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Food & Drink

Grading the 2023 Additions to Target Field’s Food Lineup

We sampled winners, losers, and shruggers at today's media tasting event.

Jay Boller

Two things are indisputable about your 2023 Minnesota Twins: The team swept the Kansas City Royals to start the season 3-0, and Thursday's home opener at Target Field will be really goddamn cold.

Can the Twins keep bringing the proverbial heat? We'll defer to friend of Racket Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic, who writes in his season preview, "The Twins enter the 2023 season with big aspirations and perhaps their strongest starting rotation in years. The roster also boasts strong depth at multiple positions, some of which is already being tested by injuries."

Earlier today our team dispatched itself to Target Field to answer perhaps a more pressing question: Will the new foodstuffs at Target Field be tasty? You'll certainly have less time to munch 'em, as the MLB has implemented a new pitch timer that is already reducing game times by 30 minutes. With more face-stuffing options and less face-stuffing time, hungry fans must enter Target Field equipped with more concessions knowledge than ever.

With that in mind, we present you our grades from Monday's new food preview day at Target Field. All italicized descriptions come courtesy of the team's PR apparatus; all items are subjected to our peerless, pitiless Home Run!, Walk!, and Strikeout! rating system. Accept no substitutions. Prices weren't made immediately available, but you've been to enough sporting events to know there ain't any deals to be had.

Oh yeah, and another thing: If you find our photo quality lacking, give us some damn money to buy better smartphones for the staff.

Union Hmong Kitchen 

Offerings include Kramarczuk’s Hmong Sausage & Khao Sen Rice Noodle Bowl, seared Hmong Sausage served with chilled rice noodles, fresh herbs, cabbage and vegetable slaw tossed in a sweet chili vinaigrette. Available at Section 127. 

Yia Vang don’t miss. From his State Fair booth to his pop-up kitchen, the Hmong chef has conquered every challenge he set out to in the past year, and his Target Field contribution is no exception. His sausage collab with Kramarczuk’s has a nice little bite to it, and you can cool your palate off afterwards with a bite of the khao sen rice noodles.

The call: Home run! 

Official Fried Chicken 

Offerings include Four-Piece Fried Chicken, Chicken Tenders, Fried Chicken Sandwich and Fries. Available at Section 133.

An executive from Broaster Company was on-hand to elucidate the many perks of broasting technology, and he was wowed at this reporter's knowledge on the subject. Broasted chicken rules and bone-in chicken is the best, thus this new poultry pusher gets a top grade. The breast we sampled was expertly spiced, delivered terrific crunch, and, even after time in its heated waiting box, retained its juiciness. The tenders and sandwich were passable, real .646 OPS Nick Punto-types. Go with the bone run option.

The call: Bone run!

Chicken or Steak Philly Sandwich 

Thinly-sliced chicken or steak sauteed with onions and peppers, served on top of a hoagie roll with cheese sauce. Available at Section 126. 

The simplest foods are always the hardest to get just right. Here are all the ingredients for a good Philly Whiz: finely chopped meat, “cheese sauce” close enough, onions sauteed with peppers. But this tastes like mush, and the dry bun has a yeasty flavor that doesn’t help any.

The call: Strikeout!

Mega Pretzel 

Shareable Mega Bavarian SUPERPRETZEL served with cheese sauce and mustard. Available at Sections 122 and 318. 

I’ve watched enough U.K. Kitchen Nightmares and U.S. Bar Rescue to know that simple, streamlined menus are the hardest to fuck up. So how did they fuck this stupid pretzel up so badly? Probably because, as you see from the BRAND BOAST above in the description, this pretzeled bread is proudly sourced from the freezer aisle. It's bone dry, and ostensibly collapses into dust once your teeth clear the shell. The viscous, sub-gas station cheese sauce can be charitably described as skunky.

The call: Strikeout!

Waffles & More 

Offerings include Chicken and Waffles, Berries and Waffles, and Belgian Waffle with locally-sourced maple syrup. Available at Section 114. 

Well, not that much more, really. The waffles themselves are OK, just neutral vehicles for the toppings. Think hotel breakfast bar-tier. Though the strawberries and Reddi-Wip would make for a sweet summer treat, what would you rather have on a hot summer day: waffles or ice cream served in an upside-down plastic batters' helmet? The choice is pretty clear to us. The chicken option packs a pleasant sweet/savory combo punch, but the tender itself is about as exceptional as the waffle it tops.

The call: Walk!

Soul Bowl 

Offerings include Queen B Lemonade Pouches and Jr. Gong Jerk Chicken Bowl, roasted jerk chicken thighs glazed with pineapple jerk sauce and served with sweet plantains and yellow rice. Available at Section 113. 

We were not “bowled” over by this one. The sticky-sweet plantains and cafeteria-grade rice were tasty enough, but the chicken was disappointing. Texturally it was a little on the rubbery side and its spice was peppery rather than a full-flavored jerk. 

The call: Strikeout! 

Loaded Potatoes

Crispy, fried, braised baby red potatoes topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon and scallions. Available in Truly on Deck.

What are we doing here? Who comes to a ballgame for a hot bowl full of potatoes? Whose idea was this? Making matters worse, there's no evidence the potatoes were ever fried; they're simply dry, sad spuds. Almost no discernable flavor comes from any of the fixins, except for the so-called bacon which exudes obvious, unremarkable bacon bits notes. Don't gild the lily; get French fries and ketchup instead. Also, and sorry to pile on her like so many gross globs of bagged cheddar cheese, but why not call these Loaded Taters, considering that word is baseball jargon for home run? Come on.

The call: Strikeout!

Cochinita Sliders 

Pork wrapped in banana leaves and braised in adobo, served on sweet Hawaiian rolls with habanero-pickled red onion and tequila pickles. Available in Truly on Deck.

Not bad! The pork tastes like it's glopped from a crockpot, and we mean that in the best possible way—tender, dripping, fall-apart. The Hawaiian rolls melt with sweet notes that contrast beautiful with the savory meat, while the pickled veggies pop with bright bursts of tartness and spiciness. Our only concern: Are these badboys too sloppy for tableless dining? Considering they're served in the Target Field bar, Truly on Deck, maybe that's moot.

The call: Walk! 

Banh Mi Sandwich 

Sous vide pork belly served on top of a toasted hoagie roll with dark soy aioli, pickled vegetables and sweet soy caramel. Available in Truly on Deck.

Maybe it was just the heat lamp, but everything about this poor little sandwich was dry—both the overdone pork belly and the bun it was served on. And the aioli, soy, and vegetables didn’t moisten (or flavor) things up enough to compensate. They should call it a Banh You and leave me out of it. Also: Your team's superstar shortstop is a noted Jucy Lucy fanatic—name a damn cheeseburger sandwich after him!  

The call: Strikeout!

Mrs. Parker Donut Peach Cobbler 

A yeast donut from Soul Bowl, topped with sweet peach cobbler filling, caramel drizzle and crushed vanilla wafers. Available in Truly on Deck.

Crunchy on the outside and pillowy within, the donut is top-notch. The peach wedges appear to be canned, though they're still flavorful and not cloying. If you're really craving a peach cobbler, specifically, this won't let you down. But, again, the Americana appeal of combining ice cream with baseball during the summer? That's as tough to beat as a healthy Byron Buxton.

The call: Walk!

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