Author Archives: WMEB

What’s food got to do with it?

One of the best parts about going to professional sporting events is the (expensive) food and drink you get to indulge in while you’re there. Food can make improve any fan’s day, and may be the lone bright spot of your trip, especially if you’re a Sabres fan.

I’ll never forget my first Fenway Frank, or the look of disgust on my father’s face when the vendor asked him to cough up his life savings for two of them. Eating and drinking is part of the culture of watching sports how they were meant to be watched: live and unfiltered. Forking over a few more bucks for a stale hot dog and a flat beer is just a part of the ride.

With this in mind, here’s a list of the best food you can get at each Atlantic Division venue.

ss-venues-tdgardenTD Garden

Home of: Boston Bruins

Best food: The Frank House

Although the Garden offers one of the widest assortments of dining options in the NHL – with restaurants, clubs, lounges and bars at every (of age) fans’ disposal – this hot dog on steroids is what sticks out to most Bs patrons. It’s basically a Kayem Hot Dog at its foundation, but it leaves enough room for customization that any fan can find some form of the dish that they will enjoy. Chili, cheese, jalapenos or Nacho Grande are just a few of the different ways to enjoy this signature dog.

Price Range: TD Garden does a pretty good job keeping their prices a secret. The only way you’re going to find out what they are is to order something off their menu, but no matter how pricy they get, isn’t that a part of the experience?

firestickgrill2_640x360Tampa Bay Times Forum

Home of: Tampa Bay Lightning

Best food: Anything from the Firestick Grill

For Lightning fans, it’s not about just one dish, and it’s definitely not about traditional “ballpark food.” The Firestick Grill is the main food attraction for Bolts fans, and it’s hard to argue with their choice. With a menu that changes from game to game and event to event, there’s always something different to try. That may not be ideal for those who enjoy having a “go-to”, but for those fans who like to keep it fresh, there’s nothing better. The Grill features everything from lobster bisque to Mediterranean ragout, fruit displays, seafood bars and everything in between.

Price Range: The place is all-you-can-eat at $57 per person (or $42.75 per person for full season ticket holders).

logo-cageBell Centre

Home of: Montreal Canadiens

Best Food: La Cage aux Sports

Similar to the Lightning’s formula, the Canadiens feature one of the biggest sports bars/restaurants in Canada in La Cage aux Sports, located directly inside the Bell Centre. Although the food itself is impressive, what might cause a few more jaw-drops is just how large this venue is. With two levels that can hold up 550 guests, 70 TV sets and four giant screens, there may not be a better place to watch a hockey game in Montreal (besides having glass seats, of course). The traditional chicken finger basket is a fan favorite, but La Cage also delves into some more exotic dishes, with wraps unique to the Montreal area.

Price Range: $3.99 – $33.99

9746287-largeJoe Louis Arena

Home of: Detroit Red Wings

Best food: Polish dog with cheese

There are many dining options as you move throughout the concourse of one of the most storied arenas in the NHL, but the item that sticks out to most Wings fans is the Polish dog with cheese. One of the cheaper items on the menu at $4.25, this dog is available at all the general concessions stands. The arena also stacks up well in terms of the availability of chain restaurants and food, including local establishments like Hockeytown Café, Cheli’s Chilli Bar, Buffalo Wild Wings and Little Caesars pizza.

The Air Canada Centre

Home of: Toronto Maple Leafs

Best Food: Take your pick

The Leafs’ home arena features the most clubs and restaurants of any Atlantic Division venue, so to pick just one would be a sever injustice. It offers a Union Market to cater to the mainstream fans, with Toronto staples like Pizza Pizza, Mr. Sub and Tim Hortons, but the real attraction lies in its top-level restaurants and clubs. The Platinum Club (which offers exactly what it sounds like it offers: fine dining and over 600 different types of wine), The Air Canada Club (its most popular upscale dining hall, with an assortment of wine pairings and “sophisticated” menu options), and the Hot Stove Club (which offers traditional steak house cuisine), all combine to make The Air Canada Centre one of the classier dining venues in all of the NHL.

The Air Canada Club Price Range: $6.50 – $55.00

Canadian Tire Centre

Home of: Ottawa Senators

Best Food: Smoked-meat sandwich

Like every professional arena today, the Canadian Tire Centre offers up a boatload of dining options. With restaurants and bars for every time of the day and every type of “pre-gamer”, there’s something for everyone. Despite having an assortment of options, the 111 Deli and Pub is the go-to place to eat, thanks in large part to its signature sandwich. The smoked-meat sandwich is the most popular menu item for a reason, with smoked steak smothered in barbeque sauce and topped with virtually any condiment you want, it’s been a best-seller for years.

Price Range: Just like at TD, the espionage of menu pricing is in full-swing in Ottawa as well. A sandwich place can’t be too wallet-punishing, can it?

jerk-shrimp-tacos-with-pineapple-salsa-slaw-and-pina-colada-crema-500w-7624BB&T Center

Home of: Florida Panthers

Best Food: Take your pick

The Panthers go with a quantity over quality approach at the BB&T Center. That is not to say that their food is terrible, only to highlight that there’s more options than a signature dish. They expanded their menus in 2012 to appeal to more fans, bringing in more unique items like jerk shrimp tacos and sweet & spicy pineapple jam, pulled chicken croissants and local favorites, all designed to provide different tastes and textures at a reduced price. You can’t go wrong at the BB&T.

