Monday, January 10, 2011

Pittsburgh, Part 1 - everything but the game

New Year's Eve has never been one of my favorite holidays.  I attempted to go to NYC one year when husband (then boyfriend) lived in Connecticut....that ended with me on crutches and back on the couch in time for the ball to drop.  Most years we've just gotten together with friends and hunkered down for the night.  This year was different.  This year was the Winter Classic, Capitals vs. Penguins. 

Three of our closest friends went up to Pittsburgh, PA, with us to celebrate the end of 2010, beginning of 2011, and go to the annual outdoor NHL hockey game.  We drove up on New Year's Eve, stopping first at the original Primanti Bros.  "A Pittsburgh Tradition Since 1933" says the website.  Standing in line with dozens of other Capitals fans, we waited for about an hour...and it was totally worth it. 
Yes.  Those ARE certainly french fries on my cheese steak sandwich.  And cole slaw.

Then we did a little shopping to get Amy a Winter Classic hat (which was a promised yet unpurchased Christmas gift from bf Nick) and myself a cute Winter Classic long sleeved tshirt.  After that we split - Tommy and I went to a bar to watch the UGA bowl game and the other 3 headed to the science museum to see the Stanley Cup. 

Then we all raced back to the hotel, changed clothes in 1.5 minutes, and rushed to our dinner reservation.  Besides the game, dinner at Toast Kitchen was probably the best part of the weekend.  We had a big group of 12, including some other DC friends, so they split us into 2 tables.  It was very fun and the food was fantastic.  Their local spinach salad with a fried egg and bacon vinaigrette was amazing!!  The wine list was good and very reasonably priced.  I ordered a glass of champagne for everyone at both tables and they were very helpful with doing exactly what I asked.  Next time you're in Pittsburgh, you definitely need to check out Toast.  It's a tiny restaurant, so make reservations! 
To watch the ball drop, we went to Le Mardi Gras up in Shady Side...the bartenders at Toast suggested it.  They are known to pour the stiffest drinks in town, and that was sure the case for our group that night.  It was a fun place to ring in the New Year!  We even got in a little "C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS" cheer!

Saturday morning began a little slower for some than others...luckily they made the call for the game to be moved to 8pm (from 1pm) Friday evening, so we knew we had some extra time during the day.  Panera breakfast sandwiches and some Starbucks got us up and moving.  Dressed in head to toe red, we headed out into the city.  Three of us went to Fat Heads to get a big and late lunch before the game - the boys also wanted to try some of their fancy beers.  The burgers were enormous and full of some interesting combinations.  We met some nice DC folks and sat with them for lunch.  Definitely recommend this place, too - the food was really good.  The Wisco fans went down closer to the stadium to watch the Rose Bowl and try to cheer the Badgers to victory....unfortunately they didn't do so well. 

About mid-afternoon we started the trek across town to the stadium for the highly anticipated Winter Classic!  In my next post, I'll share more details and photos about the game, and the Caps victory!!

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