It’s home field advantage for the Astros over the next seven days as they play a series against the Cleveland Indians and the San Diego Padres. And as of earlier this year, there’s even better news for baseball fans with a taste for something other than stadium food.
In January, the Astros’ new owner Jim Crane announced some “fan-friendly” initiatives to jump-start attendance. These included lowered ticket prices and lower beer prices. (Yay!) The Astros also proclaimed that fans would now be allowed to “bring in their own food and beverages.” Don’t get too excited. “Beverage” translates to water that is “in a sealed, plastic bottle, being one liter or less in size” and only one per person.
The food? Well, the only restriction is what you must transport it in. Like airport security, the folks at Minute Maid Park want you to use “a small, clear (see-through) plastic bag.”
Taking all of the variables into consideration, here are five ideas for Astros take-in options.
1. CAFE TH, 2108 Pease, 713-225-4766, cafeth.com Easy to eat while sitting awkwardly in a stadium seat and even easier to shove into a plastic bag are the delicious, fresh spring rolls from Cafe TH. Choose from fillings like tofu, shrimp, chicken or pork and add a banh mi (those delicious Vietnamese sandwiches served on a French baguette), because the small sandwich is a mere $2.31. Disclaimer: Cafe TH is open in the evenings only on Thursdays and Fridays.
2. BOMBAY PIZZA COMPANY, 914 Main, 713-654-4444, bombaypizzaco.com While the actual pizza might get a little messy inside a plastic bag, their rolls made with naan bread might be the perfect baseball snack. Options include blackened chicken, paneer (fresh cheese), sweet potato and a veggie roll with garbanzo beans, spinach and sweet potatoes. Also plastic-baggable are their mini-burgers with a vegetable masala option or beef.
3. CALLIOPE’S PO-BOY, 2130 Jefferson, 713-222-8333, calliopespoboy.com One of the best po’boys in the city just happens to be right around the corner from Minute Maid Park, and, conveniently, it would fit snugly inside a plastic bag. Every po’boy on the menu, aside from the roast beef with gravy (you might just have to stop in and eat it onsite) would work. Options include everything from gardenburgers to ham to traditional fried seafood favorites like oyster, crawfish, catfish, shrimp and soft-shell crab. While you’re waiting on your order, feel free to snack on an order of the French fries topped with gravy and cheese.
4. DOOZO DUMPLINGS & NOODLES, 1200 McKinney, 713-571-6898 Like many downtown establishments, Doozo caters to the business-lunch crowd. However, on the rare occasion of a midday weekday baseball game, you should totally stop in to get some dumplings and make a very special sack lunch. Advice to get through the dumpling-ordering process smoothly: Have your order ready when you reach the counter – choose a meat, choose a full (10) or half (5) order and choose an extra spicy, spicy, medium or mild sauce to accompany. The affectionately nicknamed “Dumpling Nazi” is not very forgiving when it comes to efficiency.
5. NIKO NIKO’S IN MARKET SQUARE PARK, 301 Milam, 713-224-4976, nikonikos.com Like a super cute, only-slightly-abbreviated version of the Montrose location of Houston’s most iconic Greek restaurant, Niko Niko’s in Market Square Park is optimal for plastic baggery. We suggest the pitas stuffed with delicious meats and cheeses like the souvlaki sandwich made with sirloin, the chicken philly, the traditional gyro and, of course, the falafel (although you’d want to eat that right away due to the soggy factor). If you’re more of a burger person, they’ve got you covered there too.