Reviewing The South Philly Dog and New England Backyard Dog at Citizens Bank Park

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As you know, I am a HUGE fan of the South Philly Dog. It’s the most underrated ballpark eat. So when the Phillies and Aramark announced their new 2015 foodstuffs in a blogger-less event a Citizens Bank Park a few weeks back, I was intrigued by the updated SPD– which now includes red peppers instead of long hots and a softer roll in place of the original Italian seeded bun. It’s a whole new wiener, and doggonit, I just couldn’t wait to get my mouth on it.

The SPD now resides at the year-old Frank & Stein behind section 134. Sadly, it wasn’t until the seventh inning on Saturday that I finally got the name Frank & Stein. Ohhhhhhhh, like Frankenstein. Sometimes I’m slow. I didn’t figure out why roofs were slanted until I was in high school (so the rain will run off!). Anyway, that cleverly-named little stand is where you can find both the SPD and the New England Backyard Dog, both of which I highly recommend… for the following reasons:

 

South Philly Dog

It’s beautiful. Best in show, appearance-wise. Behold the way broccoli rabe and red peppers smother the bashful dog, who nests atop a bed of finely-placed provolone, all inside a soft bun. You’ll notice that the new version looks wildly different than the old one:

2010 South Philly Dog
2010 South Philly Dog

The old dog looks like shit in comparison, but while it had its issues, it was still the most underrated item at CBP. The new one improves upon the experience on all fronts. I didn’t even mind that the dog itself wasn’t butterflied– a typically preferred grilling method that allows for a crispy shell on four sides rather than two. On the new SPD, the rabe was fresh, with a somewhat muted bitterness, and piled on high for maximum messiness. The peppers added a bashful sweetness that will remind you of afternoons at an Italian deli in Overbrook Park or Lower Delco. The dog itself bowed down to the powerful flavors of his masters, but still brought with him a salty-meatiness that seemed to say, I’m just going to add a bit of bark to this bite. The cheese was a little less sharp than I would’ve liked, but it’s entirely possible that I was just missing it in the flavor orgy that was taking place inside my mouth. Like a masked Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut, I waded through lovely, bare ingredients as they performed what tasted like a ritualistic ceremony of excess. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on, but I knew I wanted in. Badly.

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This thing is near perfection. It’s better in almost every way possible than the previous version. Score: 8.5 out of 10.

 

New England Backyard Dog

GET. OUT. OF. HERE.

Stupid. This was stupid good. I wasn’t even going to get one until I saw it on the menu:

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Yeah, why not? Let’s play two! Unlike the SPD, which defers to its heritage with a balance of sweet and savory, the NEBD is in your face with its boldness. Wiener. Beans. Cheese. Peppers. All that atop a glaze spread inside of the bun that can only be described as sweet magic. This is what it looks like when you bite into sweet magic:

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That’s me, eating magic.

For real, the beans are great, the cheese is there, the peppers bring the heat, but it’s the sweet BBQ sauce in the bun that is a game-changer. It’s so good it’s almost not even fair for all other dogs. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but: NEBD is better than SPD. Score: 9.5 out of 10.

The only bad part of my wiener experience occurred at a water ice stand just a section down from Frank & Stein (get it, like Mary Shelley’s book?!). My wife and I forgot to grab napkins, so as we walked farther down the third base line toward left field, she stopped at the (completely empty on this cold night) water ice stand to grab a handful of napkins. I had these two bad boys, and she had just a regular hot dog because apparently I married a terrorist. Three dogs. $18. This commanded a significant recycled paper commitment. So, she grabbed about 4-6 napkins. A large quantity? Maybe, but it wasn’t gratuitous given the culinary event. The lady at the water ice stand no like:

“You’re gonna take all my napkins,” she muttered to my wife.

We thought she was joking in that playful, sometimes-overly-brusque way so many concession workers joke. We laughed. She wasn’t smiling.

“Wait, did you just yell at my wife for grabbing napkins?” I asked.

“Sure, one or two, but she took a whole handful,” the woman shot back.

“We just spent $18 on three hots dog with toppings whose origins range from Italy to Texas (the ketchup on my wife’s ISIL dog notwithstanding) and you’re going to yell at us about grabbing a few napkins? Are you serious right now?”

She then asked where we got them – as if that mattered in the least and they didn’t come from the very same Aramark that employs her – and mumbled something about never having enough napkins. I rolled my eyes and we walked away.

Here’s my advice: Buy both of those hot dogs from Frank & Stein and get your napkins from the water ice stand next to it. Lots of them. Handfuls! More than you can carry. I’m going to take some every time I walk by that lady from now on, whether I’m eating delicious dogs or not. And you should, too.

