Reporters Sarah Meehan and Christina Tkacik taste test some of the new food options available at Orioles Park at Camden Yards and the O's take on the New York Yankees on Opening Day 2019. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun video)
Some of us have a knack for making everything all about the food. From weddings to staff meetings to children’s birthday parties, it’s really all we care about.
Naturally, when it comes to Opening Day at Camden Yards, you’ll find people like us, getting our steps in doing laps around the stadium, searching for the best concession stand in the place.
While lines were long at returning favorites like Boog’s BBQ, which has much expanded its footprint at the ballpark, there are also several new spots that are worth a try, including Jade Satay from New York, Maryland-owned Harris Creek Oyster & Seafood and Charm City Chicken Shack.
Here’s what we thought of some of the new offerings at Camden Yards.
» Chicken satay at Jade Satay
CT: The bright orange chicken satays at this new stand are served on waffle fries and topped with a sweet translucent peanut sauce. It’s unusual looking. But after one bite I wanted more. I loved how sweet and buttery the sauce was, and it complemented the chicken surprisingly well. I also appreciated how it was served on sticks — which made it easy to share.
SM: The neon pink of the chicken skewers was a bit alarming at first, and based on their color, I was expecting serious spice. But the first bite revealed that both the chicken and the sauce were mild. The peanut sauce that drenched the skewers and the fries was tasty, even if it was a little too butter-heavy for my liking. And though it tasted good on the chicken, I was more surprised by how well it paired with the fries. The skewers made large pieces of chicken easy to eat.
» Fried Cajun Catfish Sandwich at Harris Creek Oyster & Seafood
CT: This dish is made with Chesapeake Bay blue catfish, which is an invasive species. So eat up, for the environment’s sake! It was fried perfectly — crispy on the outside and light and incredibly fresh on the inside. But it needed some salt and seasoning. The accompanying Old Bay kettle chips were much more flavorful, and the coleslaw was a nice touch. The quality of the fish made me eager to try some of the other items on the menu at Harris Creek, like their fried oysters or crab cake.
SM: The outer coating of the fish was nice and crispy, but for a sandwich that was advertised as Cajun, there was nothing Cajun about it. Even Old Bay would have helped spice it up. But the fish itself was plump, fresh and flaky — a perfect canvas for a solid sandwich and a lighter alternative to burgers, brats and other game-day dishes.
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» Sweet heat chicken sandwich at Charm City Chicken Shack
SM: I liked the chicken sandwich overall. The breading stayed nice and crispy, even after it was lathered in a spicy honey sauce, which was well-balanced with both sweet and spicy flavors. The roll was lackluster, but the pickles were a perfect addition. Served in a paper boat, the sandwich was messy and would be hard to eat in the stands without dripping sticky sauce on your shirt. But I’d order it again.
CT: I agree. If you’re eating in the stands it can be a big pain in the butt to go back and wash your hands after. (Unless it’s the seventh inning and you’re just trying to kill time). However, I don’t imagine that the messiness factor will keep many people away from this wonderfully spicy sandwich, that’s like a sticky version of Nashville’s famous hot chicken sandwiches.
» Açaí bowls at Birdland Markets
SM: The açaí was a surprisingly refreshing treat after all that fried food. The base was what you expect from an açai bowl: purple, filling and tropical. The toppings — granola, coconut and almonds — were mediocre, and the bowl could have benefited from fresh fruit toppings. And don’t get me started on the raisins that were in the mix — they have no place in an açaí bowl. But overall the bowl was a nice change from the heavy foods and salty snacks that dominate the rest of the ballpark’s stands.
CT: I must be behind the times, because I had never tried an açaí bowl before today. (I also had no idea how to pronounce it. Turns out: it’s ASS-eye-EEE. Three syllables.) So I have no frame of reference for this. But I found it tasty and light — and a healthy alternative to the heavy, traditional ballpark food.
Compiled with input from readers and the newsroom, The Baltimore Sun’s list of 100 essential food experiences encompasses places people talk about, think about and come back to again and again and again.