Normally the best idea in Leaf land is try to stay out of Burkie's Dog House.
But sometimes there are benefits to being in it, too -- like getting the opportunity to try 11 different types of speciality hot dogs, followed by a dozen other new menu items including a curry chicken roll and pulled pork slider or sweet potato fries.
No heartburn here. Just doing my part to help the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.
"Tough day at the office, Scrawler?" jokes photographer Dave Abel.
Who says there is no such thing as investigative journalism?
Cameras flashed as crusty but loveable GM Brian Burke tried the first reuben hot dog, right in front of a spanking brand new Burkie's Dog House in the beautiful new atrium section of the ACC. This wasn't George Clooney, folks, or even an announcement of a big trade. It was the announcement of a new hot dog.
You can imagine the buzz and media interest if this team ever won the big dog of a trophy.
"You can safely say they wouldn't have this kind of media interest in the opening of a hot dog stand in some of the other markets I have worked," jokes Burke. "But I think it's great that it's like that here."
But he's also realistic, or even fatalistic, on the downside.
"What happens if they fire me?" he says laughing. "Do they put the new GM up there?"
What happens if he brings a Stanley Cup here? Burkie's Dog House will become Burkie's Penthouse.
While we wait, there is always the new poutine dog to enjoy.
"The food is better here than in Pittsburgh," says one journalist.
"But I think they would rather boast having the Stanley Cup."
Burke doesn't deny any of that. He knows what his job is here.
As they build up the team, and the Raptors on the basketball side, MLSE president Richard Peddie says the entertainment experience must also be upgraded.
"People spend just 10% of their earnings on entertainment and you have to remain competitive."
It has been said before that the experience at the ACC can be expensive but I also understand this is the way it is at any major professional venue or at a premium event.
In this case many items are not badly priced -- ranging from $2.75 at the low end for a junior hot dog to $12.99 for a freshly carved roast beef sandwich.
You can tell me yourself what you think if you see me tonight at the Coca-Cola ZeroTM Fans First Game against the Boston Bruins. I am going to hang around the new Ice Box lounge.
One thing I already know is, I have been to many stadiums and I don't remember anywhere else having fresh sushi, prepared by sushi chefs, pita bread and hummus, steamed edamame, 100% kobe beef burgers, barbecue pork sandwiches smoked on the premises to go with portobello or Philly cheese steak sandwiches or vegetarian panini.
Executive chef Robert Bartley and food and beverage vice-president Michael Doyle have outdone themselves and get a Scrawler thumbs up.
And don't forget about Wally's Donuts, which has tiny donuts cooked in canola and coated with cinnamon sugar, or the soon to be famous Carlton Bear Paws or Raptor Claws cooked by ACC pastry chef Wally Arruda.
Those things will chew up the Ottawa Beaver Tail any day.
There's no question that the Leafs have improved their game day food selection and products.
Next is improving the product on the ice.
HOT DOG! THERE'S NEW CHOW AT THE ACC
SCRAWLER RATES THE MENU
RAPTOR CLAWS & BEAR PAWS
BEAVER TAILS REVISITED
Move over Ottawa's Beaver Tails, the Raptor Claws are on the loose. Is there anything better than fried dough coated with sugar?
THE PEE WEE DOG
Probably perfect for the kids, but Scrawler needs the giant-sized one to get through three periods.
Wonder what Harold Ballard would have said if they wanted to serve noodles, vegetables and chicken in the Gardens? He would have found them tasty though.
STEAMED SOYBEAN PODS
Edamame at a hockey game? I know this is what downtown intellectuals eat -- but this is too much. They should charge the same for these as they charge for plastic bags -- 5 cents.