My husband surprised me with a weekend away to celebrate the end of my 20’s and hello to my 30’s. A week ago I declared that August was my “Birthday Month,” and while he rolled his eyes and chuckled at my high-maintenanceness (is that a word?), he literally could not have made my leap into a new decade anymore special. Shout out – Thank you, Nathan!
So, if you have been a friendly visitor to my Blog since I started the first of the year, you may have read my Weekend Warriors – Deep Creek Lake post. There you would have uncovered a little fact about me and that is that I love spontaneous weekend trips. While I won’t shy away from a vacation opportunity when it presents itself, sometimes I get the most giddy over just a weekend or even a night somewhere new.
Earlier in the year Nathan and I got our hands on some Pittsburgh Penguins tickets… literally!
So, we set out to make a day and night of our time in Pittsburgh. Lately, work has been getting the best of me with some crazy hours and for Nathan, who has a landscape business, this long winter of plowing and the impending Spring rush had us both longing for just a quick getaway. Sometimes it is all you need to clear your mind and get back on track.
We headed straight for the CONSOL Energy Center in hopes of parking the car and getting in some pre-game action. I would highly recommend the Blue Line Grille, which is where we ended up. It is directly across the street from CONSOL.
TIP: The Blue Line Grille was packed! But, we learned they offer Bar only service on the 4th Floor. Instead of waiting in the crowds in the restaurant, head up to the 4th Floor. The views are great and service is quick!
After a quick drink, we raced across the street to our main event. The CONSOL is beautiful!! Clean, sleek and impressive.
TIP: Be careful if you carry a clutch and it has a zipper. This goes for just walking around in life, in general. What does that mean you ask? Well all I can say is that I seriously said a nice prayer of thanks when I realized I lost my car key in the CONSOL and thankful found it! Talk about complete panic and buzz kill. I transferred my phone, ID, lip gloss, some cash and car key lock to my clutch so we didn’t have to worry about my key set. I walked across the street from the bar and up about three sets of escalators, around half the arena, stopped in a bathroom and then met my husband at a concession stand for goodies. I mean I love food! It was only when I giddy from excitement for a night away and the thrill of my first Penguins game did I notice my clutch was unzipped. No big deal right? ID, check, Lip Gloss, check (whew for that one), cell phone, check, Car Key, Car Key, CAR KEY. All belongings were intake except for my car key. You know the key to get in the car after the game, drive to hotel, check in with luggage and continue with trip? I panicked. My husband chuckled. I wish I had his carefree attitude. I distinctly remembered going into the bathroom and hearing something hit the ground. So, I raced back to bathroom, through crowds of people and sure enough. There was my key starter laying in the bathroom stall. Pure relief! So, note to self: Make sure you ALWAYS zip up your clutch.
Once the game was over we headed to the Parking Lot to get our car and head to the Fairmont Pittsburgh where we were staying. Oh, and Penguins won in overtime! Great first game.
TIP: If you choose to stay at the Fairmont, just Valet your car at the hotel before the game. It is a few blocks, but we could have easily walked to the hotel quicker than the traffic we sat in after the game. There are some other hotels very close to CONSOL, but we enjoy the Fairmont, which leads me to accommodations.
We LOVE the Fairmont Pittsburgh! The staff is gracious and helpful, the accommodations are sleek and beautiful and the location is very convenient. Working in the Hospitality Industry, I am pretty picky regarding accommodations and the Fairmont is top-notch! Some of my favorite room features are the in-room Keurig and the very comfortable beds. I adore their spa product line, Le Labo Rose 31, which includes Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, a Body Bar and a cute hair cap. I think the packaging sells me more than anything!
The Pittsburgh Penguins game brought us to the city, but I was equally excited to venture out to explore the food scene. I have been eyeing up Pittsburgh’s MEAT AND POTATOES, located on Penn Avenue, for some time now.
TIP: Make reservations early! Don’t wing it like us. Or, if you do, cross your fingers that it works out in favor as it did for us.
We waited until we checked-in to decide on dinner and make plans, which resulted in a, “We can seat you at 10:00 pm, or you can come in and enjoy first come, first serve at the bar.” We had the hostess write our name down for 10:00 pm and took our chances. No luck! The place was packed and there were other hovering vultures like ourselves, eyeing up the prey, or fellow bar diners. Which diner would leave first?
We decided to keep our reservation and explore Penn Avenue and the surrounding area for some cocktails and appetizers. Luckily, we snagged two bar seats at Six Penn Kitchen and ordered a round of drinks and some delicious appetizers! I would highly recommend their Smoked Chicken Wings appetizer. They are coasted in a Gogujan hot sauce, garnished with sesame carrots and served with white miso aioli. Delicious!
Before we knew it, 10:00 pm had rolled around and I think by this point I was skipping to the restaurant. MEAT AND POTATOES did not disappoint. I repeat… did not disappoint. In fact, after we filled our bellies my husband said to me, “I think that is the best meal I have ever eaten!” I agreed! The Waitress suggested their Tartare appetizer. Dry aged strip with smoked eggs, chili, seaweed aioli and peanuts. The raw beef scared us yet intrigued us so we did what anyone would do… we ordered.
Amazing! Oh, my entree… well that was delicious too. I ordered the Wagyu Flat Iron which is served over Anson Mills nori grits. I have never been a grits girl but this flavor combination was wonderful and the beef was cooked to perfection.
TIP: This one is simple… Just go to MEAT AND POTATOES. You will not be disappointed.
Overall, I could talk Pittsburgh up even more. It is a great city. My overall suggestion, tackle the city in small bites. Plan multiple trips and make plans to experience different portions. There really is an endless list of possibilities. Check out VisitPittsburgh.com to learn more about the city and plan your itinerary. If you love Pittsburgh like we do, then share your favorite locations for lodging, dining, nightlife and sightseeing below.
And, because I love food and travel… I had to share!