Ask a Michigan Athletics press corps member what their favorite day of the year is, and you’ll hear a surprising answer.
The first game of the football season? It’s always good to be back in the comfort of Michigan Stadium, but it’s not the favorite. A thrilling overtime slugfest? We’re too busy trying to keep up with the action to enjoy it!
No, our Christmas Day is the annual concessions and suite menu taste testing event at the Big House. After all, what’s more beloved than free food? This year, five sandwiches and a fan favorite were presented to enjoy. Here’s what I thought of each and every item, all of which you’ll be able to find at Michigan Stadium this season:
Italian Beef Sandwich
I might be a born and raised Ann Arborite, but Chicago is my home away from home. Needless to say, I’ve had more Italian beef sandwiches in my life than is probably recommended by a panel of doctors.
The danger in any shaved meat sandwich is what I like to call the “Steak-Ums problem.” That’s when you can just tell the meat isn’t fresh, but came from a bag and boiled to temp. Fortunately, that wasn’t a problem with this one.
The meat was tender and flavorful, and the “hot and sweet” (giardiniera and sweet peppers for those not familiar) lived up to the name. My only wish is I could’ve tried it dipped, but I was assured it will come with au jus when offered to fans.
Score: 8.7 out of 10
It’s very hard to do a proper salmon sandwich at home, let alone at a massive sports facility like the Big House. Given that relativity, it was...fine.
It was one of the more basic sandwiches of it’s kind I’ve had, consisting of just a piece of salmon, lettuce and mayo. The salmon was well cooked — honestly I expected it to be rubbery when I took the first bite — but I wouldn’t call it incredibly flavorful. If it had been smoked instead, I think it’d have potential.
It’s probably for the best this is a suite-exclusive offering as well, because I can’t see how the salmon would keep trying to sling these at a concession stand.
Score: 6.4 out of 10
Look, I can already hear the naysayers. “It’s not real beef!” one cries. “How can they claim it’s as good as the real thing?” another asks.
Here’s my answer — try it. Just give it one single chance before you say anything.
I love a juicy, red meat burger like the next red, white and blue blooded American, but I’ve been a big fan of Impossible foods for a few years. Trying out Michigan Stadium’s stab at the sandwich, I honestly couldn’t tell a sizeable difference between it and a regular concession burger. In my mind, that’s all I can ask for.
Score: 7.9 out of 10
Sharifa Halal Hot Dog
Oh my god.
No. Really. Oh my god.
I’m not a big hot dog guy, never have been. But this? This was good. It was genuinely the most packed full of spice and flavor hot dog I’ve ever had. I went back for seconds and thirds on this one, the only member of that illustrious club among the offerings. If you’re a kielbasa or bratwurst fan, you’ll love this. I guarantee it.
Score: 9.6 out of 10
Honey Stinger Chicken Sandwich
This was the media darling of last year’s tasting event, and it’s not hard to see why. The mix of sweet and spicy tastes made for a tremendous sandwich, and the chicken itself was exactly as tender and juicy as you’d want it to be. Because it was familiar, it didn’t quite wow as much as it did last year, however.
Score: 8.8 out of 10
It is very, very hard to do loaded nachos wrong in my book. As long it’s not a smattering of stale chips with a radioactive yellow “cheese” over it, I’ll take it.
These were better than just fine. You could taste the freshness of the guacamole, and the ground beef was perfectly spiced for the average person. If I was making them myself, I’d probably want the beef a bit spicier, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Score: 7.7 out of 10