Last year Citizens Bank Park received lots of praise for its food from everyone from PETA to the Food Network. And the praise continues as the New York Times sung our ballpark’s praises in Sunday’s travel section.
But the prize for vernacular food probably goes to Citizens Bank Park, the four-year-old home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Most of the action takes place in Ashburn Alley (named for the Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn), a brick promenade behind center field where fans can practically hang over the visitorsâ€™ bullpen or dine under the giant Liberty Bell sign that lights up and rocks back and forth when the Phillies hit a home run.
Ashburn Alley is home to hoagies, Chickie & Peteâ€™s crab fries (French fries dusted with Old Bay seasoning) and two of the cityâ€™s respected cheese steak purveyors, Rickâ€™s Steaks and Tony Lukeâ€™s. Tony Lukeâ€™s had the better cheese steak of the two (though their other locations are notably superior). Even better is Tony Lukeâ€™s juicy roasted pork and provolone sandwich, dressed with tender broccoli rabe, as good a meat sandwich as there is in the majors.
Also not to be missed is the Schmitter sandwich from McNallyâ€™s, an outpost of an 87-year-old Germantown tavern at the end of Ashburn Alley. Itâ€™s not named for the Phillies legend Mike Schmidt, but rather, I was told, after a long-gone McNallyâ€™s customer who always ordered it with Schmidtâ€™s Beer, the now-defunct Pennsylvania brand.
The Schmitter packs, from top to bottom: melted cheese, a generous squirt of a â€œspecial sauce,â€ griddled salami, more cheese, sliced tomato, fried onions, griddled steak and another slice of cheese, just to help keep the beef in place. It was the unhealthiest thing I encountered on my cholesterol-gathering trip, an unholy alliance of meats, cheese and mayonnaise tucked into a Kaiser roll. It was also impossible to stop eating after the first bite.
Buy Me Some Sushi and Baby Back Ribs [New York Times] via The Illadelph
Finding the Hits, Avoiding the Errors – Interactive [New York Times]