The Twins have worked for two years to ensure that their new ballpark looks and feels like Minnesota. Target Field tastes that way, too. Minnesota traditions, ingredients and recipes have found a place at the ballpark. Here are this critic's top 10 ballpark choices.
1. The ballpark's No. 1 food item boasts one of the state's most storied food pedigrees: Kramarczuk. The second-generation northeast Minneapolis culinary landmark is grilling three varieties ($6.50, sections 119 and 312) of its divine, made-fresh-daily pork sausages (don't miss the "Hungarian," a bratwurst laced with sweet paprika). Each blistered beauty is stuffed into a bun and buried under an avalanche of sauerkraut, grilled onions or peppers.
2. Hearty wild rice soup ($6), a Lunds- and Byerly's-made classic, is brimming with nutty, chewy Minnesota wild rice and bits of almonds and smoky ham. Runner-up: the robust beef-black bean chili ($6, Halsey's Sausage Haus), based upon a crowd-pleasing recipe from the nearby Loon Cafe.
3. Get it while it's hot: Outside the ballpark on Target Plaza, Angie and Dan Bastian pop their addictively sweet-salty Angie's Kettle Corn ($5) for Twins fans. Just try to eat a single kernel.
4. "How would you like that? Rare? Medium rare? Well done?" It's the query du jour at the Carvery kiosk. This monster disguised as a roast beef sandwich ($12, main concourse near Gate 14) is big enough to feed two.
5. Next door at Asian Wok, the scents of garlic and ginger grab curious noses to a pair of surprisingly spicy -- this is Minnesota, after all -- stir-fries ($8.50, main concourse near Gate 14) made with thick wheat-flour noodles. One is a lively peanut sauce with chicken, the other is a vegetable medley tossed in a sweet-fiery honey-red chile glaze; both are delicious.
6 and 7. The Summit Pale Ale flows freely inside Hrbek's -- and outside, on its open-air patio -- but here's what to eat at this great-looking bar and grill: The wonderfully sloppy pulled pork sandwich ($11, Gate 14). Then there's the chopped salad ($12.25), brimming with pungent blue cheese, baby tomatoes, salty bacon, tender chicken, purple cabbage and fresh Romaine.
8. In a nostalgic nod to Minnesota taste traditions, the ballpark features several Jucy Lucy-style stuffed burgers. The pick of the litter is the Vincent burger ($12, Hennepin Grille), a two-fisted medium-rare beef patty stuffed with slow-braised short ribs and smoked Gouda.
9. Don't settle for a drab hoagie when there's a piping-hot Cuban sandwich ($9, sections 111 and 309). That it's inspired by Twins legend Tony Oliva is just icing on the cake.
10. Sweets are not the ballpark's strong suit. One exception: the brightly flavored Talenti brand sorbets (get the blood orange) and luscious gelatos (don't miss the double dark chocolate), sold in double ($5.25, Gate 29 and section 302) and triple ($7.25) scoops. Even better, the stand features two of the happiest words in the English language: "Free samples."