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Over-the-top milkshakes, an exclusive pilsner, vegan sausage and hamburger options, fresh takes on nachos, chicken sandwiches and more.

No, I’m not listing the menu of a trendy hotspot in the Meatpacking District. Those are some of the new food offerings at Yankee Stadium this season.

“Ultimately, a lot of these stands are built with flexibility, so we can do whatever we want,” the stadium’s Senior Executive Chef, Matt Gibson, told me Monday. The 27-time World Series Champions opened the Audi Yankees Club yesterday to media for a tastings event of the new 2018 food items. “The Yankees have done a lot every year in regards to kind of renovating a bunch of stands. So we really just track the sales, see how the general population feels about things and then we can switch things out.”

Another factor: social media, specifically Instagram. The menu is tied to the campaign #YankeeStadiYUM and Gibson noted how the platforms affect both how the food is served and where it is consumed.

“We want to make sure that they have an offering that’s Instagram worthy as well as a good bang for their buck,” he said. “You should see the camera rolls on our phones. We look at (the food) from every different angle and how we can dress ‘em up so that it looks good on film, on your phone and as well as tastes good.”

Gibson joined the Legends Hospitality staff in the Bronx back in 2010 and save a year, has been there ever since. When the Stadium opened in 2009 the general buzz food-wise revolved around the Lobel’s sandwich, the availability of fresh fruit behind home plate and the sushi in right field. Additions since then have included a Parm Restaurant sandwich stand, foot-long cheese steaks, chicken and waffles, the Toyota Terrace and Frank’s Red Hot Terrace in center field and now a whole plethora of options, from plant-based to decadent and everything in between.

“At the end of the day, we wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves here,” the executive chef said of the decision to include more vegetarian and vegan items. These include black bean taco cups from Brad Holtzman’s Taquitos Especiales (ed. note: Brad was a classmate of mine at Syracuse University) and the aforementioned vegan “meat” options, both served up by New York City-based chain Bareburger. “There’s a vegan sausage over there that’s lights-out. You won’t even miss the meat.”

And he was right. Rounding out the additions to the dining experience: a General Tso’s crispy chicken sandwich, King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Pineapple BBQ Kalua Pork Nachos and a Lobel’s Meatloaf burger. On the beverage side, Bluepoint Brewing Company is the title sponsor for a new bar in the bleachers and will be serving a Pinstripe Pilsner exclusively at Yankee Stadium. There are also four new “Grand Slam” milkshakes including the “Celebration Shake,” which comes with a sugary-sprinkle-covered rim and a mini-cupcake garnishment.

For me, there still will be nothing sweeter than walking out of Yankee Stadium listening to Sinatra serenade a victory… but that might be a close second.

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Nelufar Hedayat stopped by to chat about her new Fusion TV show, “Food Exposed,” which premieres March 27. The London-based journalist also talked about her struggles as a vegan and even helped classify my own diet with a term I had never heard of until Friday: flexetarian.

In addition to a new live album that’s currently in production and slated for release later this year, Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik revealed to me that the band is also currently writing new music.

“You got to keep it going,” he told me inside Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17. “You’ve got to move a lot quicker these days.”

In some sense, that’s why the Goo’s most recent body of original work was last year’s “You Should Be Happy,” an extended play rather than a full-length album.

“I had a couple new songs that I really liked, and we found some other stuff that we didn’t release and I was like, ’Well, let’s just put it out,’” he explained. “Then we went out and toured again and we had a great time.

“I’m still debating, ‘Do I do an EP? Do I do an album?’ What do you think?”

That wasn’t a rhetorical question by the way; my response somewhat echoed Rzeznik’s reasoning behind the EP, noting that amount of content and timing would ultimately be the factors. That certainly seems to have influenced the undertaking of the live album, a project that will eventually be served as a double-vinyl filled with various performances over “a couple-hundred shows.”

“It goes from places that are a thousand people up to like, 15,000 people,” he said. “It’s kind of interesting how the songs change around a little bit.”

Speaking of live performances, Rzeznik’s main reason for stopping by was to promote Friday night’s “Concert For Dreams” at Beacon Theatre, benefiting the Garden of Dreams Foundation. O.A.R. front man Marc Roberge, who received the charity’s 2018 Hero Award, personally asked him to participate.

