Baseball season is now underway, and that means tailgating, peanuts, pricey beer, and absurdly mammoth creations like the Boomstick and, new this year, the Beltre Buster, a one-pound burger topped with a half-pound of bacon, grilled onions, and cheese on a pretzel bun. (Don't forget to bring the Tums.)
Now, we pay homage to the Texas Rangers' home opener of the 2013 baseball season with a comprehensive guide to eating and drinking at Rangers Ballpark.
Rangers Ballpark's Five Standouts
Captain Morgan Club: This two-level restaurant and sportsbar is open to all ticket-holders before, after, and during the game; an expansive menu includes burgers, salads, sandwiches, and BBQ. [Photo: Rangers Ballpark]
Center Field Plaza: An excellent place to start your food hunt, here's where you can find Center Field Market (hello, gluten-free items!), Smokehouse 557 (turkey legs and friends), and Ryan's Express (gourmet burgers including the absurd Beltre Buster).
[Photo: Santana S./Yelp]
Food Network Signature Sandwiches: Here's where you can find sandwich creations from the home of Paula Deen and friends, including a Texafied Reuben with brisket and a Cuban. [Section 18]
[Photo: Food Network]
Fry Depot: Choose Cajun or garlic fries, but remember the gum or your teammates might not appreciate your seventh inning cheers. [Sections 9 and 42]
[Photo: Khoa N./Yelp]
Texas Sized 24: Sorry, but you can't go to the ballpark and not at least attempt to eat one of the absurd signature items like the one-pound Beltre Buster or the two-foot Boomstick. (Think of the photo ops.)
[Photo: FW Star-Telegram]
* indicates special Eater recommendations
Ale House, Sections 27, 51: Beers including 312 Urban, Budweiser, and Goose Island Honker.
24in Texas Sized, Section 127: Yes, the name sounds slightly pornographic; this is where to get the absurdly sized Boomstick, Sausage Slugger, Murph-a-Dilla, Beltre Buster, and Most Valuable Pretzel.
BOOMSTICK!, Sections 16, 44: The exclamation point seems appropriate. Head here for the 24" hot dog with chili, cheese, grilled onions, and jalapenos.
Backyard Beer, Sections 17, 44: Head here for Bud, Miller, and other classic ballpark beers.
Bacon Wrapped Dogs, Sections 17, 22, 26, 50: The name says it all, and there's also brats, sodas, bottled water, and the bacon wrapped dog's best friend, BEER.
Ballpark Favorites, Sections 3, 9, 15, 33: This is where you'll find all-American stadium fare like nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts, plus sodas, bottled water, and beer.
Batter's Eye Club: A special climate-controlled seating area with indoor amenities at Center Field.
Beers of Belgium, Section 115: Imported beers for all you fancy folk.
*Beers of Texas, Section 26, 46, 52: Texas-born brews including selections from Rahr & Sons.
Beers of the World Sections 11, 39: More imports.
Big Dog, Section 16: Home of the sausage sundae, a quintessentially Texas creation with a smoked sausage, mashed potatoes, chopped brisket, macaroni and cheese, topped off with a red cherry pepper. Also sausage on a stick, hot cheddar sausage, and kebobs, plus soda, beer, and bottled water.
Bottoms Up Beer, Section 49: Ice cold Bud Light, if that's what you're into.
Capital One Club, entrance at Section 24: Formerly the Cuervo Club, this sit-down joint with a full bar has been expanded and renovated to include more seats. Private club until the third inning; after that, anyone on the lower level is welcome. A vast menu includes sandwiches, salads, wings, nachos, popcorn shrimp, paninis, fish tacos, sliders, burgers, and desserts.
Casa de Fuego, Section 125: South-of-the-border (err, sort of) creations like nachos, taco salads, Rossome Nachos (tortilla chips with brisket, chicken, or taco meat, topped off with lettuce, fresh pico queso, and Doritos, because why the hell not), and Chimi-Cheesecake, which is basically cheesecake filling stuffed inside a sweet taquito, fried, and topped with cinnamon-sugar and strawberry sauce.
Center Field Market, Center Field Plaza: Here's where you can find gluten-free foods, a huge selection of bottled drinks, snacks, sundries, and more.
Chicken and More, Sections 11, 21, 31: Here's where to find chicken tenders, buffalo chicken tenders, and chicken sandwiches, plus foot-long corn dog baskets, hot dogs, and french fries; wash it down with sodas, bottled water, and beer.
Coney Island, Section 40: Foot-long chili dogs and Chicago dogs, nachos, and peanuts, plus sodas, bottled water, and beer.
*Food Network Signature Sandwiches, Section 18: Here's where you can find the Texas Reuben, with brisket, American cheese, spicy Russian dressing, and red pepper coleslaw on Texas toast, plus The Cuban, which has pulled pork, cheddar, ham, pickles, and mustard-based BBQ sauce on a ciabatta bun.
Frozen Drinks, Sections 15, 25, 46, 51, 115, 129: Frozen margaritas and the ilk, for when you're itching for a brain freeze.
*Fry Depot, Sections 9 and 42: These garlic and Cajun fries don't mess around. Also sweet potato versions, and soda, bottled water, and beer.
