HOUSTON -- Astros fans who enjoy gastropubs and food trucks when enjoying a night out on the town will have those options available this year when they're taking in a ballgame at Minute Maid Park.As is the case every season, the Astros and ARAMARK will introduce several new food items
HOUSTON -- Astros fans who enjoy gastropubs and food trucks when enjoying a night out on the town will have those options available this year when they're taking in a ballgame at Minute Maid Park.
As is the case every season, the Astros and ARAMARK will introduce several new food items when the 2018 campaign gets underway in April. Some of the concepts were tested out during the postseason last October, including several dressed-up versions of the standard fare of burgers and fries.
The new items were introduced at a luncheon for the Houston media in the Diamond Club on Wednesday. The yearly gathering -- during which marketing campaigns, promotional giveaways and new food items are introduced -- marks the final time general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch will meet with the media before they head to Florida for Spring Training.
From a culinary standpoint, the event was a memorable one. Fans won't have to scour the concourses long to find a wide array of gastropub-like meals, including a BBQ beef burger slider smothered with beer battered onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and jalapeno kale slaw, all loaded onto a jalapeno cheddar bun.
"People always enjoy going to those food trucks and getting the different things that they have," said Dominic Soucie, the executive chef at Minute Maid Park. "We're trying to bring that street-style food into the ballpark, to kind of get away from the general concessions. We want to elevate the program."
The hot dog situation has most definitely been ramped up. For those looking for a little international flair in their steamin' weenies, try the Caribbean Dog, a foot-long dog with braised pork, mango, black bean pico, guacamole and sour cream.
There's also a foot-long BBQ pork dog, with pulled pork bacon bits and spicy and gold BBQ sauces, topped onto a butter bun.
Two versions of cheese steaks have been added to the stadium-wide menus this year: the pork cheese steak (caramelized peppers and onions, white jalapeno wiz on a pretzel hoagie) and the Texas brisket cheese steak (chopped brisket, caramelized peppers and onions, spicy jalapeno wiz on a jalapeno cheddar hoagie).
All food items will be available on every level throughout Minute Maid Park, including in center field, which was redesigned prior to the 2017 season and now includes a Torchy's Tacos and a Shake Shack.
"We're bringing people to center field," Soucie said. "Of course we have Shake Shack and Torchy's, but we're going to also do our own in-house versions of nice high-end action stations, bring some street food, some truck-style food to that area."
For some gooey potato deliciousness, try the loaded taco salad tot: tater tots, fried tortilla strips, sour cream, beef picadillo, queso, iceberg lettuce, black bean pico, olives and thousand island sour cream.
And don't forget about dessert. Introducing Jane Dough Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, which looks and acts a lot like ice cream, but without the need to be chilled.
"It's a shelf-stable fresh-made cookie dough, so it doesn't have to be refrigerated," Soucie said. "There's no egg in it. It gets dressed up to look like ice cream, so it's a nice dessert option."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.