On Monday, I went to my first ever event at the Barclay's Center. It's in our neighborhood (-ish), it's very controversial, and it's totally changed the profile of our fair borough. So, I couldn't wait too long to go, right? Right. So, I put it on my 101 Things List to go see something there.
Cher will be performing in concert in a couple of months, but the tickets are super pricey, and in the meantime, David suggested that we go see a basketball game. The Brooklyn Nets were playing the Toronto Raptors, so David went on-line and found tickets for us.
On Stubhub, he found "All-Access" tickets. Two seats on the main level, padded (so it doesn't hurt my po-po), with a special line to get in, and all sorts of VIP treatment that we probably didn't even know, but most importantly--free food, all-you-can-eat, from any of the concourse concession stands, and a couple of super secret hidden buffets. The tickets only turned out to be about 100 bucks, each, and they were terrific seats, and I gotta say--I'm sure I ate nearly 100 bucks in food.
The food at Barclay's Center is not your standard-variety arena fare. Sure, they've got hotdogs (which I didn't try), but they also have lobster rolls, barbeque, gourmet nachos, and lots of other options. I started with some mac and cheese topped with barbequed brisket from Fatty 'Cue. It was really excellent. Then we went up to one of the secret buffets, and I got steak from a carving station with green peppercorn sauce, and a few meatballs.
Whenever we went up to a counter, I always asked the person working there what their favorite thing to eat in the entire arena was. The first guy said, "I've got my eye on a sub sandwich over there," as he motioned toward a deli. The next woman said that she really liked the fish tacos at Calexico. But when I got to the place where they sold the boneless wings, I kind of hit a brick wall.
Since one of my 101 Things items is to eat wings at a certain number of places, I tried the boneless buffalo wings. I asked the woman working there what she'd recommend, and she said, "Well, I haven't tried everything yet." Ha ha ha. So, I ordered my boneless wings, and I asked her if I should get them hot or mild. She said she didn't really like spicy food, so I should get the mild. So I ordered that, and then I pressed her again. "So, of the things you've tried so far, what did you like?"
"Um. Mild boneless wings?" Ugh.
She was sweet, though. She told me that she's only been working there for four games, but that the Nets have won every time since she started working. So, that's something.
Unfortunately, they were really bad wings. First off, they were basically just breaded white meat chicken nuggets. White meat chicken is the worst, if you ask me. Plus, after they were coated in the sauce, the light breading kind of slid off the meat. The mild sauce was really too bland for me, and though it came with a couple sticks of celery, there was no dressing--neither ranch, nor my favorite--BLEU CHEESE! I ate one of the "wings" and then tossed the rest. Good thing it was free with my All Access ticket, because if I'd paid money for that, I'd have been really pissed off.
The game was really fun. Our seats were terrific, and since they were playing Toronto, we got treated to not one, but TWO national anthems. If you've never heard "Oh, Canada" before, you might be surprised to know that it is not sung to the tune of "O Tannenbaum" and they don't mention Christmas Trees, not even once.
The Nets were behind for most of the first half, but they pulled up to a near-tie at half time. I'd only been to one other NBA game before, because I wanted to see Michael Jordan play, live, back when I lived in Chicago in the '90s. My seats for that game were pretty high up in the United Center, but even from that vantage point, you could see how incredible it was to see professional basketball players playing at that level. Well, when you're on the main level, it's even more incredible. Somehow, basketball on TV just kind of bores me. It seems like a lot of running back-and-forth. But when you see it live, it takes on a whole new dimension.
I had a great time. Until the very end of the very close game, when I checked my e-mail on my phone and work started blowing up all around me. At 10 p.m. at night. Ugh. So, I spent the best part of the game frantically typing on my phone with my thumbs. And then I was so wound up and stressed out when I got home that I didn't sleep well.
All told, however, I'd totally go back and do this again. I don't know that it's be worth paying $400 a ticket, but if you can find cheaper re-sale tickets on-line, it's a total entertainment bargain.