A food blogger’s open letter to Magic Johnson

Dear Mr. Johnson (and other wealthy people who now own the Dodgers),

Eating at Dodger Stadium was once a treat. Going to stadium in the late 80’s and 90’s as a kid, we were delighted with delicious Dodger Dogs and a bag of perfectly roasted peanuts. Then we’d finish off the warm summer evening with a Carnation Chocolate Malt or two. As a food lover maybe my tastes have evolved over the years but no pun intended, let’s be frank, the food at Dodger Stadium flat out stinks nowadays.

Efforts have been made in the past to bring more local flavor to Dodger Stadium food. It’s all been short lived. King Taco had a stint and was replaced with Camacho’s, institutionalized Mexican food at its worst. Canter’s was DOA as it too suffered from corporate food punishment and was no where near the authentic experience of eating at the Fairfax Avenue deli. I never tried it, but I think CPK was there and gone just as fast. Last year saw the introduction of the Victory Knot pretzel, a mimicked item from other stadiums. If you were lucky enough to get to the field level you could consume a two pound doughy pretzel with three dipping sauces. Hardly anything to get excited about. Although people did, there wasn’t much else to celebrate last year.

Don’t get me started on the once beloved Dodger Dog. They ain’t what they used to be. The last few I’ve had at the game were broken or limp, halfway grilled, sitting in a steamer for hours, with stale and soggy buns. Not even the most prolific LA Times food writer could twist words and make it seem somewhat edible. How difficult is it to grill dogs to order, pull out a fresh steamed bun, slap in a grilled foot long, and serve it up? I’ve been to other stadiums that seem to manage this process just fine without enduring terribly long lines.

Where’s the el-lay soul in Dodger Stadium food? Other stadiums do it right. You can get a burger from Shake Shack at Citi Field, Camden Yard has Boog’s Barbecue, Philly fans can get a roast pork–provolone–broccoli rabe sandwich from South Philly original Tony Luke’s. What do we have to look forward to? Let’s take a look at some of our options… A cheese burger from Carl’s Jr that has been sitting under a heat lamp for two hours, fried rice from a cartoon Panda, a lifeless South Street cheese steak (ummm, a Phillie sandwich?!), and just about the worst burrito I’ve ever had in my entire life at Camacho’s.

LA fans should be outraged in a town that has some of the best ethnic food served up on nearby street corners. Levy Restaurant group seems content to serve up mediocre food at outrageous prices. There will be purists that disagree with me. Fans that think going to Dodger Stadium isn’t about the food, we’re old school, classic. All we need is a hot dog and some peanuts. But if we don’t keep up with what other ball clubs are doing, Dodger stadium will become just that, a relic.

Imagine an open air dining pavilion beyond the outfield featuring some of our cities favorite eateries. People would get to the game early, converge at community tables with big screens for watching various MLB games, enjoying shakes from Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor or a brew from the Golden Road Beer Garden. Now your choice for LA’s favorite ball park food includes King Taco, Umami Burger, Pinks, Versailles, In-n-Out, and even TGI Fridays thrown in for spicy wings and loaded potato skins. FYI Magic, if you need a Dodger Food Czar, you know who to come to.

Artist rendering only, the new food pavilion would be on the ground level so the great view of the Ravine would remain unobstructed.

Little do people know, they can bring whatever food they want with them into the stadium. This from the Dodger web site: “Food is permitted from outside the stadium provided it is not in bottles, cans, coolers or thermoses. Unbroken, factory sealed plastic bottles of water and other non-alcoholic beverages of 1 liter or less are permitted.”

I call out to all Dodger fans who yearn for a better food experience at the stadium! Instead of succumbing to overpriced slop, grab sandwiches for a day game from Eastside Market or Bay Cities, a carnitas burrito from King Taco, Cachetadas and Vampiros from Mexicali Taco & Co, chili dogs from Tommy’s, or a cheese and charcuterie plate from Whole Foods.

Imagine all the money you will save to spend on those $12 beers.

