Tapas, Acknowledging My Lack of Fitness, and the Insanity Known as Miami Hurricanes Fans

Bobby Dodd Stadium

our view at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech

This past weekend we celebrated Diallo’s birthday. This was my first big event since entering Wifedom and I wanted it to be special. Diallo is a big Miami Hurricanes fan. He had been “hinting” that Miami would be playing Georgia Tech this weekend and that he’d never since them play in person.

I am so not a football person. I consider it a miracle that I know the difference between a touchdown and a touchback. So, of course I asked Diallo, “Umm, is there anything else you want for your birthday?”

“Not really.”

Crap.

So I bought the tickets.

The whole time I’m typing my credit card into the Georgia Tech website, I’m having visions of how purposely waltzing onto Georgia Tech’s campus to cheer on the enemy is such a bad idea. Like strolling into Yankee Stadium with a BoSucks cap and telling jokes about Yankees fan’s mamas kind of bad idea. My fingers trembled when it was time to hit the Purchase button.

Gosh, this making your husband happy business is tough.

I felt better when I gave him the tickets though. He had the cute look on his face that little boys get when you give them a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

But then he whips out a women’s “Go ‘Canes” t-shirt.

“I kinda guessed that you got the tickets. So I bought this for you to wear to the game.”

I get another vision of a BoSucks fan getting stomped by die-hard Yankee fans. Double crap.

I go on to give him his other gifts. THESE he didn’t expect – a copy of Anthony Bourdain’s graphic novel “Get Jiro” and the Preacher graphic novels I owed him from Valentine’s Day. (Sorry, wedding planning killed my budget.) He throws me another cute little boy grin.

“So, are you gonna wear the shirt?”

How could I say no to that?

Game day arrived and we make our way onto the Georgia Tech campus. I’m still feeling wary because I know how much Georgia Tech folk love their Yellow Jackets. Hey, I’ve seen the new reports about the brawls breaking out at their games against Georgia. That’s when a car slows down and creeps past us. The window rolls down. It totally looks like a scene from Boys N The Hood, but in real life.

“Woohoo! Go U!”

What?

We walk a little bit more. I feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise. Someone is approaching us from behind.

A hand gently taps my back. “Good to see y’all here. Our ‘Canes gon’ whip some Tech ass.”

WTF?

It turns out that there’s a large contingent of Hurricanes fans going to this game. The 12 hour drive from Miami to Atlanta is considered a close game evidently. I began to relax. We had at least 500 folks to back us up in case it got tense in the stands of Bobby Dodd Stadium. Cool.

What I didn’t realize was how out of shape I had gotten. (My exercise routine has gone out of the window since I’ve been in graduate school. I have the 20 extra pounds to prove it.)  We parked on the complete opposite side of campus from the stadium. And there are a few hills – no, mountains! – in the middle of Tech’s campus. OMG, my lungs were so on fire and I was dehydrated. (Note: don’t drink a lot of alcohol the night before attempting to hike this mountain range.)

Luckily, the student center is right in the middle of the east and west sides of campus. They were kind enough to sell ice-cold beverages to this poor soul wearing University of Miami gear.

Anyway, we made it to the game. I wound up having a good time. Miami got an early lead, blew it and then rallied back to win it in overtime. I did feel really bad for freshman Malcolm Lewis. He had to be carried out because of a season-ending dislocated ankle in about the third play of the game. I happened to look away when the play ended. But Diallo said he was lying on the ground facing one direction and his foot was facing the other. I heard his family came up for this game. I hope that they didn’t have to see that.

Afterwards, I took Diallo out for dinner at Loca Luna. I was so glad that he requested to go there. It just happens to be my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. Here’s some pics of the tapas we had that night:

Fried goat cheese balls with caramelized red onions

Fried goat cheese balls with caramelized red onions.

fried potatoes

Patatas Bravas aka fried potatoes with dipping sauce.

scallops with corn salad

Scallops on top of a corn salad. They even put crispy bacon on top as garnish. This was my favorite tapas of the night.

grilled lamb with artichoke salad

Grilled Lamb with an artichoke salad. With the most delicious chimmichuri sauce I’ve ever had.

pan catalan

Pan Catalan. Think of it as the Spanish version of garlic bread. Crusty bread topped with olive oil and tomato rubbed across it. Yum!

red velvet ice cream cake with strawberry sauce

Red velvet ice cream cake. With strawberry sauce and mint garnish. The Queen of the Night. If it hadn’t been Diallo’s birthday, I would’ve made him get his own slice.

