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All We Can Eat
Posted at 06:15 PM ET, 05/03/2012

An inside look at all-you-can-eat snacks


PNC Park has a dedicated concessions stand for All You Can Eat ticket holders. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)
All-you-can-eat seats are designed to satisfy the baseball fan who is not picky about quality, not panicked about excessive calories and not particularly concerned about the propriety of snarfing down a half-dozen hot dogs in public.

On a sheer economic level, the promotion has its appeal, of course, though that could be lost on those souls who want to balance value with, say, food that doesn’t induce guilt immediately upon consumption. As I ate and interviewed my way through these face-stuffing promotions at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, I snapped a few iPhone photos to help illustrate the kind of ordinary grub available at all-you-can-eat seats.

The photos, after the jump, offer a view into the food, but also somewhat into the culture of all-you-can-eat seats. Take a look.


The hot foods at PNC Park’s All You Can Eat concessions stand are placed under a heat lamp, where the buns can dry out and the cheese sauce congeal into a waxlike covering. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Even loaded with jalapeno slices, ketchup, mustard and anything else I could find at the condiment counter, the All You Can Eat burger at PNC Park was, without question, the worst one I’ve had since college. It landed in the trash after a couple of bites. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

The dogs at PNC Park are classic, meaning they’re those slick, emulsified franks that go down way too easy when watching America’s favorite pastime. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

A perfectly acceptable ice cream sandwich, in miniature form, that packs a perfectly acceptable 140 calories per bar. Bet you can’t eat just one. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

These mini boxes of popcorn were filled with puffed kernels that had passed their prime a good hour or two earlier. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

One side effect of all-you-can-eat seats is waste: The promotion’s endless buffet of junk food encourages you to waste items you don’t like — and to accumulate excessive trash around your seats. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Buying an all-you-can-eat seat at PNC Park essentially means you have to sacrifice better dining options, like this Primanti Bros. sandwich, which I bought anyway. I mean, I wasn’t going to miss my chance to buy one in Pittsburgh. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

The peanuts at PNC Park come in small bags. I never finished my lone bag. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

By contrast, the peanuts at Camden Yards are offered in bulk form, from barrels. You decide how many nuts you want, which seems like a better way to avoid waste. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

At Camden, you can customize your nachos with as much cheese sauce and jalapenos as you’d like. They are like 7-Eleven nachos, except with an endless supply of chips and fluorescent cheese. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

For the healthful-minded, Camden offers little containers of salad, with your choice of packaged dressings, typically either ranch or Italian. Can one survive on salad alone from all-you-can-eat seats? (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

By  |  06:15 PM ET, 05/03/2012

Tags:  Tim Carman

 
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