T he days of CU Buffalo football fans suffering through visits to drab locales for away games — for example, Stillwater, Okla., Manhattan, Kan. and Lubbock, Texas — are over. Starting this season, those mundane destinations have been replaced by the likes of Seattle, Los Angeles, Tucson and Eugene.
The Buffs start their road schedule in the reconstituted Pac-12 conference this season, with visits to five of their 11 conference sister cities. Here’s a quick guide to five fab universities and cities:
Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.
Palo Alto is a city of about 64,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the headquarters of several high-tech Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook, Hewlett-Packard and Tesla Motor Company. A 40-minute drive will takes you into San Francisco. The average high temperature in October is 70 degrees.
Game day: Oct. 8.
St. Michael’s Alley (806 Emerson St.; 650-326-2530, stmikes.com) is a favorite brunch spot among locals and features banana pancakes and a salmon scramble. The day after the game, stop by for hearty and traditional eggs and pancakes as well as salads, pasta and sandwiches right up until 2 p.m.
Tamarine Restaurant (546 University Avenue, Palo Alto; 650-325-8500, tamarinerestaurant.com) is a fusion restaurant influenced by China, Cambodia, Thailand, France and Vietnam. It’s not cheap, but locals rave about the salt and pepper calamari, shaking beef, clay-pot cod and other unusual dishes.
Fuki Sushi ( 4119 El Camino Real; 650-494-9383, fukisushi.com) gets rave reviews for saki and fresh sushi, not to mention “calming geometric décor” and top-notch service. Choose seating in the spacious dining area or reserve a small tatami room for a more intimate feel.
Chef Charlie Ayers’ Calafia Cafe & Market A Go Go (130 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto; 650-322-9200. calafiapaloalto.com) offers legendary California cuisine. This spot is especially known for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free fare that doesn’t taste like, well, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free fare.
Local craft brewery:
Firehouse Grill & Brewery (1765 E Bayshore Road; 650-326-9700, firehousegrill.com) is a neighborhood sports brewery and bar. If the old-fashioned martial game of football isn’t quite, uh, physical enough for you, this place “specializes” in showing UFC fighting on the tube.
Non-football sight you have to see:
Digital DNA is a 7-foot tall (by 5 feet across) egg-shaped sculpture made of welded steel and recycled computer silicon circuit boards and a bunch of other supplies. The egg is meant to recognize Palo Alto as the birthplace of the Silicon Valley. If you want to go on the egg hunt, it’s in the Lytton Plaza on Emerson Street at University Avenue.
“The Walk” is one of Stanford football’s time-honored traditions where players proceed through campus on their way to the stadium before each home game. Historians believe it may date back to the 1950s.
And let’s not forget the infamous Stanford Marching Band, known for its ever-changing, quirky costumes, hijinks and losing a football game to hated rival Cal in 1982.
Stanford doesn’t actually have a fight song. But, the de facto fight song at Stanford is “All Right Now,” originally performed by ’70s rockers Free.
Palo Alto translates to “tall stick” in Spanish. The city got its name from a stand of tall redwood trees by the banks of the San Francisquito Creek, bordering Menlo Park. One of the trees can still be found by the railroad trestle near Alma Street. The other was destroyed during a storm
University of Washington, Seattle
Game day: Oct. 15.
Seattle is a major seaport best known for coffee and rock music. With a population of about 608,000, it gave birth to rock legend Jimi Hendrix and the musical style that is known as grunge and was popularized by local groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. The average high temperature in October is 59 degrees.
Beth’s Cafe (7311 Aurora Ave N.; 206-782-5588, bethscafe.com) serves up a 12-egg omelette and all-you-can-eat hashbrowns. And, while you wait for your food to arrive, the wait staff gives you crayons and paper to whip up a masterpiece to hang on the cafe’s wall — if you can find space. Staff vote on a “Top 10” every year that gets prime wall space.
The Crab Pot Seafood Restaurant (1301 Alaskan Way; 206-624-1890, thecrabpotseattle.com) has been featured on Man vs. Food as being the best place to devour Seattle seafood. Portions are too big for plates and overflowing bowls of crabs, mussels, shrimp and other delicatessens from the sea are dumped on the table.
