What to Eat at Rogers Centre – Toronto Blue Jays Game

“Sorry buddy,” the eager man said to me after he mistakenly stepped on my heal as I was leaving Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario. It took everything in my power not to reply, “I’m not your buddy, guy.” A few more beers would have done it. Lost opportunity.

“Look at this,” Matt said as we walked out of the stadium. “The CN Tower is just right here. I feel like it gets taken for granted.” Matt is a guy I work with who lives in Ottawa but spent a few years living in Toronto. He’s always up for an excuse to attend an event and he’s generally more optimistic and enthusiastic about life than Bill Walton.

He’s right. There are some baseball stadiums that have turned into national monuments. Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston, are easy examples. Stadiums that are so old and so full of history, people plan vacations around their visits to them. But I can’t think of another baseball stadium that has a nationally recognized figure like the CN Tower literally on the same lot. This was my third Toronto Blue Jays game and I tend to forget about it now.

Maybe one reason for my neglect is that Rogers Centre has had the roof closed each time I have attended. Baseball indoors has always been weird to me. The best part about seeing a baseball game live is that it feels like a picnic. It’s usually warm weather, you have a few beers and hot dogs with your friends, and you just hang. There are 162 games in a regular season so there’s little need to get overly passionate about the one particular game you are watching. It’s a perfect sport to casually watch while you sit back, relax, and enjoy your company while getting sun burnt.

Rogers Centre will open its roof one day though. If this winter ever ends. The stadium is well known for the hotel that is attached to the outfield which I am all about. I don’t know why, but Canadians love to attach hotels to stadiums and I support the cause. I’m a sucker for anything weird and quirky about a ballpark. Do whatever your heart desires. My only rule is don’t be boring.

Unfortunately, the beer selection at Rogers Centre is incredibly boring. How did one of the most diverse cities in the world sell its soul to become the Budweiser capital of North America? Seriously, Toronto. We have all moved on from fizzy, bland water-beer in the states for a quite a few damn years now. It’s time to catch up. And outside of poutine and one smoked meat sandwich stand, I didn’t find too many unique food offerings either.

“Oh, don’t worry, we have both kinds of food options here at Roger Centre. We have a hot dog AND a much larger hot dog!”

Which brings me…

To the food!

Have to have it

Poutine

Because Canada

Pass it

Hot Dog and Pretzel Bites

I was so excited for this combo. What an offering the Rogers Centre gods hathe offered me. I wanted to love it so much. But the pretzel bites tasted stale and hot dog bun fell apart before I could even lift it. Sigh.

Beer Price per Ounce Meter

25 oz Domestic Tall Cans $15 CAD. $0.60 per ounce (roughly $0.48 USD)
Premium Draught Beer 14 oz $9 CAD. $0.64 per ounce (roughly $0.51 USD)
Premium Draught Beer 20 oz $12.75. $0.64 per ounce (roughly $0.51 USD)
Domestic Draught Beer 14 oz $7.50. $0.54 per ounce (roughly $0.43 USD)
Domestic Draught Beer 20 oz $10.75. $0.54 per ounce (roughly $0.43 USD)

A Minnesota Wild Game As Described by Five Prince Songs

My trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota welcomed me with -5 degree weather and why not? When you travel you should travel like a local. This analysis of Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul is dedicated to the area’s favorite and most famous local son (may he rest in peace). Below is my visit to a Minnesota Wild game as described by five Prince songs.

Life Can Be So Nice

Have you ever talked to someone that is just a little too nice? It took about 20 minutes in a Lyft to get from downtown Minneapolis to the Minnesota Wild’s Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and by the time we reached our destination I think the driver was ready to adopt us as family members and give us the shirt off his back for warmth. The week was full of frigid temperatures and crappy weather. WHY IS EVERYONE SO HAPPY HERE!?!?

Did you know St. Paul Minnesota was named after a chapel that was established in the area by a Catholic French Canadian minister? Why no I did not overly nice and educational Lyft driver.

Joyful Sound

Walking into the stadium was a bizarre sound experience. I don’t know if it was the acoustics or how the seats are spaced away from the entrance but I literally couldn’t hear any game action in the outside concession area until we stepped up to the tops of the aisles. You usually can hear the crowd, announcers, game action, etc. Not here though. Nothing.

Let’s Go Crazy 

Played after every Minnesota Wild goal. What a city.

Sexy M.F.

During a timeout in the game, the every-popular kiss cam started up on the jumbotron and I counted three out of five men sporting mustaches. Seriously it was like Matt Hamilton appearing over and over again.

EvolSiDog

My food of choice was a bacon wrapped hot dog with coleslaw and Louisiana hot sauce. The dog was delicious with plenty helpings coleslaw. It could have used a little more hot sauce and the bun was unspectacular. It gets an A+ for creativity though.

 

Beer price per ounce

Local Cans: 16 ounces for $11. $0.69 per ounce. (Options: Summit EPA, Surly Furious, Fulton Lonely Blonde, Bent Paddle Golden IPA, Castle Danger Cream Ale, Insight Sunken City Saison)

Michelob Golden Light Draft: 16 ounces for $10. $0.625 per ounce.

