Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taking on the Twin Cities - Saturday

Steve and I woke up relatively late on Saturday and headed to an exotic breakfast eatery, which was unfortunately packed to the gills. As was just about everywhere else. Apparently, normal people travel out-of-town on Easter weekend to see families. We traveled away from our respective families. Nothing personal, it was just nice to spend a holiday away from the extended family.

Since we had the hot tickets in town to see the Twins vs. Cardinals game, we decided to try our luck with breakfast somewhere closer to the ballpark. The new ballpark is near the Warehouse District, so we found a parking lot there that charged $8 for 24 hours and decided that we liked that deal. After parking, we discovered we were parked directly between a place known as the Gay Nineties club and an "adult novelties" store, which was itself next to a bar that advertised "live girls." So naturally, we had found the one shady block in the least shady city in the country.

From the lot, we walked a block or so before we ducked into the Loon Cafe, a bar/cafe on the corner. It was a pretty typical sportsbar-type place, except the "sports" shows on the local stations seemed only interested in fishing and/or snowmobiles. Go figure. I had some "medium" chili, as the place advertised its chili as "Award Winning" or something. I was skeptical, but after a bite, it was clearly award-winning. And face-melting. Steve polished off his burger, and we headed for the stadium.

We entered Target Field in the right-field corner (Gate 34), which features a pavilion just outside the gate with a bronze statue of Harmon Killebrew, a comedically oversized bronze baseball glove, beer vendors who rip you off (you can't take it past the gate), and a big shimmering reflective thing, the purpose of which I could not figure out. Because our seats were in the far corner of the third-base line, we had to walk around the park. The concourses were filled with people, but they seemed sufficiently wide. There also is a stop on the city's light-rail system about 35 feet from the stadium gates. All in all, it's a convenient park to get to: parking is cheap, it's basically part of the downtown, and you can get to it via the Skyway or the city's mass-transit system.

We found our seats after a huge clustering around the escalators to the upper deck, and the view was, well, spectacular to say the least. Beyond the ballpark, downtown's skyscrapers loom. And Minneapolis has a beautiful skyline. Oh, and airplanes fly over sometime. So that was neat for Steve and me. The game was fine, but you can read about that other places. The experience was neat; the ballpark is modern, pretty convenient, and the sightlines are excellent. The concourses aren't as wide as, say, Miller Park, but they seem to accommodate the crowd well enough. Concessions were expensive; I paid $7.50 for a "Premium" Bud Light Wheat and another $5.25 or $5.50 for a hot dog. But all-in-all, it's a pretty terrific ballpark.

After the game, Steve and I wandered around the downtown, admiring the skyscrapers, the deliberate planning the city had done, and the massive old armory that sits across the street from the Star-Tribune's offices. We then meandered through the Skyway back to our sleezy parking spot.

We headed back to the hotel to recharge and figure out our plans for the rest of the evening. Like most of America, we quickly became engrossed in the Butler v. Michigan State saga and found ourselves sitting through the entire game. Our original plans had been narrowed down to seeing Cymbals Eat Guitars at the Turf Club in St. Paul or seeing a metal show at the Triple Rock Social Club. So we headed out for dinner, weighing those options. Steve took us to Pizza Luce Uptown, where we enjoyed a delicious pizza and I enjoyed a malty mess of a local brew in a tall can whose name I cannot recall.

As we were both worn out from a long day in the sun, we decided to not catch a show and instead to drive around a bit. After a bit, I got in contact with my friend Todd's brother, Pat, who went to law school at the University of Minnesota. He offered many excellent suggestions, but we ended up going to the bar side of the Triple Rock, which does not have metal shows. We hung out for a bit BSing about baseball statistics, as geeks like us do, and I put away a couple of dirt cheap Schlitz drafts. After a little while there, I looked to my right and swore I saw the bass player from one of my favorite bands, Houston. But then I realized that a lot of people in the Twin Cities looked like him: long goatee, camouflage, blond hair, and work boots. Anyway, the Triple Rock is a pretty snazzy rock bar, where the jukebox rang out tunes from Roger Miller and the Ramones. Consecutively.

We called it a night afterward, and Steve played me some Aziz Ansari, a good comedian who is apparently on a sitcom or something, before I fell aslumber.


  1. Sounds like one long sexy date!

  2. A very sexy date...with sexy results.

  3. I love the recurring theme of vehicles on fire, and I especially like that you're branching out from cars to less conventional modes of transportation like snowmobiles. Next week, I expect you to up the ante with a Segway fire.