Local foodies have chosen Agua Verde Cafe (1303 NE Boat St.; 206-545-8570, aguaverde.com) as a favorite casual dining spot with reasonable prices. The cafe offers waterfront dining and there are organic options on its Baja-inspired menu. The spot doubles as kayak club and offers hourly rentals and guided tours.
Honey Hole Sandwiches (703 E. Pike St.; 206- 709-1399, thehoneyhole.com) is a sandwich shop loved by local foodies. It’s menu includes hot sandwiches on baguettes, like “Chachi’s favorite,” — which is loaded with roasted turkey, havarti and tomatoes and the corleone, with house-cured pastrami, Swiss and sauerkraut.
Non-football sight you have to see:
Last spring, Seattle’s Experience Music Project opened the world’s most extensive exhibit of memorabilia celebrating grunge group Nirvana. “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses” features 200 artifacts, like Kurt Cobain’s handwritten lyrics for Nirvana songs, tied to the native Seattle band also features archived oral histories. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for youth (5-17), students, military and seniors. Go to empsfm.org. And don’t miss the famous Pike Place fish market on the waterfront.
“Sailgating” is tailgating by boat. It’s been a UW tradition since 1920 when Husky Stadium was first built on the shores of glittering Lake Washington.
The original words to Bow Down to Washington included “Dobie, Dobie, pride of Washington! They’re trembling at the feet of mighty Washington!” in respect of the football head coach Gil Dobie. But, students have taken liberty with the song. The lyric “It’s harder to push them over the line than pass the Dardanelles” is often replaced with “If you don’t go to Washington then you can go to hell.”
Global coffee giant Starbucks was founded in Seattle.
Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
Game day: Oct. 29
Tempe is a college town of about 160,000 just outside Phoenix. High temperatures in October average 89 degrees. While there, mill around Mill Avenue — a seven-block college district packed with bars, eateries and shops.
Harlow’s Café (1021 West University Dr.; 480-829-9444), has been crowned the “best hangover breakfast spot” by a local magazine.
Monti’s La Casa Vieja (100 South Mill Ave.; 480- 967-7594, montis.com) is a great place if you’re also hungry for history. If you’re The restaurant occupies an adobe hacienda that was constructed in 1871 by Tempe founder Charles Trumbull Hayden.
Cadillac Ranch (2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Ste. 2105; cadillacranchtempe.com). When you’re finished digesting the comfort food served up here, go ahead and ride the mechanical bull.
House of Tricks (114 East 7th St.; 480- 968-1114, houseoftricks.com). This contemporary restaurant has an extensive wine list is hidden inside two turn-of-century cottages with a vine-strewn courtyard.
Local craft breweries:
Dave’s Electric Brewpub (502 S. College Ave., Ste. 103; 480-967-5353, daveselectricbrewpub.com) serves serves handcrafted beers made with recipes from Arizona’s first microbrewery.
Four Peaks Brewery (1340 E. 8th St.; 480-303-9967, fourpeaks.com) was a former creamery where cows roamed.
Non-football sight you have to see: Tempe Town Lake: The Rio Lago Cruise Company rents out electric-powered boats, kayaks and pedal boats that you can use to explore the lake.
Tradition:Hayden Butte, is otherwise known as “A-Mountain” for Arizona State University’s large yellow “A” logo located on its south face. Sun Devils fans guard it from being painted over by University of Arizona partisans before the annual rivalry game.
Lines from fight song:“Long May Our Colors Outshine All Others/Echo From The Buttes/Give ‘Em Hell Devils!”
Little-known fact:Tempe is originally named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece
UCLA (games played in Pasadena)
Game day: Nov. 19.
UCLA is in Westwood, near Santa Monica, but Pasadena is where the Bruins play home games. Neatly tucked into the San Fernando Valley north of L.A. proper, this small city is home not just to the Rose Bowl Parade, but also the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Cal Tech. It’s never really winter there. Or even fall.
You’re in California, so you better have some sushi, and locals swear by Sushi Roku (33 Miller Alley, Pasadena; 626-683-3000, sushiroku.com). There’s a big bar where you can watch the master chefs skillfully slice, pare and parse fresh-from-the-Pacific seafood.
