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Nats Park Best Bites 2017

After what ended up being a fun research trip and blog post last year, Bitches Who Brunch decided to bring back the Bearded Bitch to give you the scoop on the latest dining options at National’s Park. All kidding aside: Hi, I’m Stephanie’s husband, Gavin. Each year, she and Cori Sue allow me to find my fit with the Bitches, which is by way of sports.

Also, writing this post, I give Stephanie at least one night where she gets to put her feet up with a glass of wine and watch me bang away on the keyboard for a change—sweating as to whether or not any of my jokes will bomb. 

So, without further adieu ladies and gents, we bring you the second annual Nats Park Scouting report, or my thoughts on how to gain 12 pounds during one Nationals’ game.

See. You. Tater | Section 106

Nats Park Best Bites 2017
Chesapeake Bay Tots

Here is a list of some of the things in this world that I like: Tater tots, crabmeat, queso, and Bob Carpenter’s patented home run call, “See. You. Later!” Boy, was I excited when I learned of a new vendor at Nats Park that had combined all of these wonderful things into one, convenient bowl. Enter the Chesapeake Bay Tots served at See. You. Tater, located just past the left field bleachers next to last year’s all-star: Haute Dog. Because it was University of Maryland day at the park, we felt that it was fate when we chose the Maryland crab option, linking back to my home state and passing up other desirable options like Backyard BBQ Tots and the Totchos.

Scouting report: I really wanted these to be good, but sometimes the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.  And, in the tot game—where competition is rough and the stakes are high—this gets you into nightmare territory real quick. By about the third bite, we had a bowl of tater, queso, corn, and crab mush, and it really wasn’t particularly appetizing. However, the one redeeming quality of the mashed pa-tot-o bowl was its sheer size.

I can’t really recommend ordering this unless you have been stranded on a deserted island for the past three days, and are just unbelievably starving. That being said–if your first move after being stranded is to attend a Nationals’ game, I am left with more questions than answers.

Final Score: You say potato, I say try something else. Sorry, Bob.

Crush Bar | Section 242

Nats Park Best Bites 2017
Orange Crush

The next stop on our journey lead us to Crush Bar, which is located on the second deck in right field. Keeping it simple, it’s basically a mini-bar that serves Orange Crushes. I award extra points for honesty.

Scouting report: I am not usually a sugary-drink type of fellow, but sometimes a blogger is forced to try and identify with his audience. This, coupled with the facts that Steph really wanted one and that it was 181 degrees outside, quickly made me into a sugary-drink type of fellow. Lo and behold, the Orange Crush was actually really good, and superbly refreshing. I really enjoyed it!

Final Score: Orange you gonna try one?

Catchfly by Mike Isabella | Section 301

Nats Park Best Bites 2017
Fried pickle basket

Hidden way up in the top of the left field seats, basically at the top of the stadium, is a small crop of new restaurants and an open-air area filled with picnic tables. This is actually a really cool place to watch the game, because it offers tremendous views of the city and the Anacostia River, without the crowds on the lower levels. Not only is it a great place to go with a group of friends, but it is also home to Catchfly by Mike Isabella, our natural next destination. We ordered the fried pickles and the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich. One was great and one was a mess. Please continue reading to find out which was which.

Scouting report: I ordered the fried pickles because both Steph and I have a very weird affinity for pickles. I can’t really explain it, but I would say that we probably eat between three and seven times more pickles together than most newly married couples. Keeps the love alive. Anyway, I basically got them as a joke to surprise Steph, but those dang fried pickles ended up being really good. Battered and served with a creamy dipping sauce, they were a big hit, and we would absolutely order them again.

By now, armed with basic reading comprehension skills, you’ve probably gathered that the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich was a mess. It wasn’t figuratively a mess–it’s a fried chicken sandwich slathered in hot sauce, which probably won’t ever taste horrible–but instead it was literally a mess. A couple of bites in and you will end up with red, super-hot sauce all over your hands, your face, your shirt, and your life. It basically just ended up being more trouble than it was worth. No one wants to sit through nine innings of baseball looking like they just got eating lessons from a baby. Clean it up–this isn’t football.

Final Score: Pick the pickles or bring a bunch of wet naps.

Jammin’ Island BBQ | Section 243

Nats Park Best Bites 2017
Ribs and chicken platter with yucca fries and coleslaw

During last year’s review, Haute Dog stole the show, and was immediately crowned an All-Star. At this point during our trip to the park, the innings were dwindling and I was starting to get dizzy from the caloric intake, but I really felt like I had yet to uncover another heavy hitter. This once-annual post is my only opportunity to make sure you are well fed, so I wasn’t leaving until I found another true winner. Thank goodness our next stop was Jammin’ Island, because it was really hot and I kind of wanted to go home.

Scouting report: We split the ribs and chicken platter, which came with sides of yucca fries and coleslaw. This meal is more expensive than most in the park, but is also plenty of food to split between two or three people. The ribs were perfectly tender, and came smothered in a BBQ-like sauce that had a little special kick at the end. Same with the chicken, which was juicy and delicious. Halfway through the platter I told Steph that this may be the best meal I ever had at Nats Park, and, although neither of us was overly hungry when we ordered the platter, it magically all disappeared.

One important thing to note about Jammin’ Island–don’t go here if you are in any rush–they definitely serve their food on “Island Time!”

Final score: Well, I hope you like jammin’, I hope you like jammin’–I wanna jam’ it with you!

Nats Park Best Bites 2017

Gavin, Guest Bro

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