Take me out
Reno, NV 89501
If my trip with some friends to see the Reno Aces take on the Portland Beavers had an accompanying song it would go something like: “Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd, I ate no peanuts or crackerjacks, but I gorged myself on near everything else.”
Growing up, I was the biggest baseball fan in the world. The Oakland A’s were my team, and I stayed loyal to them until August, 1994, when major league baseball players went on strike and ruined my faith in the sport. With Reno the proud hometown of a new ball park and team, I let the anger go and ventured out for my first ball game in almost 15 years.
The biggest change to my baseball experience is the incorporation of beer-drinking as well as general astonishment that families can actually afford a day at the park. Here’s a pretty shocking comparison—price of my ticket with a lousy view, $9; price of my pre-game 24 oz. Corona in a plastic cup, $9. However, the beer guy squeezing several lime wedges into the cold beverage was a nice touch.
Chicago’s Levy Restaurants manages all food service at the Aces ballpark as well as food and beverage operations at sports and entertainment venues across the country. I imagine it’s a logistical nightmare managing all those employees and all that food. During the seventh inning stretch, it was humorous to watch the employees scramble around one of the busier food stands. I think the term “cluster %&@!” best sums it up. However, those employees are just working frenziedly to get hungry fans back to their seats.
My friends and I shared a bulk of food. The first item to hit my tongue was the gourmet hot dog ($4.50), which is your traditional wiener in a white bun with an array of toppings available for adornment. The hot dog gave off a nice “pop” when I burst through the casing, an effect I’ve always enjoyed. From there I tried the pork and jalapeño nachos ($6.50). This is a must-have: shredded pork, sliced pickled jalapeños, chips and nacho cheese. The dish came liberally covered with all the aforementioned, and afforded ample opportunity to make a mess of the hands and face.
An inning or so later, I grabbed cheese ($6.50) and pepperoni ($7) pizzas. They were little personal pizzas, and I wish I had never ordered them. Generally speaking, they were totally fine, but don’t flit away your money when you can indulge in the garlic fries ($4.50). In short, these are the garlickiest fries I have ever eaten, and as a lover of chopped garlic, I have nothing but adulation for them. Once the fries were gone, I found myself eating the remaining clumps of garlic bits. Nothing good should go to waste.
On the other hand, stay away from the parmesan chicken tenders ($7.50). They had an off-putting greasy exterior hiding chicken that was stick-in-your-throat dry. Maybe I shouldn’t have ordered them so close to the end of the game. Who knows how many innings they had been pummeled by heat lamps. Either way, all it took was another beer to wash down that mess and to drown away the frustration of watching the Aces suffer an extra inning loss. All told, the Aces have themselves a fine park, and some good junk food, and I think I’ll be back shortly because it’s a waste to spend even one of Reno’s spectacular summer nights indoors.