Price Range: See TD Garden, Canadian Tire Centre

First Niagara Center

Home of: Buffalo Sabres

Best Food: Take your pick

Like the Panthers at the BB&T, the Sabres and the folks running the First Niagara Center decided to expand their menu, all in hopes of attracting more fans and providing a better overall experience (and when you’re team is dead last in the NHL, you’re going to need all the help you can get). Buffalo’s Lexus Club is now featuring several new seafood dishes like crab cakes, bubbling crab dip and chicken and shrimp jambalaya, all of which can be customized with peppers, onions, tomatoes, spicy sauces and Cajun rice. The pepper-dusted walleye (which is a fish dish with lemon-poached butter beans, Swiss chard and tomato jus) is a best-seller.

New(ish) on DVD and Blu-Ray: Hell Baby (Movie Review)

In this Horror-Farce brought to you by the creators of Reno 911, ridiculous and crude humor runs rampant.

hell-baby1A couple has just moved into a run down house located in the projects of New Orleans, when they suddenly realize their house is inhabited by a creepy squatter (Keegan-Michael Key), an insane old woman and demonic spirits. The pregnant wife (Leslie Bibb) starts to act in strange homicidal ways, while the husband (Rob Corddry) tries to make sense of all the strange occurrences that have taken place. As the story unfolds, the couple find themselves entangled with a couple of action-hero priests from the Vatican (Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant) a pair of nonsensical cops (Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer) and the wife’s hippie sister (Riki Lindhome). Together, this band of unlikely heroes will have to face the birth of true evil.


hell-baby-movie-poster-171This movie was consistently ridiculous throughout and relatively enjoyable to watch. While the jokes were often juvenile, the absurdity of the story compliments the slap-stick style of comedy that Hell Baby reaches for. This is not a comedy that is meant to make you think. Things happen, often just for the sake of happening. If you’re able to just roll with the punches and be entertained by people making fools of themselves, you will enjoy this movie. If you’re looking for something with a little more substance, look elsewhere. Oh and Key kills it in this movie. He, and Lennon (Dangle from Reno 911) are hands down the reasons why I even remotely enjoyed this movie.

hqdefault1If anything I’ve just described to you sounds interesting or you’d like to know a little more, here’s a clip! View Hell Baby Clip Here

How has Technology changed Sports Video Games

Video games have exploded in popularity with the integration of the internet. Sports video games give many fans the opportunity to play as their team and win championships with the Cleveland Browns, (sorry Browns fans). One of the biggest developments that have helped the progression of video games in the 21st century is the integration of the internet. You can play with your friend that lives in the same town at a game of Madden football. Or you can play a gamer in England and show them who has the best skills in the world. But it hasn’t only improved gaming quality, but also your virtual experience. Many gaming consoles have created virtual stores that you can buy downloadable content from other video games or new roster updates. Every time I fire up Madden 25 it automatically updates week-to-week updating rosters with no effort at all.

xboxandps4v11One of the best features is being able to play your friends from your home town or from around the world. I love having the ability to connect with someone from half-way across the globe and play them in real-time is amazing. It has opened up the door for ultimate world competition as you can see how your skills rate with some of the best players in the world. Becky Cunningham a contributing writer for shared her opinion about how popular online multi-player games have become, “Some gamers now refuse to buy games that don’t have an online multi-player component.”

Downloadable content has become very popular in the gaming industry, especially in sports video games. Every week there seems to be a trade or a new signing by your favorite team and it is tough to keep track of this. Game developers release weekly roster updates so that you can keep up with your team in real-time and not feel a step behind. For me this is a great feature and one less step I have to do. I don’t have to take the team to research who was involved in the trade and put the player on that team. When I start-up the game it automatically downloads the new roster and I can play right away.

Another cool thing that developers have started doing for college football games is during the season some teams like to get new jerseys every game like the Oregon Ducks. If you see your team is wearing a special jersey for this week’s game, game developers have put these in downloadable content areas for a cheap price of $2.99 and you can wear your teams’ jerseys in the game.

With the use of the internet it is only going to improve as we move along. Now you are given the ability to show your skills off to the world with the share button on the Playstation 4. Hit share and you can broadcast your game in real-time to thousands of viewers, or you can post your video to Facebook and all of your friends can see how you juked out your brother in Madden 25.

“Spam Rants” – A Play of Native Proportions

3152014_50646_0Thursday night I attended a showing of William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.’s play, “Spam Rants: How to Recover Your Files and Other Things You Value.” Having previously met and conversed with Mr. Yellow Robe, Jr. I was eager to see him and his creativity at work.

Yellow Robe, Jr., from my interactions, is a very respectful, intelligent, and fun elder. He’s the type of elder who can size you up within minutes of first meeting you and then teaches and tests you based on his quick (and accurate) observations. These characters are shown within his work and analysis on Native culture and people today.

