Kicking Off 2016 At Pittsburgh’s First Night

Achievement: #15. First Night

First Night 2016
2015 was a great year, but it was time to say goodbye and start 2016 fresh. And there’s really no better way to kick off the New Year in the ‘Burgh than watching the ball go up and the fireworks go off downtown at First Night. This year marked our 8th visit to Pittsburgh’s First Night, and here’s our photo tour of the night’s festivities.

First Night 2016
We always start the evening with an ‘early bird’ dinner at Sonoma Grille. They feature a prix fixe menu in addition to some other ala carte options. And we, of course, had to try a little bit from both menus.

First Night 2016
We kicked dinner off with a glass of rosé bubbly. Your First Night Button gets you into any of the events of the evening downtown, and it costs only $8 ($7 if you buy it at Giant Eagle in advance).

First Night 2016
The highlight of dinner at Sonoma Grille this year was their tapas sampler, served on a wine barrel board. (Fret not: closeups of these majestic tiny plates are coming!)

First Night 2016
Left: cauliflower ravioli with celeriac cream, watercress, and citrus. Right: coconut shrimp with red pepper, verde salsa, and orange coconut sauce. (Heavenly. Both, just heavenly.)

First Night 2016
Left: sweet crab arancinis with harissa and scallion. Center: pork belly steam bun with kimchi, Indonesian glaze, & cilantro. Right: cured salmon with citrus chili, fennel yogurt, and taro chips. (Also, all dropped delicately onto our table by angels from Heaven itself.)

First Night 2016
The pacing of the meal was a bit slower than in past years, but the company was lovely, so we didn’t mind all that much.

First Night 2016
When I ask someone to fix me a steak, they *really* fix me a steak.

First Night 2016
After dinner, we secured a nice spot on the sidewalk and settled in for one of our favorite First Night events: the FedEx Ground Parade!

First Night 2016
We do parades right in Pittsburgh: with really creepy papier-mâché puppets.

First Night 2016
Puppet celebrating our awesome families of peregrine falcons.

First Night 2016
Our parade also showcases the fantastic Chinese dragon dancers from Pittsburgh’s own Steel Dragon.

First Night 2016
The Chinese dragon dancers, always a highlight of the parade.

First Night 2016
And of course, no First Night parade is complete without the Furries!! Pittsburgh is host to the annual Anthrocon Furry Convention each year, and our furries love giving out high-fives. I got a new record of six furry-high-fives this year.

First Night 2016
I loved the saying on this sign: “With a new year ahead, may good fortune be yours, and may opportunity knock open new doors.”

First Night 2016
After the parade, we were more than a little chilly, so we went to visit a couple of our favorite downtown bartenders to warm up with a glass of wine.

First Night 2016
Then it was back into the cold to take silly photos on Penn Ave.

First Night 2016
But the cold was a bit much, so we nipped into one last stop to have our gemstones read by the terrific Professor Styles of The Miracle Elixir Sideshow. This was SO FUN, creepily accurate about the past & present, and if our future readings are accurate as well, it is going to be a great year for creativity for the 101 Achievements team.

First Night 2016
It was time for one more warmup to carry us through the next hour out in the cold. You know you’ve got special bartender friends when they prepare a wine glass just for you… (You lose one cat, you get a reputation!)

First Night 2016
And then, it was time to start the countdown. The final hour of 2015 was upon us, so we headed toward the stage on Penn Ave, where the Wailers were playing.

First Night 2016
I picked up these awesome glasses from Mike Feinberg’s a few days earlier. We were SO prepared to ring in the new year.

First Night 2016
Fireworks! Happy New Year, 2016 is here!!!

First Night 2016
It was a little chillier than we maybe would have liked (although I blame the overly-warm temperatures of the weeks beforehand for why we were so poorly equipped to deal with cold, clear weather), but First Night 2016 was a great time.

First Night 2016
Here’s to a fabulous year, to each and every one of our readers! We are so excited to share 101 Achievements in 2016, and our year feels off to a great start.

1 Comment

Filed under #15, #15-16, downtown, fine dining, fireworks, first night, food, new year's eve, pittsburgh, wine

One Response to Kicking Off 2016 At Pittsburgh’s First Night

  1. Woubbie

    Happy 2016! Go FedEx Ground!

    I wondered if you’d run into Kyle and his friends there, but the under-21 crowd probably hits different hot spots.

    And okay, how did you lose a cat?

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