Garlic Fries, Sections 10, 28, 40: Guaranteed to give you terrible breath in the most delicious way. Soda, beer, and bottled water available, but sorry, no mouthwash.
Gourmet Burgers, Section 49: Get yer $12 burgers here, including the A1 Steakhouse Burger with grilled onions, and the Ranger Melt, with American cheese and grilled onions on Texas toast.
Home Plate Butcher Block, Section 125: Home of the Ranch Hand Steak Sandwich with fried onions and steak sauce on a ciabatta roll, and the Rio Grande with "bistro sauce", chimichurri and grilled onions, plus The Link, an all-beef hot dog with grilled onions on a hoagie roll.
Murph-a-Dilla, Section 29: A massive 24" quesadilla featuring cheddar, brisket, lettuce, pico, nacho cheese, and jalapenos stuffed inside a flatbread on a bed of Doritos. $26; don't attempt this one alone. You can find the equally huge Beltre Buster here for the same price -- it's a one pound beef burger with a half-pound of bacon, grilled onions, and Monterey Jack on a pretzel bun, served with chips.
Nachos Corner, Sections 8, 42: Fulfill all your nacho needs here with the Rossome Nachos, Super Nachos, and Taki Tacos, a new twist on Frito Pie with Takis spicy corn chips, served in the bag and topped with beef, nacho cheese, sour cream and pico.
Rick's Popcorn Wagon, Section 48: Freshly popped popcorn including flavored varieties, and roasted nuts, plus soda and bottled water.
Ryan's Express, Center Field Plaza: Gourmet burgers including the $26 Beltre Buster.
Smokehouse 557, Center Field Plaza: Smoky goodness including brisket sandwiches, turkey legs, corn on the cob, and roast chicken.
*Spanish Cream Corn, Section 36: You know it better as elotes.
Stadium Sweets Ice Cream, Sections 112, 123, 136: Feed your sweet tooth with cotton candy, ice cream floats, and sundaes, including those served in souvenir helmets, because ice cream just tastes better out of a plastic helmet. (Go to Section 123 for beer and BEER FLOATS.)
Street Tacos, Section 47: Brisket, chicken, and ground beef tacos served on housemade flour tortillas with all the fixins.
*Sweet Baby Rays BBQ, Sections 115 and 134: The barbecue sandwiches are just fine, but the Ranger Tater is definitely the most fun to order out loud (it's a baked potato with brisket).
*The Backstop, Section 127: Here's where to find such treasures as waffle-cut garlic fries, waffle fry nachos, Chopped Buffalo Fries (waffle fries tossed with chicken chunks and buffalo sauce), and Smokehouse Fries (waffle fries with brisket, BBQ sauce, and fried onions), plus burgers served with waffle fries.
*The Chipper, Section 132: This stand serves up freshly fried potato chips with various toppings, like the Island Style with bacon, pineapple salsa, coconut, and brisket, chicken, or taco meat, or the Southwest Chips with queso, pico, and sour cream, plus your choice of meat.
The Sausage Slugger, Sections 17, 28, 42: If you've got cash burning a hole in your pocket, go here for a $26, two-foot Polish sausage with grilled onions or 'kraut.
Wine, Section 37: For something a little classier than beer, go here.
LEXUS CLUB LEVEL:
Ale House, Section 241: Craft and specialty beers.
Ballpark Favorites, Sections 202, 242: This is where you'll find all-American stadium fare like nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts, plus sodas, bottled water, and beer.
Beers of Texas, Section 209: Texas-born brews.
Dublin Up Irish Pub, Section 211: To get away from the hubbub, head to this enclosed, air-conditioned bar with plenty o' beer and liquor.
Frozen Drinks, Sections 221, 232: Frozen margaritas and the ilk, for when you're itching for a brain freeze.
Tex Mex, Section 216: Rossome Nachos, Super Nachos, and Taki Tacos, a new twist on Frito Pie with Takis spicy corn chips, served in the bag and topped with beef, nacho cheese, sour cream and pico.
BBQ & Boomstick, Section 326: This stand has pretty much everything: The infamous Boomstick, nachos, chicken tender baskets, BBQ sandwich baskets, sausages, hot dogs, peanuts, French fries, cheese fries, plus sodas, bottled water, lemonade, and draft beer.
BOOMSTICK!, Sections 325: The exclamation point seems appropriate. Head here for the 24" hot dog with chili, cheese, grilled onions, and jalapenos.
Ballpark Favorites, Sections 303, 310, 316, 319, 327, 336, 343: This is where you'll find all-American stadium fare like nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts, plus sodas, bottled water, and beer.
Beers of Texas, Section 328: Texas-born brews.
Beers of the World Section 325: Imported beers.
Frozen Drinks, Section 327: Frozen margaritas and the ilk, for when you're itching for a brain freeze.
Hot Dogs & Funnel Cakes, Section 340: Sometimes you just need fried dough; there's also hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, jumbo pretzels, and beverages including beer.
Stadium Sweets Ice Cream, Sections 338: Feed your sweet tooth with cotton candy, ice cream floats, and sundaes, including those served in souvenir helmets, because ice cream just tastes better out of a plastic helmet.
The Shortstop, Section 343: Dogs, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, and beverages.