Food Snob Chronicles – The 2014 Ballpark Food Tour: Philadelphia

The swallows of San Juan Capistrano have returned and that means the boys of summer aren’t far behind.

The unofficial card for the first leg of the tour. Don't bother saving it, since it's worthless.

The unofficial card for the first leg of the tour.
Don’t bother saving it, since it’s worthless.

I have but a few passions in my life and The Game is one of them. I’ve been fortunate to have attended a good many professional baseball games in my years — many as a reporter with access to the players and the field.

But nothing compares with the experience of eating a hot dog and chasing it down with a beer, while watching the home team pull out a win in the bottom of the ninth. It’s true … Hot dogs taste best while breathing ballpark air and hearing the crack of an ash wood bat against the horsehide. But, I digress.

Most ballparks have moved beyond peanuts and Cracker Jack with some over-the-top ballpark fare. And some of it is pretty damn good, which is why I’m taking you on a ballpark food tour this season. The first installment is a trip to the city of brotherly love — Philadelphia — where I spent a few years covering the hometown Phillies.

The Schmitter

Philadelphia is famous for cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell and the guiltiest of all guilty pleasure sandwiches — the Schmitter.

Popular lore is that this gooey mess of goodness was named for the Phillies’ most popular player of all time, Mike Schmidt. But that’s just not true. By the time the Hall-of-Famer was called up to the majors in 1972, the sandwich had already been on the menu for a few years — at McNalley’s Tavern, a pub in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. In fact, it was named for a popular locally-brewed beer.

Many people describe the Schmitter as a cheesesteak on steroids, while McNally’s claims that it’s been touted ‘as a sure help for everything from hitting home runs to coaxing overdue newborns into the world.’ Either way, that’s one hell of a sandwich.

While the Schmitter is still served all the time at McNally’s, you’ll have to stand in line at Citizens Bank Park (home of the Phillies) for one. And it’s only available in section 140, but well worth the walk (since you’ll need the exercise).

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The Schmitter Sandwich (the Unorthodox Epicure version)

The Schmitter Sandwich. Feel guilty. Very guilty.

The Schmitter Sandwich. Feel guilty. Very guilty.

‘Special’ Sauce
1/4 cup – Mayonnaise
2 TB – Ketchup
2 TB – Sweet pickle relish

1 tsp – Old Bay seasoning
2-3 drops – Worcestershire
2-3 drops – Louisiana-style hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl; set aside.

The Sandwich
4 oz (1/4 lb) – Rare roast beef, sliced thin
2 – Salami slices, thickly cut
4 – Yellow onion slices
3 – American cheese slices
2 – Tomato slices, about 1/2-inch thick

2 TB – Butter
Kaiser roll

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. (And prepare broiler for toasting roll.) Place onions on one side of skillet; top with (stacked) roast beef slices. Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip. Place salami slices on other side of skillet; top with a cheese slice, then tomato slices. Cook until salami begins to brown and cheese is melting, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a slice of cheese on each roll – face up – and broil for about 30 seconds.

Flip salami stack – tomato side down – onto beef/onion stack; place entire stack on bottom roll; top with desired amount of ‘special’ sauce; then add top roll.

This recipe is for one cholesterol and fat-laden plate of ballpark goodness. (For crying out loud, cut the damn thing in half and share!)

 

 

Comments

  1. Oh my WORD! That’s a home run on a plate, Adam!

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Becca! Guess what I was working on this past week? (Hint: It’s a certain secret sauce from Milwaukee.)

  2. YUM! I love this kind of sandwich and eating at a ball park or any sporting event just makes it taste even better. We have a minor league hockey team here where a pork chop sandwich is served. It is so large my husband and I share it . Of course like you, he would prefer to eat it at a ballpark watching the White Sox play……..I have no idea why that’s his favorite team……I am pinning this sandwich to a new board I’m creating on Pinterest: Ballpark Eats – so I hope there’s more than one ballpark on this tour! :)

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Kelli. In fact, I have a calendar full of eats for the Ballpark Food Tour. Some Major League; some Minor League — but all guilty pleasure goodness. Thanks for the Pin and … let’s play (more) ball! :-)

  3. Oh. My.
    This sandwich sounds amazing. One day I will have to make this and then not eat again for at least a week.

    • adamjholland says:

      Good point, Jill. Also, you might want to hold off on the cholesterol test for a while. This one will certainly cause a spike. ;-)

  4. I feel guilty just looking at this. But it’s the good kind of guilt, right? This looks positively sinful. And the best part is that my daughter is working in Philly. Can’t wait to fly out and take her to a ball game!

    • adamjholland says:

      When I feel guilty, I just think back to the movie Devil’s Advocate, in which John Milton (Al Pacino) says ‘Guilt is like a bag of [expletive] bricks. All you gotta do is set it down.’ — So, set it down Abbe. Go to Philly and attend a ballgame. Make sure you visit a particular concession in section 140. If you still feel badly, go to Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant (formerly the Sam Adams Brew Pub) on Sansom St. and wash away your sorrows with the nectar of the gods. ;-)

  5. With all my years of attending Rockies games, I’ve never had a hotdog. What the heck is up with that??????? Here’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Rounders Burgers. Coors Field specialty with BBQ Sauce, Onions and bacon. nuff said.

  6. The Schmitter helps coax newborns into this world? Where was this 27 years ago when I needed it? That is one heck of a sandwich and I see a very special ingredient in that sauce – Old Bay, not to be confused with Old Spice.
    So will we be seeing anything in this series that might have a Boston theme? I’ll have to ask my husband but I don’t think they serve Boston Baked Beans at the game.

    • adamjholland says:

      The Old Bay is … my addition. That stuff is just great (in a lot of recipes). I am considering the lobster roll for Fenway. (And it wouldn’t surprise me if you could get some Boston Baked Beans somewhere in there, but why — when you have the Fenway Frank?)

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