Despite the very late night Friday, I got up Saturday morning to take the train into Grand Central to meet Molly, and head over to Hoboken with her. She'd suggested spending the afternoon cooking before returning to Manhattan for the hockey game, and we talk so much about food that this seemed perfect! We stopped at Garden of Eden on the walk to her place to buy ingredients to make soup, and I'm really impressed with that store! (I gather there are several in Manhattan, too.) Lauren commented last night that they're quite expensive, but I can't say I'm surprised. It's probably the same sort of upscale store that Whole Foods is, and judging by what I saw yesterday, you get what you pay for.
We ended up making potato-leek soup and white bean, spinach & sausage soup, both of which were delicious! I now have two new soups in my repertoire. Molly had decided on the soups, and then announced as we got back to her place that she was leaving me in charge of the potato-leek, since she didn't know how to make that. :-) Thanks to Google, we invented a good one. I'll probably post it in recipe_sharing before long.
The spinach soup was from a book Molly had. It was also good, but I think suffered from the use of mild Italian sausage instead of spicy. We made do.
I was really impressed with Hoboken! (I know, it sounds funny when I put it that way.) Somehow I think I must never have been there before, and I can certainly now understand why I've had an assortment of friends call it home. It seems to have a very active and pedestrian-friendly downtown, with lots of great stores, especially the aforementioned Garden of Eden. It can't be a cheap place to live, but it's a short and inexpensive train ride away from some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. By comparison, it's a bargain.
The train ride back into the City brought us to within a few blocks of our respective dinners, Molly with her cousin and me with beeeej and a collection of friends at Biricchino, a wonderful and not at all overdone Italian restaurant a block from the arena. (On glancing again at their web site, I'm not at all surprised to note that they started out as sausage-makers. The mixed grilled sausage appetizers we shared were fantastic.) My dinner, the penne Bolognese special, was one of the best pasta dishes I've had in years. Jeff picked well, and I really enjoyed catching up with friends I rarely see.
The hockey itself was eminently forgettable, but I was really pleased and impressed with the showmanship of this Madison Square Garden event. They never let you forget that's where you were, though it never got pushy. They did a fantastic job with custom Cornell and BU graphics for the massive video displays, and though it meant the Cornell alma mater landed in the wrong intermission, I liked how they focused on each school for the entirety of one of the two intermissions.
During the first intermission, they introduced several members of the Big Red's 1967 and 1972 national champion teams, as well as their venerable coach, Ned Harkness. The second intermission featured three of Boston University's four players from the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. hockey team. To say we spent the evening in the presence of hockey legends would be an understatement. It was also a hugely impressive crowd; 18,200 is probably the biggest audience I've ever seen for a single college hockey game. In one sense, it was too big a crowd; there were lots of people I know were there but didn't get to see.
After the game, we finished the evening with a nice departure from the usual "find a bar and drink" post-hockey plan. Several of us went to the Empire State Building and visited the 86th floor observation deck. It's been way too long since I've been up there, probably since 10th grade, and we were very lucky to have a clear night that wasn't too cold and windy. I got a whole bunch of photos and will be uploading more of them to Flickr in the coming days, I suspect. This one's my favourite, though. (Looks like I'm not alone.)
Guess I'd better turn off the light and get a good night's sleep! Monday awaits. Hope you all have a good one. :-)