tailgate tidbits – bow down in chi-town

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10.03.2013 by Andrea

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I’ll be honest I was a little nervous as I started to frame up my ideas for blogging about this trip. My pal J.C, the raddest dancing machine you might have ever met [and someone who puts what I call my “busy schedule” to shame], blasted a post on FB crowning our Chicago weekend “bow down in chi-town.” Catchy title, eh? Clearly I liked it so much I am using it for this post. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you initially, the phrase also started to cause my chest to constrict. As much as I love what is quickly becoming an annual tradition of traveling to a different stadium each year to watch the Dawgs play … a torrent of memories from our visit to LSU came flooding back. Last season I was so hopeful, and believed that we were really going to show the Tigers [and the rest of the SEC] that the Pac-12 is dominant and worth a second look. We all know what happened, no need to rehash raw wounds that haven’t quite healed. Needless to say as I gleefully skipped out of Soldier Field a few weeks ago, I definitely had a much better outlook on the outcome of this year’s first away game. Great job guys! Our offense played fairly sharp, the defense definitely looked sloppy, and while I while I am thankful the game didn’t turn out like the Arizona-Wisconsin game, I did wish that we weren’t called for so many penalties. One must remind herself that should the plays not callable we wouldn’t have seen the sea of yellow flags that we did. One foot forward … and plenty of room for improvement.

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beautiful Soldier Field

Chicago, is one of my most favorite cities in general. To dine, schlep around, laugh, and cheer on the Huskies all in a weekend makes for a combo where I couldn’t ask for much more. It was especially poignant as one of my favorite couples took the time to include the weekend in their farewell tour before they launched themselves into their Grecian honeymoon followed by a two year stint in the Netherlands. It was such a joy to have K & K back in the town where they got engaged [for the first time post engagement], and all of us revelers not willing to leave anything on the table!

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As opposed to last years big away game, the concourse in the Seattle airport was already littered with purple and gold attired travelers late Wednesday evening. Being that it’s a straight shot from Seattle, rather than zigzagging across the country to New Orleans, the sea of Husky apparel was fun to observe, the energy was evident and electric as we exited the Emerald City and touched down in the Windy City. We all know that Cougars are well versed in drinking planes and restaurants dry, but I have to say we didn’t do too badly on my flight. Sidenote, looks as if Alaska Airlines is serving up a new premium vodka, a welcome change from their previous option. I crashed close to the airport Wednesday night and then scurried downtown to meet the Chairman & R. We were staying in a more southern section of the city in an area that I hadn’t explored much, but was stoked to find that a friend lived only 3 short blocks from the hotel we had booked.

view from the hotel

view from the hotel

Having trotted through the town previously, there wasn’t a ton on my agenda other than eat [well], and enjoy the weekend with friends. We eased into the afternoon by walking down to Millennium Park, did a quick loop, took pictures by the Bean, and had a couple of cold beverages with some pals.

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obligatory Bean shot

After happy hour the three of us headed back to the hotel, did a quick wardrobe change and went to dinner with K & K. The Publican was delicious. We did a bunch of shared plates and for the second time in as many days [my upcoming post mentioning Cuoco will address the first time], I found the chicken entrée to be the showstopper of the evening. I can’t be entirely sure I that I know what these chefs are doing to make these poultry dishes so amazing, but I know that I like it. We dined on a multitude of diverse selections and the overall consensus was two thumbs up.

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“artsy” taxi cab selfies

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meal highlight

meal highlight

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big thumbs up!

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A round-up of our group, plus additional folks who had just arrived in town lead us to rendezvous on Rush St. and get after it we did! We had a ball! A few off-key bar sing-a-longs, dancing, and a whole lot of wonderful warm fuzzy memories made for a fun night.

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the newlyweds K & K

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Recognizing the rest of the weekend was going to be jam-packed a leisurely morning ensued, I got sucked into the vortex of a Grey’s Anatomy episode. Who knew they could pack that much drama into an hour? Then, it was off to lunch and hopping on Chicago’s First Lady.

