Saturday was quite a day. It began at 6:15 when I reluctantly opened my eyes and rolled out of bed. I nearly slept my way through my physical therapy appointment and my doctor’s appointment. Finished with appointments by 11 am and still in a sleepy haze I returned home to relax with a warm cup of coffee and hang out with my puppy for a few hours. She’s really much too old to be a puppy anymore but I will call her that until her dying day most likely. Anyway, I had to rest and save my energy for the adventures awaiting me that evening. I was to be attending my first hockey game in the new Consol Energy Center. I toured the new arena last fall before the season started but I never got the chance to go to a game because I was in Seattle all year. Tragic, I know.
I love hockey and my hometown Pittsburgh Penguins more than words can describe. I don’t know how one can grow up in a town as crazy about sports as Pittsburgh and not love the teams like they are your own children. All three of Pittsburgh’s major sports teams (hockey, football, and baseball) wear the same colors: black and gold. That makes identifying a Pittsburgh fan a no-brainer no matter where you may be.
Before the game my parents and I planned to go to The Church Brew Works for dinner. It has been a favorite restaurant of my family’s for years. The earliest memories I have of eating there date all the way back to my early childhood when we would go for a quick dinner in between my Nutcracker performances on chilly December weekends. This time I wanted to go back A. because I haven’t been in a few years and B. so I could order the beer sampler of their house made beers. Sadly though, our usual route to get there was completely blocked. There has been non-stop construction on the highway we take from my house to get to the city for several years. We usually use the 40th street bridge to cross the river and get to The Church Brew Works but last night it was completely closed off. Not knowing this until we were herded past it in a web of orange cones, we had to improvise. My mom quickly suggested a restaurant that had been recommended to her and my dad that none of us had ever been to: Legends of the North Shore. What a name. It instantly made me think of the old Nickelodeon TV show Legends of the Hidden Temple that I loved as a child. Classic.
Legends of the North Shore was a mere mile from where we ended up getting off the highway. Nestled discretely among houses it perfectly defined Pittsburgh. The inside was small and cozy with framed pictures of Pittsburgh sports stars and celebrities decorating the walls. The menu had a good number of options without being overwhelming. The pressure of choice was lessened by the lack of a drink menu as well. The establishment does not have a liquor license so If you are planning on going and want a drink be sure to Bring Your Own.
We started our meal with a few salads and a Beans and Greens. A warming, homey combination of white beans, collard greens and garlic that just screamed “I love you!” every time I took a bite. With the garlic taste dwelling in my mouth I couldn’t wait to taste my main course. I ordered the special. Cajun chicken with sweet pea gnocchi, butternut squash ravioli, and pumpkin and mascarpone ravioli in a cream sauce. So tasty! When the three of us ordered our meals we intended to pass our entrees around to split three ways among us. Once each of us took our first few bites that plan was tossed out the window. We were all just too satisfied to give up any part of what we had in front of us.
Before I knew it it was game time!!! What should have been a quick drive through downtown to the arena became a 30 minute drive due to an unbelievable amount of construction and traffic. Luckily we made it in time to use the restroom, buy a beer, and sit in our seats before the first drop of the puck. Success.
The game was fantastic. As was the arena. My boys played a great game. Jordan Staal got the ball rolling in the first with his 99th goal of the season. The second period was highly anti-climactic. They also spent way too much time in their own end. In the third period the Pens woke up and scored three more goals, including Jordan Staal’s 100th goal of the season. Congrats Jordy! I was in heaven for the entire time I was in that arena. Even after we left too. I just love hockey. Fun Fact: I named my car after Penguins winger Tyler Kennedy. Really. That’s the truth. My boys are winners.