Target Field — April 16, 2010

18 04 2010

Target Field
550 3rd Avenue North
Minneapolis

http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/min/ballpark/index.jsp

Cracker Jacks and hotdogs, step aside – baseball just got fancier for Twins fans. With more choices than a typical food court, the new Target Field offers something for everyone … and then some.  Because the hype leading up to the ballpark’s opening was more focused on the stadium’s eateries and local food vendors than the innovative field design or historic memorabilia, we knew attending Target Field’s first evening game would include a food experience worth documenting.

Passing every concession stand on the first level, Jim and I decided we’d each eat half of what we ordered and then swap so we could try a little of both. Jim ordered a beer-steamed bratwurst (specifically labeled as Market Pantry brand, further proving Target’s steadfast presence), which we found for $5 at multiple stands.

Beer-steamed brat slathered in mustard

I had my eye out for something particularly special. The Vincent burger – a creation served at a local, upscale French restaurant downtown – was named the best burger in Minnesota in 2009 by Food Network Magazine, and just recently committed to the Target Field culinary lineup. Listed as a $12 sandwich next to a standard $9.25 burger and fries, it does look a bit frivolous for baseball snacking. But my mind was made up – that night, we were making the splurge. And, by foregoing the $7 beers, we felt we had a little extra cash to spend.

Because Target Field allows outside food or beverage (bonus!), we brought unopened sodas and a bag of peanuts – a $5 grocery store purchase that would have cost us $14 at the stadium. So, with no need for an extra side of fries or chips (which would, of course, be an additional cost), we found our seats and dug in.

The bratwurst had good flavor and fit nicely inside the bun – no mouthfuls of bread between nibbles of meat. It wasn’t anything special, but it didn’t disappoint; it was traditional baseball fare: easy and simple.

The inside of the Vincent burger

The Vincent burger was truly an experience like no other. It came served on an oversized bun – a bit too large, which made it somewhat difficult to bite into at first – with lettuce, tomato and a signature dressing topping a large beef patty. The sandwich only got better with each bite. Just inside the tender ground beef, the burger had a juicy filling of braised short ribs and a dollop of smoked gouda cheese that oozed from the center. The flavor, tenderness and moisture made this burger worth every single penny.

Among the espresso and pastries, chili and walleye strips, and pork chops and steak sandwiches, game goers can still enjoy a standard bratwurst or hamburger if they choose. But faced with all the alternatives, they might instead opt for an Asian wok or spicy empanadas. We had fun trying both a baseball staple and a gourmet twist. The best question is: what do we sample next? Good thing baseball season lasts all summer long…

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠♠♠ 1/2
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠♠
Service: ♠♠
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠ 1/2
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠♠

Total bill: $17

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