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the Chairman’s dog

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I had done an architectural boat tour before on a smaller vessel, but when you’re traveling in a Dawg Pack with 60+ people that you call friends and family who book on the same ship you know it’s going to be fun. For those hoping for a Vince Vaughn-esque, [ala The Breakup], performance, our Architectural Docent certainly didn’t offer much cutting humor but he did keep us moving along steadily. Albeit chilly, it was a beautiful day to take in the city from a watery vantage point. I do believe all of us passengers are now well versed in talking about curvilinear and rectilinear architecture design. Ask away.

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Midday fun eventually turned into a succulent French cuisine inspired dinner, at Paris Club, and then we went to the evenings scheduled entertainment, a show at Second City.

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5 o’clock somewhere, right? .. or anytime at Rossi’s

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my delicious fish entree

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who can say no to lardon in anything?

This hallowed comedy training center and performance theatre was probably the best money, outside of the game, I spent all weekend long. A Clown Car Called Desire was hilarious and the actors/comedians were a wonderful ensemble. I would definitely make it a must see for anybody new to Chicagoland. The skits were spot on the, the audience interaction just the right amount, and the belly laughs endless.

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yes, I know now that cameras are not permitted. couldn’t resist.

Team Chairman, R, and I called it an early night to ensure that we would be rested up for the big events the next day and crashed early.

I have to say, nothing feels better than a slight nod, uttering the words “Go Dawgs”, or throwing up the W at other fans from the start of a morning until the end of the day. Gameday was a blast. We swung through our friends brunch ate some tasty Flaco’s Tacos fare, and then hit up Cactus for the pre-game warmup. Cactus was great because they offer a shuttle for game attendees that drops you right off at Soldier Field. We didn’t get a chance to really dip into the tailgating but did get a chance to dig in some tasty stadium fare. Have to say, the Chairman took the cake on getting the best sandwich of the game. He also demonstrated what happens when a bucket of popcorn is readily available and you get nervous thinking your opponent is going to charge back within striking distance.

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steak taco = brunch bite of champions

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taco and tamale time!

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photo credit – @jeffv

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nervous nibblings

So many wonderful highlights of the game. It felt a bit like a family reunion as we just kept seeing more and more people that we knew. I also have say that the Husky crowd got to the highest pitched decibel of noise when an Oregon fan became a decoy, based on his hat, when he walked to his seat. The boo’ing was deafening, should have known better, buddy.

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We concluded our evening with fist pumping, dancing, and celebrating at The Scout. Of course no trip is complete without a late night eating session, ‘za .. anyone? Chicago does know how do pizza right. It was a bittersweet meal as K & K were leaving early the next morning to start their honeymoon but I think we can all agree we couldn’t have had a better sendoff.

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siblings last slice of ‘za before K headed off to the Netherlands

It already seems like a lifetime ago that we were in Chicago. As I write this K & K are settling into Rotterdam, the Huskies have won two games convincingly at home, I am already a pile of nerves for the next two games against Stanford and Oregon, and Seattle has decided that in exchange for a beautiful summer it’s going to be a drippy, sloppy, wet autumn. Here is hoping a weather attitude adjustment takes place as tailgating in sopping wet conditions is never ideal.

I know that I keep saying I have several more niblets to share in the ol’ blog pipeline, actions speak louder than words. I uploaded all my pictures within the past 24 hours, constructed posts, and my mind is already whirring away, I just need to get the words from my mind onto the screen. Scouts honor, more to come in the next few days/weeks. In closing, if you are feeling bored at work or need a mental vacation, take a look at the tumblr, that has made me giggle for days, go ahead click, on the link. Welcome to hot dogs or legs. While you’re at it, upload your best hot dogs or legs pic! Have fun.

Until the next bite, cheers to the weekend being just a work day or two away. Go Dawgs.

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