An outbreak of Phillies fever hit the Gluten Free Philly household a couple weeks ago, and we had to drive to New York to get some medicine. To help celebrate our younger son's seventh birthday, my wife and I surprised him with tickets to see the Phils play the Mets during their recent series at Citi Field in Queens.
Knowing that Mutts fans had abandoned their team earlier in the season, I figured it would be a cinch to get last-minute tickets via StubHub. I managed to snag four $30 seats for $10 each online the day before the game.
Bracing for the New York traffic we usually encounter, we left a few hours before game time. While traffic was unexpectedly light, the weather put the trip in jeopardy. The rain was coming down so hard during our drive north on the New Jersey Turnpike, I exited at one point to turn around, figuring the game would be postponed. Convinced the skies would clear, my wife talked me into resuming the drive. Sure enough, the storm passed and, while the sun never peaked out from the clouds that day, the weather was good enough to get the ballgame in.
Before heading to our seats, we stopped to get lunch. Concessionaire Aramark added added a dedicated gluten-free food stand at two-year old Citi Field this season. (Hello Aramark? Citizens Bank Park needs one too!) The stand offers hot dogs, sausages, burgers and Redbridge beer, along with puddings and gels from sponsor Kozy Shack. The meats are served on rolls supplied by The Grainless Baker. My older son was impressed with the foot-long hot dog, which he topped with mustard and onions.
The view from the nosebleed section wasn't bad at all, and we ended up sitting in the upper level with many other Phillies fans who also made the trip. We watched Roy Oswalt throw a complete-game shutout as the Fightins won 3-0.
We had planned to stop at the Chimney Rock Inn in Bridgewater, New Jersey for dinner, but thanks to my unreliable GPS (and my failure to trust my instincts), we ended up stuck in a traffic jam in Manhattan. I reversed course and eventually righted the ship. With the visit to the Inn no longer feasible, we opted to eat at an old favorite just off of Exit 10 on the Turnpike - Harold's New York Deli in Edison. While the restaurant doesn't have safe bread, it does offer a gluten-free menu with traditional deli and diner favorites like chicken soup, pastrami and corned beef (served on a bed of lettuce), steak fries cooked in a dedicated fryer, and a huge pickle bar. And the portions - oy! Our leftovers needed a seat of their own in the minivan.