Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Baseball Burger: PK Park

"Professional baseball is on the wane. Salaries must come down or the interest of the public must be increased in some way. If one or the other does not happen, bankruptcy stares every team in the face."   
-- Chicago White Stockings owner Albert Spalding, 1881
What is it about baseball that keeps us going series after series, and season after season?  Is it the possibility of catching a foul ball, or seeing a perfectly executed double-play?  Is it the sun on your neck, with a beer and some peanuts in hand, as you sing take me out to the ball game or heckle the other team's right fielder?

Baseball holds a particular soft spot in this blogger's heart.  America's past time is not my favorite sport to watch, nor is it my favorite to play, but something about a baseball game on a sunny afternoon can completely reset me, and make me feel miles away from responsibility.  It's something I enjoyed as a kid, and hasn't become any less fun as I got older.

Lord knows it is not the thrilling, edge-of-your-seat game play that is the staying factor.  Don't get me wrong, watching a close game into the late innings, or a pitcher who is really clicking can be as exciting as anything else in sports, but most of the time baseball is... well, it's boring.  I know all of you baseball lovers are gonna take umbrage to that last statement, but hey, this is my blog, and so I'm standing by it.  It's not the most exciting game around.

Probably the thing that really makes me always down to to catch a game is the promise of delicious baseball park food.  Look, I'm a simple man, and if you sit me down with a beer, a burger, and the sun on my back, you could probably even get me to sit through a live rendition of The English Patient set to the music of Air Supply.  

It was in this spirit that I went to the newly completed PK Park for my first Duck Baseball game Friday afternoon.  The field was finished just in time for the season to start, and I had likely waited too long to get there and catch a game.  The Ducks were set to play the Nevada Wolf Pack, who came into the series with a 10-6 record, blah, blah, blah...  

Did I mention that PK Park has a beer garden, or that they serve a burger that had already been described to me as "really good"?  

My first impression of PK was that it was incredibly well put together.  If this team isn't immediately going to be tops in the Pac-10, their stadium sure is.  I mean, its small, but absolutely beautiful.  The field is all turf, including the base-paths and the warning track; as far as I could tell, the only dirt in the whole place was on the pitchers mound.  

The menu is limited, and expensive.  Beers are going to cost you six bucks whether you get a plastic bottle Bud, or a glass bottle Widmer "micro" that is kindly poured into a plastic glass whether you want it that way or not.  

The burger, cleverly titled the "Fielder's Choice Hamburger," is a double-double that comes with cheddar, and caramelized onions.  It cost eight bucks, which really is not atrocious, but for a family trying to catch a cheap local baseball game my seem a bit pricey.  

You order your burger under one tent, where you receive your bun and package of Tim's Cascade potato chips, and then you get your patties and onions fresh off the grill at an adjacent tent.  It was different, but it seemed like a pretty good system, and there was almost no wait.  I am guessing if the place was packed, it might be a ten minute ordeal.

Upon first glance, the burger looked... good.  The onions were a nice twist, and there was plenty of beef; if I had to guess, I would say two 1/4 lb. patties.  

I was a bit surprised that they didn't give you lettuce, onion, tomato with your bun, but you could garnish to your hearts desire at the designated condiment station.  

I went with the stock package on this guy, because between the caramelized onions and the juicy grill patties there seemed like there was going to be plenty of flavor, and I am a less-is-more kind of fellow.  

As far as the eating part of the process goes, I have to say, the Fielder's Choice is on par with some of the better burgers I have reviewed to date.  It is really, really good.  

The beef was grilled superbly, the patties were the perfect thickness, and the caramelized onions were one of the better touches to a burger I have had recently.  

It started well, it finished well, and I didn't feel bad at all about the eight bucks I shelled out on it.  

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  1. I'm all outta love...I'm so lost without you...

  2. The photos of the "last dregs of the burger" are becoming a unique selling point for your blog.

  3. Yeah, I have had people make critical comments upon viewing me pose and shoot the dying burger, but I feel that is an important part of the process. No one takes just one bite of a burger, right?

  4. Wow,great content and your blog design is just gorgeous. keep up your work, i'm sure many people would agree with me!

  5. Glad to have found your site. I'm a big burger fan, always a little disappointed in the burger scene here in the Eug. I'll be visiting your blog again for more tips.