Tropicana Field Food:
Tip #1 – The Cuban Sandwich
The Trop has an impressive selection of food options. They have pulled pork nachos, half-pound burgers, and hot dogs with toppings like dried peppers and Tabasco sauce. Or you could stick with the familiar Papa John’s pizza or a Bloomin’ Onion from Outback Steakhouse.
But if you’re visiting the Trop and want to try something local, go for that Cuban sandwich.
For the uninitiated, a Cuban sandwich is ham, sliced pork, and Genoa salami topped with Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, all on a flattened (pressed) roll. It sounds bigger than it is, but it still makes for a nice meal. You can get a whole or half a sandwich.
So it’s sort of just a ham and cheese sandwich, except there’s more meat in it, and the roll has a crusty texture. The Cuban at Tropicana Field is just how a sandwich should be—warm, crunchy on the outside and with a gooey texture on the inside.
And while the Trop has ample variations on the hot dog, a Cuban is a good change of pace at a ballgame.
At the Trop Cubans are available at the East-West Delicatessen in the center field area, or you can find them at the Diamond Classics, Grand Slam Grills, Ybor Station or any of the Panini sandwiches kiosks throughout the ballpark.
In other words, they’re a fairly popular item here. At the East-West they will make them and press them in front of you; I don’t know if that is done at other locations.
Hot dogs are still the food of choice for most at the ballpark, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But Tropicana Field are among the many ballparks where you can sample more local flavor, and the Cuban is as good as it gets.
Tip #2 – Make Your Cheesesteak Authentic
Cheesesteaks are available pretty much everywhere these days, but as a Philly area native I have some standards for them.
For example, as a general rule I avoid cheesesteaks if the “Philly” qualifier is in the name on the menu. For some reason, whenever the word “Philly” is added, the cheesesteak is anything but Philly-level quality.
At Tropicana Field is a stand called World Series Cheesesteaks. If you’ll recall, the Rays opponent in their only World Series appearance was the Philadelphia Phillies; whether that is the reason for the name I don’t know. But World Series serves “Philly-style” cheesesteaks.
Now not having tried the cheesesteaks at the Trop (my stomach is only so big) I can’t offer an opinion as to their quality. Just reporting what I saw on the Rays website: that you have a choice of a beef cheesesteak with cheddar cheese, or a chicken cheese steak with American cheese. You can have either topped with mushrooms, peppers and onions.
Okay, that doesn’t sound too bad…except that generally in Philadelphia, your choice of cheese is either provolone or Cheez Whiz. I’ve rarely seen anything else.
So if it turns out that the cheddar they’re talking about is sliced or grated, you can go to most any concession stand and get yourself a cheese sauce cup for a small fee. Normally these are for nachos, but I expect they would work well on a “Philly” cheesesteak.
I didn’t have a chance to try World Series Cheesesteaks; I don’t know how good they are. Just saying, that if you want to make it as authentically “Philly” as possible—and you would be surprised how few restaurants even here in South Jersey understand that—then grab a cheese cup and run with that.
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