Last night was a beautiful August night in Rochester – clear skies, temperature in the low 70s. A perfect night for a baseball game, so that’s what we did.
Rochester is home to the Rochester Red Wings, AAA farm team to the Minnesota Twins. They play at our downtown ballpark, Frontier Field. The field was built in1996, but it’s designed to have an old-fashioned feel, with lots of iron and brick. At night some of Rochester’s architecturally interesting buildings are illuminated, giving the place a great atmosphere.
Last year, we took our kids to a Milwaukee Brewers game at Miller Park. (I have fond memories of tailgating – oh yeah, and watching the Brewers play – at the old County Stadium while I was in college.) Although we enjoyed tailgating with our friends, we weren't thrilled with Miller Park. It was hard to focus on the game because our seats -- which weren't cheap -- were so far away from the action. And we felt raked over the coals by the food prices. Both Tom and I agreed that we’d rather go to a ball game at Frontier Field any day of the week.
Well, there’s the ticket prices. You can go to a Red Wings game for about ten bucks – five, if you’re with a group. And for that price, you still have a very good view of the field.
They have a great live organist named Fred Costello. I like to get to the game early to hear him play. (Music is my other passion, and anything that combines good food and live music gets a big thumbs-up from me.)
Then there’s the baseball itself. You don’t see superstars (unless they are recovering from an injury) but you can say things like, “I saw Cal Ripkin when he was playing in the minors in Rochester.” (And he did.)
But enough about baseball. A big reason I like Frontier Field is the food. There are several tasty choices, and the prices – well, I wouldn’t call them a bargain - but they aren’t in the stratosphere like Miller Field.
Yeah, Miller Field has brats, and I do love a good brat. But we can get Johnsonville brats here, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of skill to simmer them in beer and throw them on the grill.
At Red Wings games, the rest of my family goes for the usual stadium fare – corn dogs, nachos, Dippin’ Dots. As for me, my two favorites are a Red Osier roast beef sandwich or a crepe from Simply Crepes.
Last night I went for the roast beef sandwich ($5.50). I generally don’t get excited about roast beef, but this beef is exceptionally tender and flavorful. They put a good-size mound of the warm, thinly sliced beef on a soft roll along with some of the juices. The traditional topping is horseradish, but I like mine with ketchup. It’s messy but sublime. (That's Son 1's sandwich pictured.)
Simply Crepes overstuffs their crepes with a variety of salads – and I’m not talking iceberg lettuce and croutons. My favorite has greens, strawberries, nuts, and blue cheese. They also have dessert crepes that look wonderful, although I’ve never had one. I thought I might try one last night, but I was too full from the roast beef. But not too full to share some fried dough during the 7th inning.
Oh, yeah. The Red Wings lost.