What to Eat at Bell Centre – Montreal Canadiens Game

Spoiler alert: It’s Le Hot Dog. The first recommendation uttered out of a local’s mouth when I told them I was attending a Habs game that night was “you have to try the hot dog”. And it did not disappoint (more on that later).

Visiting Montreal is like listening to Prince for the first time. It’s too quirky, too unique, and too awesome not to try it. I keep telling people it’s like visiting another country before stopping myself and saying, “wait you idiot, it is another country”. But the rest of Canada doesn’t feel this way! Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver are fantastic cities but they all remind you of other US cities. Not Montreal. It’s one of a kind.

The official language of Montreal is French with about 60% of population being bi-lingual (thanks Wikipedia). The city literally has too many restaurants which is an incredible problem to have. For every 10,000 people in Montreal, there are 26.81 restaurants to satisfy their hungry souls. For comparison, The New York metropolitan area has 19.57 restaurants per 10,000 people and San Francisco (highest restaurant density in the US) has 21.44. Each year Montreal holds both the largest jazz festival in the world (Montreal International Jazz Festival) and the largest international comedy festival in the world (Just for Laughs Festival).

Montreal-eans (scientific name) love their food, music, comedy, and…their hockey.

Bell Centre is the largest hockey rink in the NHL but it doesn’t matter. I attended a generally meaningless game late in the season on a Thursday night and it felt like it we were in the playoffs. The atmosphere made it the best regular season hockey game that I’ve ever been to. And I’ve been to like eight whole hockey games.

The exchange rate is your friend. This meant a $10 CAD beer was actually $7 USD. This meant I drank a lot of them before, during, and after the game. So much so that I’ll be honest – all I really remember is that damn hot dog. Oh, and some meat sandwich that looked amazing after a few beers but one that my stomach rejected faster than driving on Dikembe Mutumbo in the 90’s.

To the food!

Have to Have it

Hot Dog – it’s the bun. The bun adds a sweetness that compliments the delicious god-knows-what meat up top. And it’s simple. No onions, peppers, sauerkraut, etc. Just a dog, mustard and relish and it works.

Hot-Dog-O-Meter: 9.0 out 10. The second best dog I’ve had at a stadium behind only Saag’s at Oakland Collesium.

Try It

Smoked Meat Sandwich – It was OK going down. A little dry but not bad. It was anything but OK coming out the next morning. I’ll leave it at that.

A Sort-of Helpful Guide to Citizens Bank Park or Comparing its Beer to Yankee Stadium

I’ve been to Citizens Bank Park in Philly twice now. This past Memorial Day weekend, I was hooked up with baller suite tickets that included all you can eat food (very cool) and all you can drink beverages (very dangerous). Needless to say, #HotFoodTakes aren’t very helpful in this scenario. I had a hot dog and approximately 1,211 free Yuengling Lagers. Analysis: it was a good Saturday. 

About The Stadium

Citizens Bank Park was built in 2004. Located in South Philly’s “sports complex”, it’s probably the best stadium out of the three located there (the other’s being Lincoln Financial Field – Eagles and Wells Fargo Center – 76ers/Flyers). But that’s probably just because football/basketball/hockey arenas are rarely that cool. Let’s be honest. 

Your only real option for close pregame activities is at the Xfinity Live! location which is one of those things created by venues when they’re like “hey, we don’t have enough money, let’s take some out of tailgating too.” It’s located in the parking lot and a close walk to all threes stadiums. It’s not very unique but has a thousand TV’s, outdoor seating, live music, and plenty of decently priced local food/beer selection before the game. I recommend Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries

Comparing Beer Prices to Yankee Stadium – because why not?

Round 1

The 12-ouncers: Yankee Stadium has an incredible amount of mediocre beer selection. Because of this, they decide to charge you $0.50 more. It’s only right. Get rich or die tryin, amirite? 

Citizens Bank: $9; Yankee Stadium $9.50

Round 2

The 24-ouncers: Split round. Both 24-ounce options are the same price. 

Citizens Bank: $11.50; Yankee Stadium $11.50

Round 3

The 24-ounce “premium” beers: This is where the Philly Citizen’s make their Bank. The park charges $1 more than YS for some beers but it has a much wider selection. I’m sure there are better options at Yankee Stadium somewhere but they sure make them hard to find. For my past visit, Goose Island, Stella Artois and Heineken <- yes, these are considered premium – were $12.50 for larges. Blue Point beers, which are much better, were a dollar more.

Citizens Bank: $14.50 Yankee Stadium $13.50 – $14.50 

Although you could save a buck with a decent Goose Island option, I have to hand the final round to Citizens Bank Park. If I’m going to waste my future child’s college fund on drinking brews at MLB ballparks, at least give me some selection for the hole in my pocket. I haven’t even found a Bronx Brewery beer at Yankee Stadium yet. That’s just a damn tragedy.