Several years ago one of my best friends worked for the Anaheim Ducks (they were the Mighty Ducks then) and I used to go down there several times a year to see games. I'm not a hockey fan at all, but I freely admit that watching hockey live is spectacular. There is no sport with a bigger discrepancy between watching it live and watching it on television. You can follow the puck, see the plays develop, and get a sense of just how good the players are. (On television it always seems like maybe I can skate as fast as the players. In person it becomes obvious I would drop dead within 45 seconds of trying to keep up with an NHL team.) And it didn't hurt that the tickets were always free, including one game where my seats were against the glass, one of the best seats I have ever had for any sporting event.
After the games we would go across the street to JT Schmid's and have a couple beers, or head up to Downtown Disney and play a few games at the ESPN Zone. On one such trip I met one of my friend's co-workers, who would become his girlfriend, and eventually his wife. To celebrate her most recent birthday he invited a big group down to the ESPN Zone to relive old times.
The table I was at had a big plate of "Zone Queso Chips" - basically just nachos with chicken. It was one of those dishes about which there is nothing special, but seems much more enjoyable when shared at a table of friends with a few beers, reminiscing about old times. After eating those we went upstairs to the game room. I played a pitching simulator. Garret Anderson got a hit off of me but I struck out ARod on 4 pitches. It must have been a pressure situation for him.
After a few hours at the ESPN Zone, a friend and I went for a walk around Downtown Disney. There was some good music coming from Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, and we both wanted a little something more to eat, so we took a seat on their patio. It was a warm night and I had a bottle of Turbodog. We also had some "Abita Beer Battered Onion Rings," which were good, and some barbecue pork spring rolls. (I apologize for the terrible quality of the picture of those.) They were made of pulled pork and sauce, and served with cole slaw and a "pomegranate raspberry glaze" that was nowhere near as sweet as I feared it was going to be.
This was my first time at Downtown Disney in several years, and it will probably be a few more years before I go back, but it was still a fun evening. None of the food was anything special, but it was great seeing old friends, and it's always nice to strike out a guy who has made 197 million dollars in his baseball career and yet never played in a World Series.