“Spam Rants” is a compilation of short scenes and experiences. The scenes represent an array of Native struggles, misunderstandings and oppression. This includes the environment, politics, elder-to-youth interactions, education, health, religion, and racism. Yellow Robe, Jr. breaks down the meaning of “Spam Rants” as a metaphor for a mess of thoughts and issues as a reflective element of today’s society.

Much of today’s Native youth dismiss elder teachings as crazy talk from the past and has no relevance to life today. Yellow Robe Jr. recreates it in a scene between an uncle and his nephew. The nephew just bought a new rifle and had been bragging about its accuracy and power. The nephew reveled in his description of the death of a deer from a mere grazing of a bullet. In response the uncle described his time hunting with relatives. In the old days and traditions they would share one rifle, and respected the animal, they didn’t “treat hunting like a game.”

An interaction between elders and youth, especially Native males such as this is an example of society’s impact. The “new” Western culture has taught Native males that they need to be focused on material things and getting ahead, instead of showing respect and care to their surroundings the way they traditionally were. The western population has a colonial way of thinking, the idea that old things or old ways should be thrown away for their lack of current relevance regardless of its importance or accuracy in its end result.

Yellow Robe Jr. presents these scenes and concepts gracefully. Graceful in the way that he uses some comic relief so that it is not harsh or offensive and yet still shows understanding and respect for the races and cultures involved. He also doesn’t diminish the impact of the ‘settlization’ that occurred and continues in the Americas and brings plenty of focus to the change that needs to occur in the current thought process of the population.

While the show allowed an entertaining look into Native struggles and mistaken identity, the post show was what I found the most beneficial. It included an analysis of the work as well as any questions from the audience on the subjects, actors, and the writing process of the play. The dialogue that Mr. Yellow Robe, Jr. wishes to create from his works is clearly successful in the mere 20 minutes dedicated to the post show.  Yellow Robe Jr. hopes this dialogue will help continue and examine the movement of ‘decolonization’ as well as invoke action to change the mindset and teachings for the in the Americas.

The play was held at the University of Maine, was free, and open to the public. For those that are near the area or hear of any of Mr. Yellow Robe, Jr.’s productions I definitely recommend attending. His work speaks truthfully on the many issues within the Native community and is incredibly thought provoking. If you get the opportunity to discuss or see any of his work you will absolutely leave with more than you arrived with.

Program Spotlight: West of the Fields

Travis Gass makes no secret of his musical tastes: it’s right there in the title of his show. “West of the Fields”, the song that gives Travis’s show its name is a cut from R.E.M.’s legendary debut Murmur, a rightful staple of college rock. Indeed Travis bookends his show with a pair of R.E.M. songs every week. In addition, his Twitter background image is the cover of R.E.M.’s Chronic Town LP. But the material Travis plays on air is not limited to Michael Stipe and company. If you tune in to WMEB on Mondays at noon you’ll hear a wide variety of music across the alternative spectrum.

1374345_10151773978916319_1510145494_nTravis has been on air for 16 years now, and his show, along with his musical taste, has evolved with the times. When West of the Fields first aired in the late 90s, independent music was burgeoning into a growing cultural force and beginning to break into the mainstream. Brit-pop music in particular was at the height of its popularity, and Travis was right on board. “I think I’m a little less of a hardcore Anglophile than in ’98,” he says. “Back then, if Q magazine or NME was into a band, they were going to be all over the show.”

Over the years, Travis has embraced newly emerging genres in the alternative world. As he puts it: “I’ve sort of surfed the wave of whatever’s going on in the indie rock/college rock world. When Rapture/LCD Soundsystem/CSS dance-punk was all the rage in the mid-2000s, the show was more beat-heavy. Lately it seems like indie rock is obsessed with R&B, and I’ve really enjoyed acts like How To Dress Well or Banks that have kind of combined those aesthetics.” No matter what the prevailing trend, Travis has remained meticulously attentive of current music. As a result, West of the Fields is an intriguing mix of the old and the new.

Travis has also seen the radio station itself change over the years, mostly due to the effects of changing technology. West of the Fields first aired when MP3 technology began spreading across the internet, and since then the show has eased into the digital age. “I used to just fill my backpack with CDs I was interested in playing that week, and then grab stuff from the new music bins at the station,” says Travis. “There was never a set playlist, just a general idea of what I wanted to play. Now I usually have everything plotted out in iTunes well in advance of the show.” According to Travis, this change in format has both its benefits and detriments. “You lose a little spontaneity that way,” he says, “but I think the flow of the show is much better than it used to be.” Now, West of the Fields is also available as a weekly podcast on Travis’s blog on the Bangor Daily News website.

Because of Travis’s longevity on the airwaves, he’s developed an uncanny knack for uncovering forgotten treasures from bygone eras. On occasion, he’ll play the top hits from the alternative charts from years past. This gives interesting and often amusing insights into what was used to be in vogue. Additionally, he counts down his favorite tracks of the year each December.

To listen to West of the Fields, tune in to WMEB every Monday from noon to 3pm.

West of the Fields on Twitter

Travis’s BDN Blog