Diallo keeps saying that this has been his best birthday weekend ever. I hope so. I was just glad that he was happy and that his birthday gave me an excuse to finally pick up the Get Jiro! comic. (I might have read it in secret before giving it as gift. But no one was around at said time to prove that I did. Ha!)

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Honeymoon Day 7 – Kaia’s 2 cents

O. M. G. Even after 8 hours of sleep, I am still full from dinner. The idea of never eating again has crossed my mind. Twice. It has to be those damn dinner rolls. I mean, we didn’t really have lunch yesterday. Just ice cream. How is this possible? I thought we were better than this.

Ok, so King Arthur Flour Bakery store. Um, drool? I’m ready to go back already. It’s like a buffet of tools, gadgets and uncommon ingredients for die-hard bakers. I mean, they’ll even sell you a machine that lets you mill your own flour from actual wheat berries. Everybody needs that, right? It’s the food nerd fantasy I never knew I had.

Then, Diallo made me put the jar of Vietnamese cinnamon back on the shelf. Hey, I NEEDED that for, for… well, something. He is so lucky that the sales lady handed me a mail order catalog. Because I was at borderline throw-myself-on-the-floor-grown-woman-temper-tantrum-meltdown levels.

donkey tail wood artAnywhoo, the maple syrup spot. My home training kept me from sucking down the Fancy grade sample like it was a baby’s bottle. ‘Nuff said. They also had a few pieces of cool wood are on display. By the way, if you ever visit this place, please keep in mind that you are still in the city of Montpelier.

Diallo didn’t mention how quaint the capital “city” of Montpelier was. Downtown looks like a 3-block frontier town. The capital building, with it’s gold dome, was nestled between the lush green hills. I’ve never seen such a cute state capital.

Montpelier is also home of the New England Culinary Institute. If D ever wanted to attend culinary school here (not so subtle hint), I’d be more than willing to do the good wife thing and support him any way possible (another not so subtle hint) so that we can live here.

By the way, I wound up buying a tin of Vietnamese cinnamon tea at the tea place. Ha!

the "Willy Wonka" door at Ben and Jerry'sBen and Jerry’s – Sigh, coming here has been a mere bucket list item. Well, maybe a lifelong dream. Only slightly less important than the air I breathe. Hold on, gimme a second. (Inhale. Exhale. Calming down.) It was pretty cool despite the overt touristy feel of the whole operation. I’m not mad though. I mean, they’re only selling out factory tours that start every 10 minutes. It is what it is. I really liked how the door you go through to start the tour has a Willie Wonka feel to it (the original movie, not the weird Michael Jackson-like Johnny Depp one).Diallo eating ice cream

Overall, everyone there looked to be having a great time. Well, with the exception of the people who were the parents of toddlers. They all exuded the “I’m DONE” vibe. Something to think about if you’re planning a pilgrimage up this way.

A few tips if you’re going to visit Vermont:
1) You need more than 1 day to do it all. Yes, you can easily drive through the entire state with a stop or two in 1 day. I don’t recommend it.

2) Respect the 65 mph speed limit. The highways have twists, curves and downhills (and exits on steep downhills) that sneak up on you. There’s also signs everywhere warning of bear, moose and deer crossings. In many of these spots, if you had to veer out of the way of wildlife, your only options are to steer toward a rock wall or a steep ravine. Besides, the scenery you drive past is so amazing, you’d be a fool to speed past it in blur.

3) Come in the fall when the leaves are changing. Everything is green right now and it looks amazing. I kept imagining what it would look like with all the reds, oranges and browns. The sight would probably unhinge my jaw.