Wed, 12/12/12 10:02 AM
Sunday November 25, 2012 (cont.) This was the day that TTM was going home as he had a 10:45PM redeye flight home. We also had plans to attend the UCLA basketball game in Westwood and the game didn't start until 7:00PM. To make things easier, we decided to drop off his car rental early and then I would drive him to LAX after the game. Pauley Pavilion, home of the UCLA Bruins, is one of the true shrines of college basketball. The arena is newly renovated and looks great. These games are normally a sell out, but the holiday break made getting tickets easier, so we were able to buy them at the box office. While waiting for the doors to open, we admired the statue of John Wooden, the very successful and recently deceased coach. Coach Wooden attended the games for many years after he retired and in his memory, they still keep his seat open. Our seats were in the upper bowl, but we still had a great view of the court. You can see in the last photo all the banners from their national championship teams in basketball, as well as volleyball and gymnastics. In one of the very best renditions of the national anthem I have witnessed, they had two violinists from the music department play the song. Beautifully done! Some photos from the game, on and off the court: Nobody was expecting the game to be close, since UCLA was nationally ranked and their opponent, Cal Poly was lightly regarded. But, that's why they play the game. As usual, I like to root for the home team when visiting different arenas and stadiums. Mariton surprised me by rooting for the team in green (Cal Poly) and even sayingearly on that they were going to win. I didn't think much of it as UCLA had a comfortable lead at halftime. Part of the halftime entertainment was three lucky fans got a chance to shoot some baskets for prizes. What they had to do was make a layup, a free throw and a shot from half court in 30 seconds. The first two contestants, a man and a woman, both made the first two shots, but didn't come close with the half court shot. The final contestant ( I think his name was Wendell) swished both the first two, which gave him plenty of time for several chances at the half court shot. But, all he needed was one as he swished that one, too. The crowd erupted and gave him a standing ovation. Here he is watching it on the scoreboard afterwards. Unfortunately, I can't remember what he won, but it was fun to watch! UCLA could have used Wendell in the second half as Cal Poly kept it close, eventually going on a run and making the final five minutes of the game very exciting. Tied with just a few seconds left, UCLA committed a really dumb foul, the Cal Poly player made both free throws and the Mustangs hung on to win 70-68. We had no time to savor the upset as we raced out of the building to get TTM to LAX. Traffic approaching LAX was absolutely brutal. I felt bad for him as he apologized several times for this, but obviously it was not his fault. But, this did make me feel very happy that I didn't fly in and out of LAX myself. The important thing was he made his flight and was back at work the next morning. A big thank you to The Travelin Man for joining us out here as we really enjoyed his company as always. Driving back to the hotel, we had to stop for food somewhere, but I had no interest in going far out of the way. So, we decided this would be a good time to hit Pink's Famous Chili Dogs. We had driven past Pink's early in the trip and of course, there was a long line. On this night, we practically had the place to ourselves. Actually, I wish there had been someone else in line, because that would have given me more time to look over the options, because I was not happy with what was ordered. You can sit in the small indoor dining room, but Mariton was happy to sit outside in the back patio, even though it was a little cold out. First up was the chili dog. I know Pink's gets a bad rap here on Roadfood, but we thought this was a really good chili dog. The chili did not taste like it was homemade, but I still like most chilis. The bun was pleasantly soft, the onions were fresh and the wiener itself had a nice snap when bitten into. I could have done without the cheese, but that is no big deal. I would definitely order this chili dog again. What I wouldn't do is stand in line for an hour to eat this chili dog. The other hot dog was less successful. This was a mushroom swiss dog. The mushrooms tasted straight from the can, the swiss was barely noticable and we only ate a few bites before throwing it away. But, I blame myself and wish I had taken the time to read the menu board a little longer. To drink, a long time favorite Grape Crush. We enjoyed our stop at this local legend, but no doubt there are better hot dogs out there in Los Angeles. Pink's Famous Chili Dogs 709 N. LaBrea Avenue Los Angeles, CA 323-931-4223 From there, it was straight back to the hotel for the night.