So, apparently my presence in Happy Valley for the first time in 10 years wasn't the good luck charm that I expected it to be.
I'm no sports analyst, so I won't even try to break down the game for you. All I can say is that a mediocre performance (at best) by one team was beaten by a mediocre performance by another. I'm not sure where they stand right now, but I'm pulling for Iowa to go to the Rose Bowl. They are hands down the best team in the Big 10 this year. Sorry State, but the truth hurts.
Before I move on to other topics, though, I have to throw out a big "Thank You!" to B.B. for her incredible generosity. Even though the performance on the field was disappointing, we had a fantastic view of it!
In my previous post, I had a whole laundry list of things that I wanted to do while in the State College/University Park area. To make a long story short, we were late getting up there (surprise!) so we had to shorten up the tour. A few notes:
1. The Meats Lab is still there, miraculously. I don't know how it hasn't been consumed for some athletic project or another, but it's still there.
2. The new Creamery/Food Science Building is absolutely gigantic. We walked there after the game to get some ice cream, but the line was probably about 2 hours long. We skipped the ice cream. (And also the moral dilemma I would have had about eating Peachy Paterno in November. Truth be told, I would have found some way to rationalize it--it was probably MADE in June, right?)
3. The highlight of the trip was lunch.
I had been tipped off that this place called Otto's Pub had "my kind of food", which I'll leave for you to define. We found Otto's and gave it a try.
I am also not a food critic, so I won't try to be that either. But I was pleasantly surprised at the menu, and impressed at the dedication to local farms. They even list the names of their producers on the menu! It takes a very dedicated restaurant and chef to do that...
My wife is a fan of Mexican food, so we started with nachos (a restaurant cannot exist in a college town without nachos on the menu, no matter how inspired it is). They were served with black beans that were delicious, in addition to all the regular "nacho" goodies. We ate it all.
Then came the main course. I thought about the "drunken free range chicken," or the Smoked Brisket sandwich, but when I saw the words "Pulled Pork Sandwich", I knew my search was over.
The sandwich was completely, utterly, shamelessly good.
It came with cole slaw on top of the sandwich, and a smoky barbecue sauce on the side for dipping, but it really wasn't needed--the meat was moist enough by itself. Through the moans of ecstasy I was making while eating it, I asked the server if the pork was local. She told me that it was, grown about 20 minutes west of State College, but I already knew that. There is no way commodity pork can be made to taste like this pork did.
We enjoyed ourselves so much there that time slipped away. We had to hurry out (which is hard to do with what seemed like 5 lbs of pulled pork in your stomach) and fight our way through at least 25,000 pedestrians (I am not joking) to get to our parking space. I was only called an asshole once (that I heard.)
If you are ever in the State College area, I highly recommend Otto's. It may even be worth a special trip. I promise you won't be disappointed.
I can't make the same promise for the football team.