A few highlights from our trip:
1. Really liked Miami. Very different vibe from the places we have stayed on the Gulf coast of FLA. Those places are sort of Margaritaville; Miami is high energy, money, Caribbean/Cuban/Latin, big white buildings, and a lot of poor folks. Had some great food (River Oyster Bar; the Latin Café for Cuban food; Jack's Miami) and made our usual pilgrimage to a high end hotel for cocktails. My wife and I like to go to a fancy hotel, have a drink, and pretend we are staying there. This time it was the Fontainebleau, on Miami Beach, the art deco icon of the Sinatra Rat Pack era. Worth the visit. I heard the rooms were at $700+. Drinks we had were similarly priced.
2. South Beach is a real trip. Not something you'd want to do often, but we had a fun time; even wandered into the ocean after removing our shoes. Funky bars with decent food and 32 oz. mojitos. Two for one during Happy Hour!
3. Attended a wonderful event put on by the WFAA, where Donna Shalala and Barry Alvarez were the speakers. Some great stories. (1) When Barry took the job, he went back to tell Lou Holtz at Notre Dame, and Holtz yelled at him, "Don't do it Barry! I can get you a real job!" (2) Barry's family was still in South Bend, finishing up the school year, but he was up in Madison. His house was under construction. Shalala was going to be on a vacation to Asia, so she said BA could stay at the Chancellor's house. Her trip was cancelled, so they shared the house for a few weeks. So, BA is at his first Big Ten meeting, and Delaney is trying to push something through and needs the coaches to get the support of university presidents. Coach after coach complains that the president or chancellor hates sports, or won't talk to them, or wants him fired. When they ask Barry, he says, "Not a problem. I'm living with my Chancellor." (3) When Barry was hired, he came to agree on the contract. He walks in and says, "Where's the contract?" Shalala gives it to him and says, "I assume you want to talk it over with your wife and your lawyer." BA says, "No, I want to coach here. Where do I sign?" Shalala pauses in the story ... "The next contract wasn't so easy." (4) More of this sort of stuff, but that's enough.
4. Did not particularly like the Hard Rock stadium ambience, but the seats we had were great. Good lines and close to restrooms and beverages. I've heard differing reports, but the Miami fans near us were not bad. A little smack talk, but they seemed to know football. Some of them left early when the UW took control.
5. Great game by UW, especially Hornibrook, Taylor, Davis and other WRs, Gags, and the defense. Most of the Miami fans were shocked that a bunch of "slow white guys" could beat them. Loved the way the UW mocked the turnover chain. As noted by other posters, this bodes well for next year's offense. Some holes to fill on defense, but most are in the secondary where Leonhard will know what he is doing. We met some friends from Florida for a pregame tailgate that was fun.
6. Spent some quality time by the hotel pool. Around 80 and sunny every day. I heard it was a tad chilly back home.
7. The Orange Bowl is a big deal in Miami, even for a big city. BTW, Miami the city is only about 400-500K. The metro area is over 5 million. So all those other cities like Miami Beach, Coral Gables, etc., add up. The OB is the second oldest bowl, only behind the Granddaddy.
8. The Irish Mist (Yes!) said her favorite was the day we spent wandering around South Beach. I liked our dinner at Miami Jack's, because it was one of those nuggets you find in a city unexpectedly. Excellent, simple, Italian fare at a reasonable price in an old house and unexpected neighborhood. Great service. The entire restaurant -- which had a total of maybe 20 tables -- was filled with pictures of famous Jacks or Jackies. (For an Orange Bowl contest, see how many you can name!).
9. I'd go back to Miami in a heartbeat, but would do more planning to save some money. Not a cheap city when you only have a few weeks to plan and you've got a football game to see.
10. On, Wisconsin!