Welcome, readers, to 101 Achievements, the 2014 edition (the year where we hopefully actually make it to 101 Achievements)! As you can see on the left sidebar, we’ve got a fully-revamped 2014 list (with the things we didn’t complete in 2013 coming back for another round), and this year, we’re getting right into the fun with a few events planned for January. First up? Our review of Pittsburgh’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration, First Night.
We start each First Night off with dinner at Sonoma Grille downtown, and we usually go with the several-course NYE special Prix-fixe menu. The meal kicks off with a glass of bubbly to toast the new year!
The menu is always a real treat, and this year was no exception. Here are a few of our favorite things from the meal:
Entree: black cod with celery root puree, haricot verts, baby carrots, crab hollandaise, and a sweet soy cassis reduction. This was incredible! I have no clue how the chef managed to get the outside of the cod so crispy and yet light, while the inside stayed perfectly soft and flaky. The flavors complemented each other so well, and I’m glad I listened to our favorite server Barb’s recommendation to try this!
Dinner this year was a little bittersweet – each year when we’ve gone to Sonoma Grille for New Year’s Eve, Barb has been our server, and she’s really the best. But this NYE was her last, and she’ll be retiring in 2014. I’m sure we’ll love the other servers as well, but we’ll definitely miss Barb, who has become part of our NYE tradition!
For the 20th Anniversary of Pittsburgh’s First Night, Richard of Ice Creations crafted a massive ice labyrinth in the Fire & Ice Plaza area of the event. We saw him creating some smaller-scale ice sculptures at Kennywood’s Winter Lights festival, so we were really pumped for the ice labyrinth!
We got through the ice labyrinth just in time to see the annual First Night parade! I love this parade SO MUCH every year, but I find myself wondering if maybe it’s only meant to be understood after eating some mushrooms. It’s just so very weird, every single year.
And of course, since we *are* Pittsburgh, and we *are* home to Anthrocon, there were indeed furries in the parade! Here are my furry fox brethren moments after we shared a ‘let’s pool our resources and fight the next person who asks us what does the fox say’ understanding.
You see, we failed to get any tickets for the ticketed events, thinking there would be enough outdoor events going on to keep us busy throughout the night. But for some reason, after the ice labyrinth and the parade, we were left with a lot of time and not a whole lot to do.
Which is why I started stabbing things.
AND THEN I CHOPPED OFF THIS TEQUILA WORM’S HEAD MICHONNE-STYLE!!!!!!
Eventually, once I’d stabbed all that there was to stab in the Cultural District, we decided to nip into a bar for a glass of wine and some warming up. And then before we knew it, it was time for the main event, Charles Bradley performing on Penn Avenue!
Hadn’t heard Charles Bradley much before First Night, but he was a lot of fun. He and his band played a good mix of funk dance music and some nice slow-jams for dancing and warming up with your loved ones.