July 14, 2014

NY Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew (MLS | 07.12.14)

this past Saturday, I had a blast on our little family outing to watch the Red Bulls game against Columbus Crew. (by the way, RED BULLS WOOOONNNN --- 4:1 ---)
we rarely go on family outings like this without having some sort of outside event motivating us to go (like a family gathering or church event), so it was a rare treat to just spend some time together, in fact, this was our very first time (as a family and my brother's/mom's/and my first time) going to a professional sports game.
I was anticipating a large crowd and chaos at the arena, but there were actually a lot of empty seats and it was really easy to find our seats. i'm so glad that my mom did a little research ahead of time, because we ate at a nice restaurant (we'll talk about that later) and we saved money on parking by parking on Market St. and got to walk off our dinner by walking across the bridge to the arena (apparently it's about a 15-20 min walk but honestly it felt like 5 minutes).

We ate at Coimbra Bar & Restaurant (read reviews here) while watching the last 2014 World Cup game between Netherlands and Brazil. Apparently there's another section of the place that's more of a "restaurant", but we ate at the "bar" side, which I actually really liked. The bar was absolutely beautiful (we've been looking into bars for our basement) and the environment was really clean and new.

I would not recommend bringing any vegetarians/vegans here, because there really aren't any options for them. the menu is completely filled with meat/fish dishes.

The appetizers that are given automatically are a small dish of olives and bread. I was saving my stomach for dinner, so I didn't eat anything before coming and I was STARVING. I couldn't eat the bread, so I sucked it up and ate a couple olives (if you didn't know, i'm not a fan of olives).

my family also ordered the "Flamed Cooked Portuguese Sausage" which arrived in flames and finished its cooking process at the table. The waiter cooked it so that parts of the outside was blackened/charred (which I assume is the way it's supposed to be prepared) but my dad was not happy about that ;)
I didn't eat this either (pescatarian if you didn't know), so I ate the garlic that was in the sausage (whole cloves of garlic in the sausage, which I have never seen before --- thought they were plantains for some reason). and yes, i like eating roasted garlic because it's so sweet and savory and good. don't judge, you'll understand once you try it for yourself.

i think the waiter noticed that i wasn't eating the sausage because he kept looking at our table and then brought over a plate of appetizers for us. they're all pescatarian options, but they're also breaded (some of them have shrimp and others have fish), so i kind of picked at one and had a bite and it was good, but then our food came so i just left it up to the rest of my family to finish the appetizers.

My dad ordered some kind of duck? It came with french fries (which my brother & I stole) and orange ribbons.
By the way, this meal was definitely a "cheat meal" because I went to town with the kinds of potatoes that came with the food, but I felt so good afterwards even though I was super full. I think that having a "cheat meal" after eating so healthy for such a long time is definitely a reward that's totally worth it.

we were expecting the plates to be large enough to share, so my mom and i shared the grilled salmon which came with potatoes, carrots, and broccoli. my first bite was of the carrot, and I was really disappointed by how SALTY it was :( the rest of the food was really good, but everything was just way too salty for our taste. if it wasn't for the level of saltiness, i'd be all over this restaurant.

but aside from that, the salmon was good; there were bones in there (which i did not expect and was unpleasant surprised when i had a mouthful of bones) but i liked how it was cooked. i ate the broccoli, skipped out on the rest of the incredibly salty carrots, and ate a bite of the potatoes (we had too many potatoes and french fries > boiled potatoes).

my brother definitely knows how to order, because the dish he ordered was our favorite. he ordered a daily special which was some kind of cod with all these potato "chips" (thick slices of french fries pretty much that were crispy on the outside but soft of the inside---yeah i went to town with these) and a buttery sauce.

the cod was super tender and not as salty as the salmon. and of course the potatoes: they were amazing and i have absolutely no regrets about eating so many, especially because we had a nice little trek to the arena.

 walking across the bridge to the arena after parking on Market Street (free parking & we just kept our car parked in front of the restaurant)
 lots of good bonding time, even on the walk

don't worry too much about getting to the arena too early/exactly at 7 when the game starts, because the first 10-15 minutes is just full of the formalities (the players coming out, color guard stuff, national anthem).

what to wear: sunglasses and/or a hat, because depending on where you're sitting during the first 15-30 minutes of the game, it is incredibly sunny as the sun is setting. aside from that, it might be beneficial to wear sneakers or flat shoes/sandals because you will have to climb some stairs to get to your seat (anything but flip-flops or heals). the seats are hard and plastic, but that didn't really get in the way. some people brought whistles to cheer on the team after making a goal.

you see that whole section, where all the colored smoke/powder and flags are? i'm pretty sure that's where the color guard was sitting but don't quote me on that. anyways, that section cheered and chanted for the ENTIRE duration of the game. on the other hand, every other section (including the one we sat in) was pretty quiet unless a goal was made (then pretty much everyone clapped/cheered/jumped up).

all in all, i had a blast with my family and i totally understand why so many people love going to watch real games. maybe you won't have as great of a view as you might have from your television, but the experience of just being there, surrounded by passionate fans, is just really fun.

*tip for the future: they have really great last minute deals at this arena since it's not super packed (we found out that there was a promotion that day for tickets for a family of 4 plus a free $20 food voucher for a total cost of $80-88, but we bought these tickets in may for my brother's birthday so we couldn't take advantage of that)

xoxo, Hannah

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