Did you breathe a sigh of relief after the NBA lockout was resolved? Rush over to your team's web site to buy season tickets? Maybe you were never interested in those overpaid whiners getting back on the court, but have your hockey tickets all locked up? So, are you headed to the game? Time for a little "research" to help you make the most informed choice possible on what is very likely the most important decision you will have to make the rest of the day: where to eat once you're inside the gate.
Conventionally, you could argue that an excellent strategy for arena eating is to go for the bucket of chicken tenders and fries. Unlike the bare, dry, foil-wrapped burger that more resembles something passed on the ice rink below, you can see the chicken tenders. Yes, they've been sitting under a heat lamp, but your wait on line gives you an idea of how fresh they are. And, spoiler, they're usually good. How can the quality change that much, right? They look the same everywhere. (Aren't they all made at some central processing plant?) Truth is, with the exception of your elementary school cafeteria, nobody ruins chicken tenders. And because they usually come with fries, you typically save a few bucks. Order the chicken tenders bucket, add a beverage, and you're golden.
This list, though, is not about how to eat conventionally at the game. This isn't free-throw eating. This is about how to eat spectacularly. This is a top-of-the-key dunk, this is the hat trick of arena eats. Some of these meals are only accessible to those with suite seats, but many are available to all attendees with the proper knowledge of how to optimize their eating experience.
From the salmon fish tacos at the Pyramid Taproom brewpub at The Rose Garden in Portland, Ore., to the exquisitely decadent dessert cart at the suite level in the Staples Center, you're sure to see some great arena eats in the accompanying slideshow — food that's worth taking a few minutes away from the game to bring it back to your seat.