COMSTOCK PARK, MI - For the last three weeks, the West Michigan Whitecaps have been soliciting ideas for new food items to be served at Fifth Third Ballpark. Now, they've whittled the submission list down to the top 10 ideas, fans are again invited to go online and vote for their favorite.
For ballpark fare, the items submitted are odd, unique, and let's face it - some are downright bizarre. But the West Michigan Whitecaps have always been known for serving some unique food items at their concessions stands (deep fried twinkies, anyone?), and they're not afraid to go where no ballpark has gone before. Some of the more unique concessions items served in the past include Deep-Fried Twinkies, Deep-Fried Pepsi, Apple Cider Floats and the Fifth Third Burger, which garnered international attention with its debut last season and will remain on the menu in 2010.
Bob 'Flyhawk' Denham, from Canada, submitted the Canadian favorite Poutine as his entry. "For the past five years I have led a band of fans from Canada to Grand Rapids in May for a game. We stay at the Swan Inn and Motel and while we love the games, food and ambiance having Poutine would be the frosting...err...gravy and curds on the fries. Heck, I may just bring the fixings this year and show you what you are missing. I can see it now 'Poutine Night at the Ballpark.' Alert the paramedics. This is not for sissies."
And Susan Wagener suggested what might be the most bizarre and most talked-about item: Chocolate Covered Bacon. It can be found in California at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and at the Minnesota State Fair and has been gaining in popularity since its "invention" a few years ago. It has been featured in news stories and has appeared on TV food shows; if it makes the menu, it is believed to be the first time it will appear as ballpark fare.
Below is a complete list of the 10 food finalists.
1. Chicken and Waffles - Why did the chicken cross the road? To lie down on a bed of waffles, get smothered in gravy and get eaten by you, of course!
2. Chili Mac Tacos - Think comfort food that took a trip to Mexico. Creamy mac and cheese is smothered in chili then loaded into a hard taco shell to create a taste experience that won't soon be forgotten.
3. Chocolate Covered Bacon - This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home and this little piggy dunked itself in chocolate to become a delicious treat for Whitecaps fans!
4. Corn Dog o' Plenty - If the Idaho Christmas Tree isn't enough corn dog for you, then try the Corn Dog o' Plenty. A full half-pound, footlong frank that is battered and deep fried to make one gigantic corn dog.
5. Cudighi Yooper Sandwich - If you don't know what this one is then you haven't been to the Upper Peninsula. Cudighi is a spicy sausage found throughout the U.P. A sausage patty, smothered in cheese, pizza sauce, peppers and onions could grace the concession stands of Fifth Third Ballpark.
6. Declaration of Indigestion - When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to disband from the tyranny of healthy eating, they should consume the Declaration of Indigestion. You see, all sandwiches are not created equal as this half-pound, footlong hot dog is covered in a philly cheese steak (steak, cheese, peppers and onions) and served on a gigantic sub roll. It is certainly your unalienable right to consume one of these in the pursuit of happiness.
7. Idaho Christmas Tree - Why waste your time eating all of your favorite items separately? This is a batter-dipped hot dog rolled in french fries and deep fried to create the perfect limbed link on stick.
8. Poutine - A real treat from North of the border. The French Canadians have done it again, and this time with gravy. Fries, fried cheese curds and gravy make up this delectable side dish. Tres bien!
9. The Pink Panther - Not sure if this is named after the famous detective or the insulation, but either way it's delicious. Take a hot dog bun, slather it in icing and fill it with pink cotton candy. Maybe drizzle some root beer syrup over the top for good measure. It's the dessert dog you'll have to try this summer!
10. Twinkie Cheese Dog - This dog can survive any disaster and it might cause a few of its own. Simple - a hot dog laid in a Twinkie, covered in cheese. Yum.
Voting starts today, and a winner will be announced next month. Ballpark patrons will find the winning food item, and possibly others from this list, on the Fifth Third Ballpark menu this season. Voting will take place on the Whitecaps website, whitecapsbaseball.com.
The Whitecaps open the 2010 season at home on Sunday, April 11 against the defending Midwest League Champion Fort Wayne Tincaps at 2 p.m. Complete ticket information, including season and group ticket prices and perks, is available at www.whitecapsbaseball.com.