For the past few years, right before Christmas, I have made a habit of asking Kris this question: “So, would you like to go up to Pittsburgh to see a hockey game for your birthday?” My question is usually answered with a sigh – not because he doesn’t want to go to see our FAVORITE HOCKEY TEAM ever, but because we usually have some other obligation on the plate. However, this year, in an unprecedented move, he actually answered YES! And I was so happy about it – since his birthday is the day after Christmas, we rarely do anything special to celebrate it. Plans usually involve eating leftovers and laziness… this year, we did a little bit of shopping with the family, then we came home and packed the overnight bag in order to head up to Pittsburgh the next morning!
I offered to drive the four hours up to western Pennsylvania, but Kris laughed it off and said “You need to work on my sweater, remember?” Of course, that made me happy because I would much rather knit than drive… so, we took the scenic route, stopping for some lunch and enjoying the beautiful views of the Allegheny mountains. We got to our hotel and were absolutely thrilled to see that we had a *perfect* view of the arena! We donned our Penguins gear and were off to see our team play at the famed “Igloo”!
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens game – 12.27.08
I wish I had photos of the inside of the arena, but evidently cameras with big lenses are verboten. They told me that they would have to confiscate it because it is longer than 3 inches. I tried to get Kris to take it and re-enter with a different security guard… no such luck… So, I ran back to the hotel room to drop it off – luckily the hotel was right across the street and we were back in time for the pre-game warmup. I SO wish that I had brought the smaller lens so that I could have something to show of the game! Wouldn’t you know that this was the night that we had the most incredible seats? we could see the players’ faces! (and what fine faces they are!) The Penguins played a great game, but ended up losing to Montreal 3-2. I was hoping that our presence would be the good luck charm that they needed… despite the loss, we enjoyed the game immensely.
We woke up on Sunday morning with a plan: see a few designated spots in Pittsburgh before we had to head home. My priorities quickly fell to 1) FOOD and 2) YARN. So, we found some great vegan-friendly eateries to check out…
Quiet Storm is a vegetarian coffeehouse with loads of vegan options. The staff was friendly and the menu was eclectic – Sunday brunch is a good time to check it out. Included on their menu was a list of all of the local producers of their food and their wares – even down to the tables and chairs inside the cafe. It was great to see that level of sustainable commitment. They had so many different kinds of coffee and tea brews – I had a delicious orange spice tea and the vegan breakfast burrito. Kris tried the frittata (with eggs) and fresh OJ.
Next stop was Coco’s Cupcake Cafe for a little treat for the road trip back home… I cheated a bit on my diet with the sugars and gluten in the cupcake, but I didn’t have to worry about the vegan choice – Coco’s offers several “regular” cupcakes as well as many vegan options of cupcakes and brownies. I got the vegan Vanilla Mint, one of their holiday specials, and Kris got the Chocolate Bliss cupcake. They offered vegan Red Velvet as well as several vegetarian options (buttercream frosting with sprinkles at left). There were just so many options at the shop, it was hard to decide! It was a great cafe.
…and it just so happened that on our way out of town, located right next the interstate highway, was Pittsburgh’s premiere yarn shop, Knit One. I swear, I couldn’t have planned it better. We got there right as the doors were opening and were welcomed by Julie, who hadn’t even turned the lights on yet (but the door was open!). A few minutes later, I recognized Lizzytish from Ravelry come into the shop… nice to see you! The shop was huge and filled with so many lovely yarns, books, and knit samples. Kris even spotted some of my favorite yarns and said “Oh, come over and see this!” And while I oohed and ahhed and felt my way through the shop, Kris shot some photos…
As he was snapping away, he even caught me in a jawdropping moment when I realized that one of the lovely yarns that I was feeling was actually 30% off… so, the lovely Simply Shetland Silk and Wool yarn – 246 yards per skein for $7.00 each – came home with me. There were several skeins of the lovely Craignish colorway – a green/brown/rust blend – in the cubby hole, so I put them right into my basket. It was just too perfect. Oh yes, I have some options for this yarn too. I am thinking they would be perfect for one of Connie’s Interweave Knits patterns…the one that first came to mind was the Henley Perfected from Winter 2007 issue. Just a thought for now…
Oh Pittsburgh! you are a great city. I look forward to visiting you again very soon!