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Come To The Ball Park For Hot Dogs, Stay For The Game

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Winter is finally over. And you know what season comes after winter?

KELLI WESSINGER, BYLINE: It's baseball season, baby. (Laughter).

MARTIN: Yeah, baby. That means baseball food. And for many, baseball food means hot dogs. But at many ballparks around the country, this culinary delight is so much more than just a frank on a bun. Our own Kelli Wessinger went to Nationals Park here in D.C. to investigate.

WESSINGER: Ballpark food can be outrageous. Most ballparks these days are seeing how much food they can pile on top of a hot dog, which is already a lot of food by itself, like this monstrosity of a pastrami hot dog that I was brave enough to sample.

All right. I'm staring down a barrel of a New York pastrami hot dog. Seems to have pastrami, sauerkraut. Spicy mustard. And also a hot dog.

I did not like it.

(Laughter). Y'all, that's a lot for a hot dog.

But honestly, I can't blame the hot dog.

Also, (laughter), I just hate sauerkraut. I feel like I should've said that already. So this hot dog is definitely not for me.

But there were some hits, like the bulgogi hoagie.

Let's see. Korean beef, caramelized onions and kimchi Cheez Whiz? This is the greatest invention of all (laughter) time. (Laughter). Kimchi Cheez Whiz?

And the so-called kim-Cheez Whiz did not disappoint.

OK. So I want to put kimchi Cheez Whiz on any and everything. This is delightful.

The bulgogi hoagie is a reflection of dining trends around the city of Washington, D.C.

Chef Vince Navarrete says he tried to incorporate the Korean and Chinese flavors that are major influences on the city's restaurant scene.

VINCE NAVARRETE: In D.C., you've got Chinatown. Plus we always try to spot trends. In this case, we have also looked at having a true representation of the city. We're just looking at something that's hand-held, something that is representative of D.C. and the neighborhoods that we have.

WESSINGER: He asked local restaurants like Chiko and Tiger Fork to help him reinvent ballpark food. And if the kim-Cheez Whiz was any indication, I think they're onto something.

Kelli Wessinger, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.