“They’re like monsters; they’re crazy-talented musicians,” Rzeznik noted of O.A.R. “Yunno, (Goo Goo Dolls are) just a bunch of guys that learned how to play guitar in a garage.”

But hey, there’s something to be said for a couple of kids from Western New York with big dreams (ed note: I’m from Niagara Falls, New York so yes, I’m biased). And it’s pretty cool that four GRAMMY nominations and 12 million albums sold later, Rzeznik still values the importance of paying it forward.

“It’s a good thing; anything for kids is worth doing,” he said of working with Garden of Dreams, which helps kids throughout the tri-state area overcome obstacles.

Brendon Urie announced Wednesday that Panic! At The Disco will drop a new album this summer; a piece of work that he started thinking about well over a year ago.

“I’m literally trying to jump right in to the next record cycle,” is what Urie told me backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut the night he kicked off the “Death Of A Bachelor Tour” in February 2017. “I know that seems crazy, but I have a bunch of ideas that I’ve been working on for the last couple of months and I’m seriously pursuing recording them in the next month or two.”

It definitely seemed, dare I say pretty odd, that he’d already be talking about album six just as he was kicking off the tour for LP number five. But as Urie spoke more it became clear that he had a plan in place for the next twelve months.

“I want to see what else outside of music I can get in to,” he continued during our chat, which streamed live on Mohegan Sun’s Facebook page. “Theater really interests me and acting really interests me. I’ve done a couple auditions a few years ago and they didn’t go so hot, so I want to try to redeem myself a little bit.”

Urie went on to do just that, starring in a run on Broadway of the Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots.” On Wednesday night, the singer found himself within walking distance from Al Hirschfeld Theater. Panic! At The Disco performed its new single “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” in 30 Rock’s Studio 6B for “The Tonight Show.” As for the album, it’s called “Pray For The Wicked,” and comes out June 22. A supporting tour runs throughout North America from July 11 through mid-August.

Perhaps then we can inquire about lucky number seven.

On Wednesday I headed to Radio City Music Hall, where rehearsals were underway for the upcoming Garden Of Dreams Talent Show, a free event on March 27. The annual show offers kids who are overcoming obstacles in the tri-state area the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform on the great stage at Radio City.

The participants also receive tutelage from a number of celebrity mentors, including Sports Illustrated model and dancer Damaris Lewis. She chatted with us during the rehearsal about working with the kids and on their curiosity as to who she knows and has worked with.

Lewis and her fellow mentors will be back at Radio City to support the kids on March 27; the event starts at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

We’re only halfway through March but it’s already been quite the year for Of A Revolution. The band found itself in the headlines for a rather unlikely reason to kick off 2018: Russian participants in the Winter Games were referred to as Olympic Athletes from Russia or… O.A.R. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for a little (read: a lot) of free, unexpected publicity; that week, the band O.A.R. announced a new single and the “Just Like Paradise Tour” featuring Matt Nathanson.

But well before the cross-country trek kicks off in July, the quintet from Maryland is hard at work on a benefit show for the Garden Of Dreams Foundation called “Concert For Dreams.” The lineup includes the aforementioned Nathanson along with fun frontman Nate Ruess, Run D.M.C. co-founder Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Goo Goo Dolls’ singer Johnny Rzeznik, Counting Crows lead Adam Duritz, Robert Randolph and Gavin DeGraw.

“When you come in and the lights go down, you’re going to hear some O.A.R. songs, you’re going to hear hits from each one of those artists, you’re going to hear cover songs of us performing them together and at the end of the night you’re going to get to hear everybody out there doing some very classic songs in a very big way,” O.A.R. lead singer Marc Roberge told me. “It is a real concert; this is not a fundraiser, it’s not a corporate event. This is a concert and that’s what it’s going to feel like and be.”

That said, funds will be raised; all proceeds from “Concert For Dreams” will be donated to Garden Of Dreams, the non-profit arm of the Madison Square Garden Company. The charity helps to improve the lives of children across the tri-state area while also helping them overcome obstacles.

Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster for the event, which takes place March 23 at the Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side.

Nina Nesbitt stopped by the Artist Lounge at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 to chat about her new single, “Somebody Special,” her upcoming international debut album and how she recently scored a free meal thanks in part to… Britney Spears.

