PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — As this thing I like to call Food & Games has evolved, the goal of bringing you fun food stories regarding my travels has been quite a ride.  I’ve dined in stadiums and press boxes from San Francisco to the Big Apple.  I’ve sampled hot dogs and sushi, while enjoying the people I’ve met.  It’s been quite a journey so far.

But this past Wednesday, I decided to hit Heinz Field for the Pitt-UConn game.  Why?  Boredom mostly, but it was a good choice on my part as the dinner served was first rate and caught me off guard.

Why you ask?  Well, in this day and age of cutting back due to ‘budgetary constraints’ and other fun buzz words used by corporate, suit wearing muckety mucks who slash budgets, I really didn’t think the food served inside would be of this quality, especially for a bunch of free loading, media types. 

Boy, was I wrong.

Thus, the genesis for this latest edition of Food & Games.

Aramark caters the food inside Heinz Field’s luxury suites and for the working media.  What I encountered was very well done, both in set-up and function.  The food was above my expectations also.  Not that you should confuse what we were served with a night at a Morton’s or Le Pommier on the South Side.  It was simple, but well prepared and done right…

…what you see to the left is the dinner served inside the press-box at Heinz Field.  And again, hats off to the people at Aramark for a well done job.  The salad bar was filled with 10 different toppings, all freshly cut and made for a great start to the meal.

After that, smashed red potatoes, along with green beans with mushrooms greeted you as sides.  Both were done just right.  The potatoes were real and had good texture, as they were not creamy.  The beans and ‘shrooms’ were outstanding. 

Up next were two choices for entrees.  I passed on the pork and sauerkraut and went straight for this guy…

…who was serving up freshly carved turkey breast.  It was nothing short of a touchdown.  They served some gravy with it, but for that you had to make your way to another table.  And that table is where I found this little gem…

…behold seafood bisque.  Now I have to say that the crowd eating all this grub was quite impressed by it.  I loved the flavor, but as far as finding any seafood, there was none.  Not even a sliver of crab or imitation crab.

I guess we found out where those budget cuts really were applied to. 

Look, I for one am grateful that the University of Pittsburgh provides this to people like me and all the others who took a few minutes to have a good meal. 

On average and according to Aramark, they serve between 150-200 people for a Pitt game.  That number jumps to 300-400 for a Steelers game.  But over the next two weeks between the Patriots visit (A nationally televised game this Sunday at 4:15pm on KDKA-TV 2 by the way) and Baltimore the following week on Sunday night, the staff can expect to have between 400-500 people expecting a free meal.

Based on what I saw, they are more than prepared to handle it. 

John Phillips is the author of this article and the creator of ‘Food & Games’ where JP loves to showcase the food finds across America’s ballparks, stadiums and arenas, featuring the best of  tailgating eats to stadium grub.  Listen to JP this Saturday morning starting at 7am on 93.7 The Fan, or follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/937Phillips