UIC PAVILION – CHICAGO, IL

I recently attended a “BIG3” 3-on-3 basketball game at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.  The BIG3 is a basketball league consisting of former NBA players playing in a series of 3-on-3 games at various locations around the country.  The league was created by Ice Cube and it is in its inaugural season.  I believe that the league is genius because it allows basketball fans, especially millennials, an opportunity to see many former NBA players that they followed as children but never got an opportunity to see.

At one event I got to see Brian Scalabrine, KENYON MARTIN, ALLEN INVERSION, GARY PAYTON, DR. J, Cuttino Mobley, and others (Steven Jackson, Chauncey Billups, and Charles Oakley were also there but I did not see them).  I also got a chance to see Kenyon Martin, Brian Scalabrine, and Brian Scalabrine play.  I also was afforded the opportunity to try another stadium’s pizza.

As far as basketball goes, I could not have been happier.  For pizza, it was an utter disappointment!  They only had one concession stand open and the line was so long that I would have missed the games.  The games only play to 60 points so I did not want to that much of the game.  I also noticed them bringing out frozen pizzas from boxes and putting them in the oven.  The pizza is Connie’s Pizza which is delicious, and the same pizza served at the United Center and Allstate Arena.  I have had the pizza many times and it is great, especially when fresh.  Since they sell frozen Connie’s Pizza at the grocery store, I chose to pass on the pizza at the stadium.  The pizza at Allstate Arena and the United Center may be frozen too, but I know they are not taking them out of frozen pizza boxes in front of the fans.

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It was also a start studded affair.  Taraji P. Henson (from Empire, Hidden Figures, Hustle & Flow, and many other movies), Louis Farrakhan, Chance The Rapper, Will Rapaport (sideline reporter), and of course Ice Cube were in attendance.  There were others, such as Lovie Smith and former and current NBA players.

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While I cannot recommend the frozen pizza, I can recommend attending a Big 3 game.

 

PETCO PARK, SAN DIEGO, CA

 

DSC08157Petco Park is the home to Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.  The team is now the lone professional sports team in the city.  Located near the San Diego Bay and nestled amongst many palm trees the stadium is simply beautiful.  They took the time to position it right downtown and incorporated the surrounding old buildings in the design,

 

While I was disappointed by the stadium not having the Mickey Mouse statue from the 2010 All-Star game I was still impressed by the beauty and the great detail that was placed in the design.  On two sides you see the beautiful downtown, on one side the bay, and on the other side you see the mountains.  You can’t possibly have better views.

 

When it comes to the pizza things couldn’t be more different.  The pizza is basic at best.  It is okay but not overly flavorful.  The pizza is kind of bland but not horrible.   The sauce is okay.  The cheese is edible.  The crust is hard and awful.  It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.   Did I mention the freshness?  The pizza was not fresh and I purchased it at the top of the first so I can only imagine what it would be like in the fifth or sixth innings, when I usually purchase my second slice.  In this case it wasn’t good enough for that second slice.  I ended up only eating one piece…and I was starving.

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The pizza was basic and boring at best, however, since I am a pizza fiend I will be eating it again so it is not bad enough to never touch again. If you are craving anything else I say go for it.

CHASE FIELD – PHOENIX, ARIZONA

Chase Field is the home of Major League Baseball,s Arizona Diamondbacks.  It is located in Phoenix, AZ.  It is a beautiful stadium positioned near the mountains so when at the top of the stadium or outside the mountains are in view.  Since Phoenix is ridiculously hot the stadium has a retractable roof.  However, the roof was closed before the game and opened right before first pitch when it was still one hundred degrees Fahrenheit outside, and there went the cool air.

Once you get past the excruciating heat you can begin to focus on the task at hand, watching baseball and eating pizza.  The stadium is simply magnificent and the team is pretty good too.  They also have concession stands selling pizza everywhere.

The pizza served at the stadium is Streets of New York Pizza. They serve cheese, pepperoni, and New York Special.  The New York Special has sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, and onions.  You would think they would also have sausage but they do not.  They do, however, have grated Parmesan cheese.

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The pizza is very good.  It is not the best stadium Pizza I’ve ever had but it is still good.   The pizza is also not New York pizza.  The pizza is fresh, tasty, and adequately sauced.  The cheese was not as much as I would have liked to see but okay.   I found it oddly disturbing though that they had a Panda Express in the stadium so if Pizza doesn’t suit your fancy you can always choose Panda Express.  For me, I will be choosing the pizza any day of the week,

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It also helped that they have the Mickey Mouse statue from the 2010 All-Star game in Anaheim.

