Best Hot Dog - 2005
Roger Dean Stadium
Tim Martin is a New Yorker who travels to Florida to ingest a week's worth of spring training games every year. "Eating a hot dog is the thing to do when you go to a baseball game," he says. "Even though they charge you as much as it would normally be for a whole package of hot dogs, for some reason, it just tastes better at a game." At Roger Dean Stadium, where both the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals send their major-league teams for spring training and where their minor-league teams play all summer, hot dog-eating is a complex experience; buyers need to be choosy. At any concession window, you can get a regular hot dog, which is steamed, for $3 (prices increase during spring training). Certain windows also offer the "jumbo hot dog" ($4), also steamed, which is like a regular hot dog, only fatter. Both are made by National Deli, a Miami-based company and "the official hot dog of Roger Dean stadium." Now you could satisfy your weenie jones by doing up either of those dogs with sauerkraut, relish, mustard, and ketchup from the freestanding condiment bar. But the discerning diner goes for the Dean Dog, a $5, 1/3-pound frank that is grilled until it sweats, has the black grill marks to prove it, is served with sautéed onions and peppers, and is available at only two windows: the St. Louis Grill and the Florida Grill. Volunteers run the concession stands -- and then take home 12 percent of the day's proceeds for the charity they support. (The Shriners made about $40,000 last season this way.) Nick Barbera, who mans the grill every Saturday to raise money for Kelly's Powerhouse dance school, says you should definitely spring for the Dean Dog: "It's like a hot dog on steroids. It fits right in with baseball."