Locals love Cameron’s Seafood (1978 E. Colorado Blvd; (626) 793-3474, camerons4fish.com), which calls to mind San Francisco’s famous fish markets. Lots of history, charm and fresh-grilled fish, not to mention crab and other delicacies.
SoCal kicks ass on Mexican and Mijares Mexican Restaurant (145 Palmetto Drive, 626-792-2763, mijaresrestaurant.com) is the real thing. Started as a tortilla factory in the 1920s, it’s the city’s oldest Mexican spot. The tortillas are still made fresh.
The Food Network named Marston’s(151 E. Walnut St., 626-796-2459, marstonsrestaurant.com) the best single breakfast spot in all of California. Wow. From huevos to oatmeal, this is a great place to get your day started.
Craftsman Brewery (1260 Lincoln Ave., Unit 100, 626-296-2537, craftsmanbrewing.com) is famous for its Orange Grove ale (the city lies atop what once were vast citrus groves) and Heavenly Hefe, a spiced wheat beer.
And check out the public taproom at Eagle Rock Brewing Co. (3056 Roswell St., Eagle Rock, 626-257-7866, eaglerockbrewery.com). Chow down on fare delivered by local food trucks, which make regular stops.
Non-football sight you have to see:
It’s L.A. — what’s not to see? Still, it worth taking the hour or so (traffic willing) to drive over to Malibu or cruise Mulholland Drive for a panoramic view of the City of Angels.
In 1919 UCLA was known merely as the southern branch of the University of California in Berkeley. The football team was called the Cubs to Cal’s Bears. In 1927, when UCLA dropped the “southern branch” label, they became the Bruins.
Fight song lyrics:
“We are the Mighty Bruins,/Triumphant evermore./You can hear from far and near,/The Mighty Bruin roar!”
Positive portents for the Buffs? The Rose Bowl lies on … Colorado Boulevard.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Game day: Nov. 25.
Salt Lake City is one of the oldest and largest settlements of the intermountain west, founded by Brigham Young and his Mormon followers in 1847 after they fled Illinois. With more than 2 million people living along the “Wasatch Front” and 1.2 million people in the Salt Lake metro area, it’s a lot more cosmopolitan than many realize. Average high in November is 49 — much like Boulder.
For breakfast, hungry locals swear by the Blue Plate Diner (2041 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City; TheBluePlateDiner.com). It’s straight-up fare — eggs, bacon, pancakes, breakfast burritos and the like — served in lumberjack portions.
Salt Lakers with a hankering for a burger love Britton’s (694 Union Square, Sandy; 801-572-5148, BrittonsRestaurant.com). If you’re really going for the heart attacker, try the “Hog Burger” — a fat patty fitted snugly between two grilled cheese sandwiches.
The high desert offers plenty of hot Mexican spots, none more creative than the Red Iguana (866 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City; RedIguana.com, 801-214-6050). Awesome moles and fresh seafood pepper a more traditional menu.
Local craft breweries:
Uinta Brewing Company’s (1722 S. Fremont Dr., Salt Lake City; 801-467-0909, UintaBrewing.com )flagship brew, the hoppy, fruity Cutthroat Pale Ale, is festooned with honors. Among other awards, Cutthroat won a silver medal in the English Style Bitter category at the European Beer Star Awards this year.
The name isn’t very appetizing, but Squatter’s (147 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City; 801-363-2739, Squatters.com) is much beloved, especially for its Black Forest Schwarzbier, which has taken home nine gold medals at the World Beer Cup.
Non-football sight you have to see:If you love the outdoors, a whole lot. Still, by late November, you may well be able to pop up to one of Utah’s many resorts for early-season skiing. And do cruise out to see the lake.
Tradition:The Block U built in the foothills at 5,300 feet (lower than Boulder) was built 103 years ago. LED lights on the 100-foot-tall landmark are lit when the Utes are playing at home, and flash after every home victory.
Fight song lyrics:“Who am I, sir? A Utah Man am I. A Utah Man, sir, and will be ’til I die; Ki-yi! We’re up to snuff; we never bluff, we’re game for any fuss.”
Little-known fact:There are as many Beach Boys songs about Salt Lake City (“Salt Lake City, we’ll be comin’ soooon…”) as there are about Hawaii.
— Compiled by Brittany Anas and Clay Evans, for the Colorado Daily