Thursday, February 22, 2007

That's Entertainment?

Our common urge to gather around the same campfire is strong. But I really question the food and drink being served, and the prices we are being asked to pay.

I spent the evening last night at a hockey game in downtown D.C. My brother-in-law had been gifted with tickets for seats close enough that you could count the nose hairs of the left wingman. It was pretty entertaining and just a little like a carnival ride when the players came crashing into the glass on the sideboards. There is a great rattling and shaking and ca-BOOM-ing, as if the game is going to spill into the stands that very instant and bring the roof down.

But I have to say I was a bit put off by the $7 fee being charged for 12-ounce beers, of which we drank two each. And I don't want to throw cold water on the whole event, but it did seem to me that most of the civilians in the arena were doing quite well already in the calorie consumption department. So why were so many of them sitting with dumpster-loads of French fries and cheese nachos in their laps? Okay, so the game started at 7, just about dinner time. Still, I've always wondered at these sporting events, if you think you're going to be hungry, why not just eat a nice meal before you leave the house? Aren't we always telling our kids to pee before they leave the house? And why is that again? Oh, right. So they don't have to do it at some inconvenient time later. Why can't adults follow their own advice?

When we left the game, the Capitals were locked in a tie with a team from of all places San Jose, CA, where I guess it's been cold enough lately to play hockey. (Must be La Nina). We had a few minutes to kill so we ducked into the Clyde's restaurant around the corner, just about everything in the world being conveniently just around the corner from D.C.'s downtown sports arena--except Chinatown, which gave its name to this neighborhood, but has since been priced out by all the hip new development. Chinatown has moved to suburban Rockville.
At Clyde's we parked at the bar in front of a super-wide-screen television where we got an even better view of the Capitals game. It ended in defeat for the home team after a dismal performance in a three-point shootout. We ordered some fried calamari and an hors d'oeuvre pizza and boy were they bad. The calamari was overcooked. The pizza was limp and soggy. Does management taste the food anymore? Or does the chef check out sometime before 10 pm? This is the kind of food you should give away with the booze. Check that: This food shouldn't even be offered free. Even free food should be better than this. But at a minimum, you should be embarrassed to charge for it.

Despite the indigestible food, we were barely able to squeeze past the crowds waiting to get in the place on our way out. It was past my bedtime, but the junior- and Ms.-executive types were just getting started. And this on a Wednesday night. Even when the food is bad, our urge to gather around the same campfire is strong...

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