 

 

 

COORS FIELD – DENVER, CO

Coors Field is located in Denver, CO and is home to the Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies.   The stadium is simply beautiful and interestingly not located in an area with a great view of the Rockies.  Despite that disappointing factoid, it is still a beautiful stadium.

I visited the stadium when I was in Denver to see the Rockies play the Cleveland Indians, whose stadium serves the amazing Dante’s Inferno Pizza.  I did not have any expectations when I visited the stadium, I just wanted a good game and good pizza.

 I was a little startled when I arrived to see that they had Marcos Pizza.  When I think of Marco’s Pizza I think of being a broke college college student eating oily pizza, so needless to say I had low expectations.   The pizza was actually pretty good, however.  The pizza was still oily and I had to pat the pizza with a napkin to get the oil off.  My husband thought the pizza was pretty good as well, it was his first introduction to Marco’s pizza and it went pretty good.

While I was kind of disappointed to see Marco’s pizza, it was still good.  If I ever visit Coors Field again I will definitely eat the pizza.  I was also disappointed to see that there was no Mickey Mouse statue from the 2010 All-Star Game, the stadium was still wonderful and a great experience.

If you are ever in the area I recommend you eat the pizza.

UPDATED PIZZA RANKINGS

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Scale:

0 – Inedible  😫😠

1 – Really Bad  😩 😓

2 – Not Good  but Edible 😞☹️

3 – Good but Not Awesome 🙂😌

4 – Great 😁🤗

5 – Scrumptious, Truly Amazing 😋😃

THE UNITED CENTER – CHICAGO, IL

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The United Center is home to the six-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls and six-time NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks.  The stadium is consistently lauded as one of the best NBA stadiums in the country.  I have written about the stadium many times.  As I stated in my previous post the stadium changed its pizza vendor for the 2016-2017 season.  The pizza, DiGiorno’s pizza, was delicious and the new pizzas are also delicious.

 As I alluded to earlier, and stated in the previous post, there are now a couple of pizza options at the United Center.  Woodgrain wood-fired pizza and Connie’s deep dish pizza.  The pizzas are delicious and hot commodities at the United Center.

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Woodgrain Pizza is only sold on the first level.  It is a standalone “restaurant” where all pizzas are made to order.  They have four pizzas to choose from but since they are made to order they will make modifications for you.  The pizza is simply amazing.  The pizza shown was a tad burned but still delicious.

Not to be confused with “Chicago-style” stuffed pizza, the pizza sold at the concession stands throughout the stadium are Connie’s Pizza.  Connie’s Pizza is popular in Chicago, with just cause.  It is simply fantastic.  On the pictures above the pizza looks rather blah; however, the pizza is delicious.  The ratio of cheese, sauce, and bread is perfectly balanced.  It is also very fresh since they can’t get it out fast enough.

‘The pizza sold at the United Center is fantastic.  The DiGiorno’s sold used to be very good but the new Woodgrain and Connie’s pizzas are even better.  The lines are long and they sell out fast.  I recommend eating early because they sell out fast.  I will be eating the Woodgrain pizza next time, however, I will likely alternate and get Connie’s every other visit.  The pizza is good and fresh.  I highly recommend both pizzas.

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THE UNITED CENTER – CHICAGO, IL

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The United Center is the home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.  On this visit I watched the Chicago Bulls play, and beat, the Golden State Warriors.  It was my first game of the season, and boy was it a good one.  It was pretty awesome seeing Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green all on one court.  Seeing Dwyane Wade in a Bulls uniform was also pretty nice.

Upon arriving at the stadium I was surprised to see that they no longer serve Digiorno’s Pizza.  The Digiorno’s they used to serve was simply amazing.  Since the United Center got rid of the awesome DiGiorno’s I knew that the replacement had to be good, and good it was.

The stadium now has two types of pizza.  They have a wood-fired pizza called WoodGrin Neapolitan Pizza and Connie’s Pizza.  Connie’s Pizza is popular around Chicago and ISO also served at the WNBA’s Chicago Sky Games at Allstate Arena.  The pizza is very good.  It is so good that I could not try it because all of the concession stands were sold out.  I do know that the pizza served is deep dish.  If it is anything like the pizza sold at Allstate Arena it is very good.

I managed to get the very last pizza at Woodgrain and it was amazing.  The pizza was simply phenomenal. They make each pizza in a wood fired oven to order.  The pizza is super fresh and very limited.  The pizza may be the best stadium pizza I have ever had.   They have some standard combinations but they will make you a custom pizza if you ask.  The location of Woodgrain is on the first level not far down from the Chicago Bull’s store, The Bull Market.  There is a nice eating area by the bar if you don’t want to take it back to your seat.