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Author:Matt Mitchell

A lover of everything LA has to offer, Matt created Dig Lounge to tell his friends about all the fun things to do in the city. Matt has worked in the dot com world since 1996, including some of the top online entertainment companies and digital marketing firms. He currently works as a Digital Producer.

15 Responses to “A food blogger’s open letter to Magic Johnson”

  1. Lili
    April 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    I recently read an article about Angel stadium carrying a new line of craft beer. I’m a doyer fan but man the sound of a nice craft beer while watching my boys in blue would be heaven. for a second.the thougt of becoming An angle fan was on the back of my mind, but soely for the craft beer. I dont see why we have to be subjected to disgusting budwiser and water budlight. I mean seriously? I mean let’s get real Golden road is right down the street and I’m sure if we all worked Together we would make way more money for every one, including our neighborhood brewery and our beloved stadium. as for the food I am disappointed for the lack of a better word, that we have to deal with the soggy and sometimes over cooked buns. I miss the old dogs when I was a kid. but any who. I hope this letter brings this situation to his attention, and that the community has a little more pride in our stadium. :)

  2. Lodge Lurker
    April 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I’d rather have Eagle Rock Revolution than Golden Road. GR is much too tasteless,,,Too main stream. Tastes too much like the mega beer you’d get in super markets.
    IN and Out and a Pint of revolution from Eagle Rock or how about ANYTHING from the Breury or Stone Brewing would be excellent…….The only thing GR does well is Internet marketing. I wish teir beers tasted better as well as their food.

  3. Lodge Lurker
    April 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    The GR pale ale tastes so much like the psuedo-craft beer from Bud its hilarious. thanks Lili for putting a beer name to what I bought a few days ago. It was bugging me all weekend. Where have I had this beer before????

  4. Renée Barrett
    April 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Agree 100%! Don’t forget to include http://www.philippes.com/ & http://www.yangchow.com/ as great local area options to bring to the ballpark.

  5. Matt Mitchell
    April 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    I really like the GR Hef Cans. Eagle Rock has some good brews too, I am just using GR as an example. I would love to have more local brews. Eagle Rock, Angel City, etc.

  6. Matt Mitchell
    April 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Thanks for the comment Lili, spread the word to your friends! Have them like the story on FB. Maybe we can make some noise. What’s your favorite place around the stadium to eat?

  7. Lodge Lurker
    April 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I was at a place at Farmers Market and I had an amazing Saison from a brewery in Moorpark, I believe they are called Enegren,,,,,,,,,Fan Ta Bu Lous!…..Also,There is a brewery in Agoura called Ladyface that makes unreal beers……..There are quite a few exceptional beer makers in the L.A. area that deserve recognition and should be in Dodger Stadium well before GR ever gets there.

  8. Adam
    April 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I concur 100% with this. Dodger Stadium food flat out sucks. Last week, I went to the opening of Marlins Park in Miami, expecting the outdated and gross food that I had grown up eating at the Marlin’s old stadium (well the Dolphin’s stadium to be exact), but I was pleasantly surprised. I split a delicious and quite large lobster roll along with a “Sobe Dog” – a hot dog with mango slaw, also fantastic. Neither were cheap, but they weren’t a lot more than the cost of a Dodger Dog. I’d rather pay high prices for signature stadium food that enhance the experience. If the Marlins can serve some damn good food, so can the Dodgers.

  9. Lodge Lurker
    April 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    There is also an amazing brewery in Elsegundo..El Segundo Brewing Co……..Very good stuff brewing all over the Southland.

  10. Lodge Lurker
    April 12, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Matt, just found this, I bet youll laugh your butt off…
    American Hipster Food Blogger Music Video-Sung like it was a Pet Shop Boys Song.

  11. Matt Mitchell
    April 12, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    HA, that’s great. Thanks for the link! I’m gonna tweet this, the irony…

  12. Lodge Lurker
    April 12, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    I do the same thing but with beer.

  13. April 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Nailed it Matty.

  14. Dad
    May 17, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Glad to see that those trips to see the Dodgers made a lasting impression! I

  15. chimichanga
    May 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    I still eat the chocolate malts when I go to dodger stadium. I wish they still had cool a coo ice cream sandwiches.