(Editor’s note: this article was written prior to the match-up IN Anaheim, but was not able to be published at the time)

Opponent: Anaheim Ducks

Tonight, the Predators  take on the Anaheim Ducks at home. The Ducks played their first season in 1993 as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Yes, they were named after the Disney movie – in fact, the Walt Disney Company was the original owner of the team until they sold them in 2005. In addition to the price of rights to an NHL team, Disney also had to pay a fee of $50 million to the L.A. Kings organization to “share southern California.”

The Ducks have one Stanley Cup victory (2006-07) in addition to 11 playoff appearances, four Pacific Division titles, and two Western Conference championships. The Stanley Cup rode atop the Ducks float in the 2008 Rose Bowl parade, as the team were still defending champs at that time. During their last couple playoff appearances, a pep band called Bear Brass has played at the games, pumping up the crowd with some unique music. They even played a tune to accompany the Ducks’ goal horn.

Wild Wing is the mascot for the Ducks. He is designed to look like the duck in the original Mighty Ducks logo and wears #93 to symbolize the year of their inaugural season. Wild Wing was also the star of the Mighty Ducks cartoon and he appears in the The Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam game at DisneyQuest.

The city of Anaheim was founded in 1857 by about 50 German families. They were part of a large group who moved from Bavaria to the San Francisco area, decided to branch out, and purchased a large portion of the land that is now Anaheim to develop vineyards to produce wine. For about 30 years they produced quite a lot, but a disease wiped out almost all the grape vines (tragic) and they never recovered. They went on to develop many of the orange groves that are more recognizable as part of the area today.

For tonight’s game, I’m throwing it way back to those German roots: I made jaegerschnitzel (Hunter’s Schnitzel) covered in a mushroom and bacon gravy, a traditional German dish that was often eaten after a long day hunting – perhaps for Ducks (see what I did there?). There are varying techniques for this dish listed on the internet, many of which do not distinguish the difference between jaegerschnitzel (very lightly coated with flour before frying) and wiener schnitzel (breaded with egg wash and breadcrumbs).

Although “German food” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to most folks’ minds when they think of Anaheim, there are several places to find it around t0wn. One such place is the Jagerhaus, which has a huge menu from breakfast to supper and a selection of German beers and wines. For more traditional meals, check out The Old World – centered in a European style shopping village and voted “California’s Best Sausages.” For a German pub atmosphere with both German and American food available, check out Bierstube inside the Phoenix Club Event Center. If you bring in a same-day ticket stub from a Ducks or Angels game, you get happy hour pricing no matter the time! You can also check out Mattern Sausage and Meats, a deli featuring German sandwiches, meats, cheeses, and a miniature German grocery store inside. The Wursthaus has a little more modern take on European food and drink; their roots are in German dining but you will find some modern touches along with other styles such as Polish, Belgian, Sicilian, and Norwegian.

For some hearty and unique burgers, check out Slaters 50/50. They make their burger patties with 50% ground beef and 50% ground BACON. Their signature burger has a 50/50 patty, pepper jack cheese, a sunny side up egg, “avocado mash,” and chipotle may on a brioche bun. If that’s not enough, though, they have the B’B’B’ burger: 50/50 patty, thick cut bacon, bacon American cheese, sunny side up egg, and bacon island dressing, on a bacon pretzel bun. They also have things like a mint chocolate shake made with Guinness and crushed Andes mints; maple bacon shakes; s’mores shakes; and many more. If you’re more in the mood for an old-school burger experience, check out Knowlwood – they’ve been around since 1957 and now have five locations whose theme and menu will take you back to the ’50s. And if you’re more of the uppity, fancy burger type, there’s a place for you as well: Umami Burger.

For a “taste” of history, check out the Anaheim Brewery where they have roots leading back to 1870. They took a long hiatus after being closed down by prohibition, and reopened in a building built in the 1920s in Anaheim’s historic district. They have a tasting room where you can also see the beer being brewed as well as an outdoor beer garden. The current owners spent several years living in Bavaria, Germany, and brought with them several new brewing techniques and flavor combinations to throw back to the German heritage of the area.

The Anaheim Packing District is kind of like an old-school mall food court – except for good food. You can find Indian food, a grilled cheese bar, a speakeasy with craft cocktails, a bulk candy store, fish n chips, wood-fired pizza, a “beer and waffles” joint, a southern food restaurant, comfort food, a gelato bar, a Mexican restaurant, a Vietnamese restaurant, and many more. They also feature a farmer’s market with year-round fresh and locally sourced produce and goods.

A few more places of note worth checking out: The Pizza Press, where you can get a fresh made pizza with as many toppings as you’d like for $10 and wash it down with tons of craft beer; Forn Al Hala, an Arabic pizza joint with a lot of unique flavors and ingredients; Punjab Tandoor, where you can get some very authentic Indian food served up in some not-so-authentic styrofoam platters – but that doesn’t diminish the flavor; The Earl Of Sandwich, who claims to have the world’s best hot sandwiches; Ninja’s With Appetites for your “one stop shop for teriyaki on the go;” Los Alazanes Mexican Food for some authentic Mexican; the Mas Chinese Islamic Restaurant, which takes California fusion cooking to the extreme by mixing Chinese and Arabic food; Walker’s Liquor and Deli, for when you need a bottle of booze and a sandwich and don’t want to stop at more than one place; and the Corn Dog Castle, which is exactly as awesome as it sounds.

Of course, Anaheim is famous for Disneyland – which has seemingly endless options for dining. But what most people don’t know is they have a secret restaurant there called Club 33. It is in the New Orleans district – and extremely exclusive. Members pay a $25,000 initiation fee and an additional $10,000 per year in renewal fees. While that sounds steep, keep in mind it is in southern California, where there’s plenty of celebrity money to go around, and plenty of celebrity memberships to the club. There is currently an 800 person waiting list. The price may be worth it for the simple fact that it is the only place at Disneyland that serves alcohol!

Although the most traditional form of jaegerschnitzel uses wild boar or veal meat, for accessibility and budget purposes, I went with the more modern take that uses standard pork.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 2 pounds of 1/2 cut pork (any part that pounds out easily with a hammer – I used sliced shoulder blade)
  • 1/2 lb fresh button or steak-cut mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 Tbl lard or bacon fat
  • 1/2 lb bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 2 cups beef stock (not broth)
  • 3 Tbl heavy cream
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • glass of bourbon (for yourself)

What you need to do:

  • Pound the meat out until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Let sit for about 20 minutes to get closer to room temp. Sprinkle on (but do not bread with) a dusting of flour on both sides.

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  • Melt some lard or bacon fat in the skillet and toss in the bacon, onion, and mushrooms. Saute them until the bacon is cooked. Take it all out with a slotted spoon and leave the melted lard and drippings in the skillet.

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  • Put the pork in the skillet and fry it.

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  • Take the pork out. Leave the drippings and stickings. Whisk in the flour slowly to form a roux. Add in the beef stock, let it get hot. Stir in the cream. Add in the bacon, mushroom, and onion mix. Cook until desired gravy consistency.

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  • Now you’re ready to eat!

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We had ours with mashed potatoes (which we also covered with gravy) and some dressing.

Enjoy, y’all!

Previously:  New Jersey Devils | New York Islanders | Ottawa Senators | San Jose Sharks