Demi Lovato played to her hometown on Wednesday night, headlining the American Airlines Center in Dallas alongside DJ Khaled. After her performance, the singer tweeted about the experience.

“Just played my hometown in Dallas in the arena I watched so many concerts in growing up and I feel like crying,” she wrote to her 55 million-plus followers. “There were so many people, people were watching from BEHIND the stage!!! I can’t thank you guys enough for the love… truly grateful.”


Lovato has been cognizant of moments like these for years. When I chatted with her in the summer of 2013, the artist talked about how happy she was for her peers, especially Selena Gomez.

“I’ve known (Selena) since I was seven years old,” Lovato explained. “We went from being in the backseat of a car with her parents driving us to a radio show to listen to our favorite artists that were on the radio at the time to us having songs on the radio.”


And of course, performing those shows as well. Lovato’s reflection came on the eve of “International Women’s Day,” which the United Nations marks annually on March 8. According to the UN, the Day is marked, “to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

Through music, activism, advocacy and philanthropy, Lovato continues to set a positive example for not just her fan base, but women across the world. And on Wednesday night, her hometown witnessed that yet again.

When it comes to soliciting celebrities for ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars,” there is no shame in Val Chmerkovskiy’s game.

“We’re recruiting all the time,” he admitted to me. “And now with social media, you can just slide in to the DM directly, yunno?”

Chmerkovskiy noted that the upcoming season of “DWTS” will be athletes only, something he thinks fans of the show will enjoy. The dance pro is always keeping his eye out for a possible contestant.

“I watch the Olympics, gymnastics… I know a lot of the ladies on our show watch the football season to see who are the breakout characters and personalities,” he revealed. “Look, the sports world has a lot of really talented, really hard-working people. That alone, those two attributes, really translate well in anything that you do.

“How you do anything is how you’ll do everything.”

So it should come to no surprise that Chmerkovskiy called me from Los Angeles during a break in rehearsals for the show, “Maks, Val and Peta Live On Tour: Confidential.” Chmerkovskiy, his older brother Maksim and his sister-in-law Peta Murgatroyd will headline Radio City Music Hall on April 14.

“I’ve performed in Radio City Music Hall before with the ‘Dancing With The Stars Tour’ and it felt incredible,” he recalled. “To be able to come back as my own artist and be able to perform there with family is literally a dream come true.”

The professional dancer, who grew up in South Brooklyn and went to high school in Hoboken, might have a few other items on his to-do list when he returns home.

“I need to experience a subway commute, come upstairs in to a rainy, crowded area, be bumped around in the most uncomfortable way possible, go in to a corner bodega, order an extra-toasted bagel with cream cheese and a coffee just black, and my day is made.”

There’s no shame in that, either.

There was a buzz around Irving Plaza last Sunday night and for a couple of reasons. First, Quinn XCII was preparing to headline his first of two sold-out shows at the venue. Second, the rumor-mill was swirling that there would be a special guest in attendance: Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea.

Quinn, who of course was well-aware of both situations when I sat with him in his dressing room prior to the show, seemed excited but not fazed.

“It just gives me so much more confidence I think, as an artist, and it reflects I think when you see the show,” the Michigan-bred emcee, nee Mikael Temrowski, responded when I asked about the audience’s reaction to his tour so far. He noted that the crowd sings along for most of the set, including the finale of “Straightjacket.” “I’m super-blessed to be in the position that I am and the shows have been going great.”

Quinn is in the desirable position of being able to practice what he preaches; while his album deals with his vulnerabilities and relationships, his stage-name is derived from an acronym he created – and that wasn’t always something he felt comfortable sharing. Temrowski attributed the phrase to a professor he had at Michigan State until his tour’s opening night in Detroit, when he revealed that it was all his doing.

“It just stands for ‘quit unless your instincts are never neglected,’ and I think I wanted to tie in the professor because it was more of like a likely story but I was nervous to tell people that it was my mantra,” he explained. “I just urge people to pursue (your passion) because life I think is just way too short to let other people follow their dreams and see them succeed when you kind of regret it inside.”

That message is allowing Quinn to resonate with an ever-growing audience. And on Sunday night, there was surely at least one person in the crowd that appreciated the artist using his platform to spread positivity.