Food Survey Results – Part III of III

Posted: August 19, 2012 in Randomness
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Aug. 19, 2012

The third and final part of the survey has arrived. We first took a look at the best eateries in Orlando, and then broadened our horizon with the best in the world. Now we get a little specific by touching on a subject called “Press Box Meals.” Working in sports, I cannot control the result on the field. But what I can control is how much grub I can stuff in my belly before games. And during my travels, some press boxes deliver a lot better than others.

Question No. 3 – What is the best meal you have ever consumed in a press box (or at an athletic event)?

Starting my career in college, it was always a strange pregame meal at Michigan State. We sat in a very old, crowded room on a middle level of the press box tower, and it was usually cold and dark as well (MSU renovated the tower as soon as I left, of course). Things on the food front would vastly improve, though.

I first answered this survey question by going with the barbeque in the East Carolina football press box. But then I realized my memory was completely failing. For my answer, as well as several others, here is the list:

-Isleworth Golf & Country Club. OK, this isn’t your typical sporting event since it’s the home of an incredible number of multi-millionaires. And when I drive through it’s clear someone like me doesn’t belong there. But I still get to work a college golf event inside its gates every now and then. And on my first visit I was eating lunch a table over from Arnold Palmer. My focus was not on possibly the greatest golfer who ever lived; it was on the food buffet. Gourmet burgers. Different types of French fries including the waffle variety. Sandwiches. Cake. And this past year they added a portable ice cream cart filled with my favorite: ice cream sundae cones. Being in a picture with Arnie and Mark O’Meara as we tried to find a golf ball was great, but that doesn’t compare to the breathtaking food offered by a place whose back-of-the-house dishwashers probably make more than me. – BO

-Corky’s BBQ (not a press box meal) – JF

-Tie – McNeese State where the jambalaya was amazing. And Liberty Bowl when Rendezvous went over the top. – MD

-UCF baseball 2009 – Tailgaters brought fresh grilled fish – mahi mahi – DB

-Citrus Bowl subs – JG

-Georgia Dome for the 2007 SEC Tournament and for the 2007 Final Four. I still remember overloading on cookies. – JM

-Penn State had a huge spread w/ 3-4 entrees, numerous sides, 2-3 desserts. – AS

-Anything at MSU’s Spartan Stadium – third floor of the club level (after the renovations) – KM

-Florida baseball – Those garlic knots were out of this world – ED

-Georgia Southern had some mean BBQ in their press box when I was there. – BS

-Probably 2008 or 2009 – Isleworth chefs had a make your own pasta day – DR

-What bothers me most about press box meals is that no matter what is being served, there’s always got to be some bitching and moaning from someone about the free meal they were just dished. – JC

-I assume that brats and tots isn’t an option (in reference to UCF baseball the last three years). The Washington Nationals treated us to Amici’s Italian food in Viera, Fla., each game during the 2012 Spring Training season. Their garlic knots and baked ziti helped me add 15 lbs. in that one month but it was worth it (not really, I’m expecting a heart attack any minute now). – JH

-Oy! The chowder at Boston College, the all-encompassing buffet at UTEP, the Rendezvous ribs in Memphis, the Cajun fiesta at LSU, the uniqueness of the lamb at Kansas State, South Carolina’s southern spread, Virginia Tech’s BBQ, Georgia Tech’s sweet tea… And one recent addition is the stuff that Holy Cross served at NCAA hockey in Worcester in March. Beef tenderloin and all sorts of good stuff with it right down to a NCAA hockey themed red velvet cake for dessert. – LT

-(A fantastic, four paragraph answer!) Most memorable has to be the buffet at UTEP. They get all of these little places around campus to donate food, so it’s very eclectic. You might find a couple of Domino’s pizzas sitting next to a big pan of tamales from some mom-n-pop place sitting next to a tray with a dozen subs from some little local place. The food is all pretty good, but it’s crazy all of the different things from different places. Needless to say, the Mexican items from the little taquerias are probably the best things.

Best in C-USA has to be Memphis… When UM moved from the Pyramid to the Fed-Ex Forum they had time left on their catering contract with Rendezvous.  It’s carried over and each time we’ve been there it’s been Rendezvous BBQ in the press box. The ribs are good (dry rub), but my personal favorites are the brisket and the smoked sausage.

Another great one was UL-Lafayette… Cane’s chicken fingers as an appetizer before the game followed by fantastic shrimp etouffee. Sometimes the least likely places have the best food, I’ve found.

But the overall best I think I’ve ever had… And I hate to give you this one… Was at Michigan State in 1989. It was one of those days they were honoring a few agricultural/food producers in Michigan. They had lamb stew over fresh homemade mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and handpacked ice cream. Wow. Although you also have to give a strong honorable mention to Boston College for their fresh prepared pasta and Legal Seafood Clam Chowder. – JK

  1. efeekom says:

    Totally agree with JK on Raising Cane’s! Not as good as Huey Magoo’s but it is fantastic nonetheless. The Isleworth buffet sounds good too. I think any a meal shared with PGA legends would be the best “Press Box Meal.”

  2. Leigh says:

    The Georgia Dome suggestion on here reminds me of one of my all-time favorite media meal centered stories. I worked the 1999 SEC basketball tournament there. The championship game was a noon tip between Kentucky and Arkansas so it was brunch in the dining room pregame and pretty standard stuff, scrambled eggs, either hash browns or home fries, plus bacon and sausage.

    A reporter in line near us commented how odd it was that we were getting ready for the game by eating Arkansas’ mascot. Mike Bianchi’s snappy retort, “good thing it isn’t Kentucky’s”. Ha!

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