Hey, Pittsburghers! Pirates season is starting soon (the home opener is on April 13). With the same team on the field as last year, I don’t think anyone really has expectations for better results than the bucs have been posting for the past fifteen seasons—but there’s a silver lining to that cloud of losering that hovers over our beloved hometown team: according to CNBC, the Pirates offer the lowest beer prices in the major leagues.
Not that anyone should interpret that as meaning ‘inexpensive;’ a 21-ounce beer (from a major brewery) will cost $4.75—almost $0.25 per ounce. A call to the Pirates did not yield any word on what a beer from Penn Brewery will be going for at the park this season.
But, take heart—outfield grandstand seats are still just $9 a ticket, and, according to PNC Park policy, “Guests are permitted to bring bottled water and food that may fit into a 16″ X 16″ X 8″ soft-sided bag. Water bottles should not exceed 24 ounces in size, and must be clear, plastic, sealed and disposable.”–so except for a couple of beers, once you’re in the park, a fan on a budget need not purchase any other concessions to enjoy a meal at the game.
I recommend roasted vegetable salsa and a bag of tortilla chips as a tasty way to enjoy some nachos.
Or make some pulled pork barbecue (season, sear, and cook a pork shoulder at 300 F in a cast iron dutch oven for 3-4 hours, shred it, and toss with your favorite barbecue sauce) and pack the meat, cole slaw, and buns in separate containers to assemble your own barbecue sandwiches at your seat.
I’m not a big fan of luke-warm or cold- dogs; (in fact the only way I can really enjoy a hot dog is by smothering it with so much mustard that’s all that I taste), so packing frankfurters into the park doesn’t really make much sense. But thinly sliced hot sopresatta would be a great ballpark snack.
If you’re looking for something a little more healthful, summer is a great time to enjoy a salad made with local greens. Pine nuts, crumbled blue cheese, and a mix of dried cranberries and montmorency cherries creates a blend that goes great with a spritz of fresh lemon juice—thereby eliminating the need to carry a bottle of salad dressing or to wilt your lettuce by dressing it ahead of time—just cut a couple wedges of lemons and put them in the same container as the salad.
Cookies always make a great portable dessert. And nothing makes you friends faster than passing around a tin of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Unless it’s passing around a tin of homemade chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips—now there’s a tasty confection! Plus, having at least one component of the meal that you can share will help alleviate the dirty looks you’ll get from your neighbors who are shelling out hard cash for food that’s not as good as what you packed in.
Tell you what—you buy the tickets (make sure you get one for Aurora, too—I’m sure she’d want to come) and I’ll make the food. If you really want a game day feast, I recommend getting something in sections 9-13. I’d cook a nice meal for tickets like that.