Minneapolis: Ohio State vs. Minnesota

I’ve been trying to make it to Minnesota for a football game since they built their on campus stadium in 2009: TCF Bank Stadium.  TCF Bank Stadium is the first new stadium built by a Big Ten school since 1960 (Penn State’s Beaver Stadium). Minnesota went into the game with a 7-2 record and ranked #25 by the College Football Playoff Committee against #8 Ohio State. I thought it was an all-around great game, granted I’m not one to mind snow when it comes to football.  It was 15 degrees which is the lowest temperature ever at TCF Bank Stadium and the lowest temperature the Buckeyes have played in going back more than a half-century.  Ohio State had some turnover troubles throughout the game but was never really in trouble and went on to win 31-24.

TFC Bank Stadium
I always enjoy visiting different stadiums and seeing a new large scale college stadium is rather unique.  The large concourses were able to hold most of the fans during halftime.  When we arrived, the greeters were handing out towels and hand warmers.  TCF Bank Stadium is also unique among Big Ten stadiums as they sell beer at the stadium.

Grumpy’s & Dinner
After getting situated on Friday, we headed a couple of blocks from our hotel to Grumpy’s downtown bar and on the way we stumbled upon Day Block Brewing Company so we gave it a go.  The food at Day Block was excellent (garlic knots and a flight of bacon) but the beer was a little too out there for me.  Nearly all of it was a spice of some sort, chili peppers in beer is not my thing.  After a couple of beers we headed over to Grumpy’s.  I wasn’t able to make it to Grumpy’s the last time I was in Minneapolis so I’m glad our hotel was near one of their bars.  The burger looked amazing.

Butcher & The Boar
For dinner we had reservations at Butcher & The Boar where we managed to get seated at the bar before hand.  The food was great, my ‘double pork chop’ was a little over the top (it had three bones, not the two that a double would imply).  The wild boar sausage was great as well.  Really just a great place, the service was top notch.

Transportation into and around Minneapolis couldn’t have been easier.  We took the METRO Blue Line from the airport to within a couple of blocks of our hotel and then were able to take the Green Line to the University of Minnesota campus and back.

Campus & Dinkytown
After taking the train, we walked through a decent portion of campus on the way over to Dinkytown for breakfast.  Minnesota’s campus is similar to all Big Ten campuses: massive.  Very quiet for a Saturday morning game day.  We headed over to Tony’s Diner for breakfast which was a happening place and then made our way to the game.

Neye’s Polonaise Room
After the game we headed to Nye’s Polonaise Room for dinner and culture.  Nye’s is basically a steakhouse/dive bar with a house Polka band.  A combination that is hard to beat.  In 2006 Esquire magazine named Nye’s the Best Bar in America.  As we entered the band was playing Johnny Cash, it was everything I imagined and I had the ribeye.

Side Notes:
* The Minnesota Vikings new stadium (tentatively named Viking Stadium until the naming rights are sold) currently under construction in downtown Minneapolis.

** BIG TEN & Notre Dame Stadium Map with added University of Minnesota now that it’s been checked of my list and University of Chicago a founding and former member of the BIG TEN.

Chicago Vs. Carnegie Mellon

The University of Chicago‘s previous football glory has always interested me so this year seeing that the Maroons were having a solid year we decided to head down to Hyde Park for their final home game against Carnegie Mellon University. Julie and I have several friends who are alumni so we put out the word and were able to round up a total of eight people (two children) to attend.

We made a morning out of it meeting at Salonica for breakfast before taking a walk across campus checking out a couple of the buildings and seeing the site of the original Stagg Field where the current Regenstein Library now stands. As part of the Manhattan Project, the first man-made self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated in CP-1 on 2 December 1942, under the supervision of Enrico Fermi below the stadium grand stands.

There was a decent crowd at the game with an attendance of 1,058. Chicago started off strong and pulled away with a 28-7 win. Carnegie Mellon was shutout until the final minutes of the game. It was the final home game of the season and senior night so there were a good amount of player parents sitting in our section. Carnegie Mellon actually traveled with a large group of parents as well.  Chicago finished the season 8-1 with their only loss coming against Bethel University.

After the game we walked over to Jimmy’s (i.e. the Woodlawn Tap).  It was a great overall day in Hyde Park.

Side Notes:
* The original Stagg Field, which held 50,000 people was demolished in 1957. The entry gate to the current Stagg Field is the only part of the structure that remains.

CAF: Open House Chicago – 2014

Edgewater Beach Apartments
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Last Saturday Julie and I took advantage of the Chicago Architecture Foundation‘s Open House Chicago and made it to six locations. Once again the weather was pretty rough but we had a mapped out plan and kept moving.

We started at the Edgewater Beach Apartments on the far Northside of the city. The building was completed in 1928 as part of the Edgewater Beach Hotel. The building has been well maintained and has many of the original features including the indoor pool.

Polish General Consulate
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We had to make an appointment for our next stop at the Polish General Consulate Chicago. The Consulate is housed in one of the seven remaining Lake Shore Drive mansions.

The Allerton Hotel’s Tip Top Tap
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The Allerton Hotel’s Tip Top Tap room was probably the only disappointment of the day. The Tip Top Tap used to be a lounge but is currently just an event space. The views aren’t that good because of how the windows are situated and other than that, it’s simply an empty room.

The Blackstone Hotel
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The Blackstone Hotel had opened their Presidential Suite which has actually been used by many a President over the years.

Hilton Chicago (Formerly the Stevens Hotel)
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The Hilton Chicago Hotel, which was originally the Stevens Hotel, opened one of their two Imperial Suites for the tour. The suite is located on the top of the Hotel with views of Lake Michigan and Grant Park.

Cliff Dwellers Club
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The Cliff Dwellers Club is located on the top of the Borg Warner Building on Michigan Avenue. The club has a roof deck patio that looks out over Grant Park.

Side Notes:
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*  With Julie’s CAF Membership we were able to access the Member’s Only sites as well as skip all of the lines at any sites.  This is really key if you’re trying to make a day of Open House Chicago.
** Julie’s photographs are here.