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If you are ever at the “Madhouse on Madison” I highly recommend eating the pizza.  You will not be disappointed.  Upon my next visit I will eat the Connie’s Pizza.  I will remember to get it early because it will not last long.

NOTRE DAME STADIUM – NOTRE DAME, IN

Notre Dame Stadium is the home of the University of Notre Dame’s Football Team.  One of the most storied football teams in the country, though this game, ND vs Michigan State, was not good and this season has been a bust so far, but the history remains the same.  The stadium is located in Notre Dame, IN which is just outside of South Bend, IN.  Since the stadium is so far north one would assume that they would keep their stadium concession stands full of food simply because people will buy food to warm up.

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While the season has been a bust so far, the University of Notre appears to have found its footing on the pizza front.  Notre Dame has had what seemed to be perpetual search for good pizza.  I have been going to ND games for 16 years and the pizza has finally made it!  The pizza was terrible for many years but now I can’t wait to go back to eat more pizza.

I was thoroughly disappointed when I attended a basketball game a couple of seasons ago because they did not have any pizza inside the Purcell Pavilion.  While I recognize that all of the pizza was terrible at the football stadium thus there must be a little bit of angst when determining the menu at the concession stands in the Purcell Pavilion.  However, ND pizza has finally arrived.  The pizza is perfect.  The slices are big but not obtrusive.  The cheese, sauce, and crust are amazing.   I now highly recommend the pizza at the stadium.

Another great thing about the pizza at Notre Dame Stadium is the fact that pizza can be found anywhere in the stadium.  Concession stands with pizza are located in many locations around the stadium.  If you are visiting Notre Dame Stadium I highly recommend  the pizza.

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GO IRISH!!!!

NOTRE DAME STADIUM – NOTRE DAME, IN

The University of Notre Dame football team plays at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, IN.  The football program at the University of Notre Dame is one of the premier teams and most storied football programs in the NCAA.  It is also the greatest!  The stadium is a beautiful stadium that is currently being renovated to become an even more amazing venue.

I was fortunate enough to visit the stadium for the 250th consecutive sellout.  Many people can say what they want about ND football but how many other teams can say that every game is an sellout.

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This is a pizza blog, so I will now talk about pizza.  Notre Dame has been trying to find its pizza identity for at least 15 years.  The stadium used to sell Home Run Inn Pizza until 2005 when it finally accepted that the pizza was horrible.  Since they ended that marriage they have been making their own pizza in house and experimenting with various different recipes and styles, personal pizzas, slices, thin crust, thick crust, rising crust, etc.

For the past few years they have been moving down the right path.  I do believe that they have finally found the best pizza.  The pizza at the stadium now is simply delicious!  The pizza is perfectly sauced.  The cheese is amazing, and the crust is amazing.  The pizza can also be found in many areas around the stadium.  The pizza used to be only sold in a few areas of the stadium and now it is everywhere.  I am proud to finally endorse the pizza at Notre Dame Stadium.

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In addition to eating amazing pizza and watching good football, it is also nice to see the most beautiful university/college campus in the world.  There are many nice campuses in the world but who else has something as awesome as Touchdown Jesus?

SAFECO FIELD – SEATTLE, WA

Safeco Field is home to the Major League Baseball team, the Seattle Mariners.  The stadium is located directly behind CenturyLink Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks.  Since the stadium is located in the lovely northwest corner of Washington state the stadium is one of the MLB’s few retractable stadiums.

Safeco Field is a simply beautiful stadium, one of the most beautiful stadiums I have seen so far.  The stadium also has a magnificent view of the city of Seattle as well as Mt. Rainer. The stadium is a rather new stadium without any bad seats.

The stadium sells High Cheese Pizza.  The pizza at the stadium is very good.  The pizza is not necessarily the best stadium pizza I have ever had but it was definitely appetizing.  I truly enjoyed the pizza.  One of the best aspects of the pizza is that it was freshly made at every concession stand.  Another great aspect of Safeco Field is they have many pizza locations throughout the stadium, as opposed to some of the other stadiums that have you search the entire stadium for a slice of pizza.

While the pizza at the stadium is not anything special, relative to other stadiums, no oregano or italian seasonings it is still very good.  The pizza is very cheesy, kind of oily, but not terrible.  The pizza also has the perfect amount of sauce.  If I ever find myself in Seattle again I will likely attend another baseball game and I hope to eat High Cheese Pizza.  If I get a chance to visit CenturyLink Field I hope to they sell High Cheese Pizza.

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The best stadium pizza in the United States