Hot dogs, peanuts, cotton candy — a baseball stadium is heaven to fans, and sometimes a nightmare for foodies. Don't fret if you're attending baseball's first go-round in spring training; besides Phoenix's relaxed vibe and Orlando's sunny weather, they're ideal destinations for baseball fans and gourmands alike. Here are some of our favorite spots:
For the true baseball fans, stick to the pros' recommendations: USA Today caught up with some of MLB's key players for their favorite eats during spring training. The Phillies' Shane Victorino recommends Island Way Grill, a seafood restaurant in Clearwater near his home turf. For steakhouse and comfort food lovers, Matt Kemp, from the Dodgers, goes for the mac and cheese at Mastro's City Hall in Scottsdale, while the Tigers' Justin Verlander heads to Bern's Steak House in Tampa for the atmosphere.
Plenty of Phoenix places will meet foodies' standards, thanks to a helpful guide from the Phoenix New Times. Included in their recommendations are El New Yorican, near Maryvale Baseball Park, which serves Creole cooking (bonus points for being a cheap eat); Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles, near Scottsdale Stadium, for Southern fixings and red Kool-Aid; and Queen's Pizzeria and Cafe, near HoHoKam Stadium, which offers sports-friendly fare like hoagies and wings. AZ Weekly Magazine also offers up its best breakfast spots.
Orlando has no shortage of good restaurants; most are conglomerated in Downtown Disney or CityWalk at Universal Studios. During spring training, check out restaurants off the beaten track: Muchos Tequila and Tacos's list of margaritas is appealing on its own, but the quatro rio and pueblo tacos look well worth the visit. Craving barbecue? 4 Rivers Smokehouse brings Texas to Florida; the Texas Destroy sandwich with brisket, onion rings, and jalapeños is just one of the restaurant's specialty sandwiches. A healthier option: Pom Pom's Teahouse, which serves side salads with gourmet sandwiches, plus loose-leaf tea (a nice change from a beer at the game).