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40 Responses

  1. I prefer the AmaroDog, which is covered only in vomit. You know it tastes horrible, but you keep on eating it anyway.

  2. “The only bad part of my wiener experience….”

    Sorry there was a bad part. We all know how you love your wiener experiences.

  3. I was served by an Aramark worker who looked as if they were on work release from prison and smelled worse than a wet dog. If it were food instead of a beer I would have turned around and left without buying food.

    It amuses me that napkins are worried about when the hotdogs cost more than a large hoagie outside of sports arenas.

  4. I was at the stadium Thursday, and the $1 dogs were easily the highlight of the night. CBP is totally dead. I’ve seriously been to happier funerals.

  5. Kyle – how do you keep your body so tight when you eat that junk food all the time?

    1. Why is this concept so hard to understand? Just because you have money to spend doesn’t mean you should spend it. It’s called saving money. That’s how you accumulate money.

      1. That’s true but we are talking about the Phillies and the lower deck seats are CHEAP!!

  6. Kyle, this is why the Phillies don’t invite you to their new food showcase for members of the media — you just shelled out $18 of your own money to promote their product. Why should they invite you to the ballpark and wine and dine you when you’ll buy their shit anyway AND give them further publicity at the same time?

  7. Kyle, what’s up with your thumb? An odd skin to nail ratio- it doesn’t look right. I’m concerned for you.

  8. I swear I saw Sean Brace at CBP pouring beers this weekend, Mumbling about how he used to be a big shot in radio or something

  9. Kyle – you look like you’re holding a pile of dog-shit in your left hand. That dog looks more disgusting than an 80 year-old vagina with piss stained meat flaps. And you paid for it!!!! Sheeeeeshhhhh…

  10. You’re either one of those douchebags who thinks it’s cool to have their clothes torn circa American Eagle in 2001, or it’s time to stop dressing in the fashion style known as homeless chic.

    Look at those sleeve cuffs!

  11. It’s going to be a long season for the phils

  12. First time criticizing Kyle, but this is richly deserved.

    Frank & Stein refers to an eatery where you can get a hot dog and a beer. It’s not named after a monster. If it was, it’d be called “Josh Innes”.

    In the nineties, Frank & Stein was a franchise chain of shops that were in many shopping mall and airport food courts, at least the ones that could legally serve beer.

    When did this blog turn into the fucking food channel, anyhow?

    That thing does look absolutely awful, by the way.

  13. I want a hamburger. No, cheeseburger. I want a hot dog. I want a milkshake. I want potato chips…..

  14. You are going to make it a point to take napkins from the water ice lady? Aren’t you a badass. Grow up

  15. I wish you all wouldn’t have brought my attention to that thumb. Fucking frankenthumb up in this place. Sure that thing isn’t going to pop off and run away while your sleeping Kyle?

  16. I saw a chewed thumb nail in the picture of the dog from last year and then I saw your picture from this year. You’re fucking disgusting. You shouldn’t be allowed in public eating your fingers like that. Fucking disgusting.

  17. I’d like to put one of yo south philly dogs up my caboose, if you know what i mean….. ==========D – – (: Call me…..

  18. Is that Josh Innes in the row in front of you? And if so, did he:

    A. Try to steal your food -or-
    B. Get you those awesome seats because that’s the kind of clout he has in this town?

  19. Seriously bro….

    Any higher and you could clean the fireworks canisters on the roof.

  20. Are those awesome seats the ones reserved for bloggers??

    Those hot dogs look like shit. 18 bucks for hot dogs? Blow me.

    And that gut in front of you in the pic does look like Josh Anus. Doubt it was him though, unless they airlifted his large, untalented ass to those seats.

    Josh, since we know you read the comments: do not trust the ratings. You still suck monkey ass. Twitter is a much happier place with your silence.

  21. That photo of you eating the hot dog. Pathetic. You have such soft, feminine hands… and what is going on with that deformed stubby thumb? Have you ever done any kind of manual labor? Changed a tire, stacked wood, built something with your hands? It looks like you live a very soft life, aided by the internet. You would be the first to perish in any kind of survival-of-the-fittest or apocalyptic scenario, FYI, and if not for modern medicine and technology, evolution would have weeded out weak links like you long ago.

  22. The roll is the most important part of any sandwich. How did they taste? Did they fall apart? Were they fresh or shriveled up from being in a steam box?

    See, this is exactly what Les Bowen was talking about. Young sports writers don’t know anything beyond sports.

    1. It was super duper yummy and amazingly good. You’re welcome for my descriptive insight.

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