Sunday, July 16, 2006

MN soccer trip


We went to the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN to see the UW women's soccer team play Sweden. What a place - it has something like 56 soccer fields, a velodrome, hockey ice, track and field, golf, and they're building a speed skating rink ... all with state money. It was 100 degrees, and there were all these little - and big - soccer kids who were there for tournaments. The field that the national team played on was surrounded by a track. There was some initial pageantry - we had 4 women in Swedish costume with flowers in their hair sing the Swedish national anthem (seemed very Minnesota, though probably you can find Swedish singers in WI, too), and then some Navy guy - the announcer referred him as "musician 3rd class" sang the Star Spangled Banner, and there was a Naval color guard with US and Swedish flags. And I didn't know how in soccer the teams come in side by side - so civilized - I am more used to college hockey where they intoduce the home team first and make a big deal about them, then it's like, oh by the way, here's who they're playing ...

There wasn't anything to eat at the NSC beyond the usual hockey arena crap - soft pretzels, hot dogs, lemon ice - but it was too hot to eat any of it except the lemon ice, anyhow. We went to Grandma's in Minneapolis for lunch bfore heading out to Blaine, this is the restaurant chain founded in Duluth that has a marathon named after it, good burger, but the fries and root beer were pretty mediocre.

The eating highlight of the trip was Punch Pizza in Eden Prairie, woodfired pizza and salad - it was incredibly busy because it was too hot to sit outside, but still a good meal. And, mostly due to how well their staff was coping, we got served and had a table for 8 in less than 15 minutes. I had pizza with goat cheese, and we split the Punch salad that has pine nuts and prosciutto on top, and comes with wedges of pizza dough with rosemary and salt.

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