Nov 5, 2012

Sometimes We Go To Soccer Games

I don't follow sports. I watch the Superbowl for the commercials. Baseball is only kind of interesting in October. Basketball? If it's a good game, I can get into it; otherwise, meh. Soccer, however, I can usually pay more attention to. Having spent the last ten years with a major soccer fan, it's kind of rubbing off on me. Not enough that I really follow soccer, but enough to make my husband smile when I say something relevant. (Or give me a wtf face when I confuse things. Come on, man! I'm trying!)

Of course, you can take me to any live sporting event and I'd be interested. Though it's really the crowd and cheering on the live action that interests me more than the game itself. So Jamie and I love going to soccer games. The LA Galaxy, Chivas USA and the US Men's Soccer Team all play at the Home Depot Center about 45 minutes away, so we have plenty of opportunities to go see a game.

Last week, we went to see LA Galaxy beat Vancouver to head to the semi-finals. Jamie decided to drop a little extra dough and grab first row seats, mid-field, behind the Galaxy bench. These seats came with a couple perks, one of them being that we got access to the American Express Stadium Club.

Dinner with a view.
We were looking forward to a delicious dinner and a couple of drinks before the game. Unfortunately, everything turned sour almost right away. As we were sat, the hostess grabbed us a menu and assured us our server would be by to take our drink order. While we waiting, we checked the menu and learned that it was a prix-fixe situation. So I thought we got to choose one thing from each section on the menu: meat, vegetable, grain, etc. Wrong. It was a buffet. A buffet with fairly few options. It was nearly $30 per person, so we were at least expecting something delicious.

After waiting nearly ten minutes for our server to stop by for our drink order, we head to the buffet and load up our plates. Jamie's charred sirloin? Fatty and chewy. My smothered pork tenderloin? Overcooked and barely drizzled in yellow gravy that tasted like the yellow gravy from elementary school, except school gravy was better. Mixed veggies? Not bad. Mashed potatoes? Buttery and garlicky, so good. Penne with alfredo? Thin sauce, overcooked pasta, plastic-laden.

Yes, I said plastic-laden. My second bite in, I find a long piece of melted Saran wrap that got cooked up with the pasta. I'm not turned off by finding things in my food; I'm pretty easy-going and will keep eating as long as management takes appropriate action. A server who wasn't our server stopped by and I showed her the plastic. The chef came out and apologized and offered free dessert as well as comping both of our meals.  We weren't going to get dessert, but since it was free... duh. I ordered the funnel cake fries, which came with a caramel dipping sauce and a raspberry dipping sauce and hello? It was the best part of dinner. It so exceeded the buffet, but likely because it was made fresh.

Anyway, our dinner ended up only costing the price of my vodka soda. Jamie ended up not getting a drink because it took another 10 minutes for our server to come back and tell him that the bar didn't have what he ordered, so he just drank water. Overall, the visit to this restaurant was pretty terrible, so I'm glad we didn't have to pay for it. We would have been really sour about paying so much for a double bogey of a dining experience.

Aside from the service being poor and the food sub-par, the restaurant was so brightly lit. I think we would have had more ambiance had we gone to Denny's. But oh, hey, look! The MLS Cup was hanging out up there.


Happy to finally leave the restaurant, we grabbed a couple drinks at the bar outside and headed down to our seats. Our really great seats.

This is not zoomed in at all.
If you're a fan of soccer, or if you're a woman, you probably know that David Beckham lives and plays in LA now. Yes, I admit, this was probably my main reason for agreeing to splurge on field-side seats behind the bench. (Another was the opportunity to see Landon Donovan's gleaming forehead a little closer up.) I do, though, also enjoy watching the game and liked having great seats. Being able to see Becks' stubble beard with my naked eye was just a bonus.

He even fares well zoomed in and pixelated.
We had a great time and Galaxy ended up taking over Vancouver's early lead and won 2-1, so they advanced and played San Jose last night. Hopefully, they'll stick it out in the playoffs and we'll be able to go back and catch another game.

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