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Ballpark Revelation

Mrs. Smith | May 17, 2002 02:17 PM

While witnessing the spanking that the Braves gave the Giants on Wednesday afternoon, I wandered along the lower level of PacBell park past homeplate into left field. Mr. Smith was still hungry back in the seats and I had promised to bring back provisions. I found a nacho stand (I think they called it macho nacho or something like it) and looked at their wares. The options, I believe, to top your chips were: cheese sauce, vegetables including jalapenos, (white onions, sliced carrots, and jalapenos -- sorry can't find the tilda-n on my keyboard. More on these veggies later.), black beans, grated orange cheese, and beef. I skipped the black beans and beef (though they looked pretty good and surprisingly fresh) and got one ladle-full of cheese sauce and a big helping of vegetables. I wasn't expecting much, and I was very surprised.

The cheese sauce was not the plasticine velveta goo at all. I think it may actually have been a canned or packaged "real" (meaning a milk-based white sauce with cheese melted into it) cheese sauce. And did I detect a note of beer in it, as a good cheese sauce should have? Maybe it was my baseball-fevered mind playing tricks on me, but the sauce was definitely above average for ballpark fare.

The vegetables were so good, I'm trying to replicate them at home. They were steamed onions, not carmelized, and they were cooked but retained a crunch. The carrots were diagonally sliced and were perfectly cooked -- which means they must have been cooked separately from the onions since they would take much longer. The jalapenos were numerous and temperature-hot, but not mushy. How did they do this? And the whole thing was bathed in a very light coating of a vinegary-oil-garlic-herb dressing. Fantastic on the somewhat thick, non-greasy, non-salted tortilla chips.

It was nacho heaven for me. What a find! I will have them everytime I go to the ballpark now. Chowhounds who have heard of my spicephobias in the past will applaud me -- I snapped up every one of the jalapenos that Mr. Smith didn't get to first, and enjoyed the afterburn in my mouth washed down with a Pale Ale. I've learned to love capsicum!

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