with beer collectors. The second new beer selection also shared a nickname with Rays First Baseman Carlos Pena, as El Presidente beer will make its entry into Tropicana Field and be offered exclusively at the Fresco Fish Taco stand. El Presidente, which is brewed in the Dominican Republic has been a favorite resort beverage for vacationers to the Caribbean nation.


But that is not the only new beverage options to enter Tropicana Field. In 2010,Centerplate will also open several wine bars around the stadium to bring another beverage option to the adults attending Rays games. These are only two of the first options and swaps going on within Tropicana Field this season. You can look forward to more changes and upgrades to both the menu offerings and choices within the stadium in the near future. With the food industry leaning towards more health conscious items and fresh ingredients, the Rays and Centerplate will work in harmony to also provide these options to patron of the Rays soon.

So there you go. A few new food options you might consider tonight before the last Spring Training game against the New York Mets, or maybe even on Tuesday night when the Rays officially open their 2010 season against the Baltimore Orioles. Two distinctively different options that have not been available before in Tropicana Field, and ones that are sure to become very popular in 2010.

I know I my mouth is already watering in anticipation of getting either a shrimp or andouille sausage baquette tonight while I sit in my seats. Maybe I might even wash them down with some besides Dr Pepper for a change…..Now that is the ticket to a true food experience, plus the added spice of great baseball played in front of me by our Rays.


Oh, God. This post makes me so hungry I can’t stand it. (It’s almost lunch time here in CA.) All I know is that when I went to the Trop in ’07 it was the first time I’d seen an Outback concession at a ballpark, and I loved it. Yum.

Every year when American Plate was at the Trop I would begin, and end the year with a bucket of short ribs and extra sauce that sometimes a player would come by and steal a piece or two from me.
With them gone in 2009, I went to the Outback stand and got Steak and ‘Srooms to start last season.
This year it will be either the shrimp or andouille sausage Po’ Boy and Cajun fries.
My mouth is watering too right now as they have opened the doors and in I go for some good old fashion Spring baseball before the season….

Rays Renegade

I’m salivating like Pavlov’s Dog! Let the games begin. Happy eating my friend!

That is one of the great things about the Trop.
You can buy something outside and bring it in and still eat it.
but with the more healthy options shown this year, the cheesesteaks and the fried food occasionally will be more of a treat than an every day thing.
Still would love a Chef’s Salad or Ceasar Salad option somewhere besides the Brewhouse Restaurant.
I got to tell you, one day I went to a local transplanted New York Deli and got a hot corned beef sandwich and took it to the game. My seat smelled like it for two days as I fought to eat that pound of succulant and desired beef with the rye bread and spicy mustard….I am hungry now….

Rays Renegade

I once caught a Wahoo fish while deep sea fishing down in the Florida Keys. I heard that they did this ‘Fish Taco’ thing with them? Unfortunately the Wahoo doesn’t have the shelf-life to make it to Canada. I badly wanted to try it. One of the biggest regrets in my life not eating that fish. You definitely sold me with that Taco!

Food, Food, Glorious Food… With all the great sea food down and around the area, being from a small seaside village in the south of England I miss good old fashioned fish ‘n’ chips tell me there is at least one English fish ‘n’ chip shop in a close-ish proximity.. or is that something I should consider doing in my early retirement down there…LOL

Phillies Outside

Never had Wahoo.
Does it taste like Chief Wahoo the old Cleveland mascot?
Seriously, I am looking forward to trying a fish taco. I know they are all the rage in sunny places out West, but I have never had one in Florida.
The closest I have come is either the square pollock or cod at Mickey D’s, or the fired grouper concoctions at most of the beach bars that litter this region.
Looking forward to something fresh and zingy.

Rays Renegade

There is actually a good European influence down here mostly from Germany and England, but I personally only know of one good fish and chips place down in South Pasadena,Florida.
Tons of good seafood just off the docks and bridges, or even out into the Gulf.
As a matter of fact, yesterday a guy caught a 102 pound grouper. That would feed me a sandwich a day for an ehtire year.

Rays Renegade

Making people hungry is one of the reasons they do most of the cooking in the front of the stands and not behind walls or steel partitions.
When you have food visible, it makes the eyes take in the juices flowing and the nose takes in the smells, then the wallet opens wide.
It is its own brand of aromatherapy.
But then again, as Humphrey Bogart used to say” A hot dog at a baseball game always tastes better”.

Rays Renegade

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