A couple weeks ago Thursday was my first Astros game of the season, though I luckily went to the first playoff game, the 8-2 victory in Game 1 of the ALDS of this very hopeful postseason. Health issues had prevented me from going much earlier, though I go to a media event / longtime season ticket holder event a few days before Opening Day meant to showcase the new, much more fan-friendly seating, standing and food and drink options in the outfield along with the replacement of the fairly stupid hill and overly deep centerfield and even much stupider flagpole in play at its peak.
I have been probably well over 600 major league games in fifteen or so different ballparks since I was a little kid. The Shake Shack burger I recently had at MinuteMaid was the very best food I’ve ever had at the ballpark. I have to slightly qualify that: though peanuts, Cracker Jack and hot dogs – or ice cream served in an upside-down in those oh-so-cute plastic mini batting helmets – might be part and parcel of many fans’ visits to the park, I usually demur. I went to their concession with a buddy and each of us ordered a double burger and fries. The double burgers are about two-thirds the size of a normal adult burger, and the must size to order. After he had a couple of bites, he blurted out just what I was thinking, “This is the best burger I have had in long time.”
Juicy and extremely flavorful beef that became slightly and very pleasantly greasy was buttressed by a fresh and tasty roll, slices of ripe tomatoes, unusual for burger joints, and equally fresh and actually green lettuce. My SmokeShack order also had crisp, fairly thick applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry peppers and their runny ShackSauce, a basic-tasting but complementary blend of mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and light spices. Making a difference is that, even in a ballpark setting, they use all-natural Angus beef raised without antibiotics and hormones, and the patties are cooked to medium, retaining more juice, unless otherwise requested. In New York and other cities in the northeast, the company even uses a proprietary blend of beef from the famed La Frieda Meat Purveyors in the New Jersey. And the rolls are the better-than-expected Martin’s Potato Rolls.
It was so tasty. Even better than the both Five Guys and Smash Burger, two national chains I have often enjoyed. Shake Shack’s fries are the crinkly kind, a whole lot like you pick up in the freezer section at the supermarket. The fries were quite lame and kind of sucked, actually. Don’t get the fries, get another burger or maybe a hot dog on the side.
I hope that I get lucky again and am able to make it to another ‘Stros playoff, maybe in the World Series. If not, there is another local address in the Galleria.
5015 Westheimer (Galleria I – valet entrance, near the Westin), 77056, (281) 213-0445
MinuteMaid Park (just beyond centerfield)