Tag Archives: steaks

Dillon’s bachelor party – An Adirondacks adventure! (Part 3 – GoKarts, games, and the journey West)


Weekend from 30-Sept to 04-Oct

It’s been ages since my friends and I’ve had a good old fashioned get together.

COVID, living on the West Coast, tons of little things have delayed or denied getting to get together and catch up. But now, we’ve got a good reason to get together – one of the best reasons of all, in fact! A wedding! And what comes before a wedding? The bachelor party, of course!

Dillon had asked me to be his Best Man for the wedding in November, which of course meant planning and throwing the bachelor party itself – with much help from many people, a plan was crafted and a timeline put in place. A location chosen, a guest list compiled, and a date chosen.

Plane tickets were bought, rentals secured, and reservations called in. Now, all that remained was the best part of the process – sitting back and having an amazing weekend!!!

Sunday, 03-October-2021 and Monday, 04-October-2021

Yesterday morning, we’d cooked up a glorious breakfast after relaxing and eating home-smoked ribs.

Sunday morning, we stumbled out of our rooms, one by one, surprisingly sane and capable in light of the energetic evening we’d had on Saturday. Compared to back at Northeastern we hadn’t gone that hard, truth be told, but we still hadn’t gone easy… various games of sushi-matching and ultimate battles, combined with some exceptional drinks, had taken a toll on all of us.

Thankfully, that had always been part of the plan, and we had the perfect cure-all lined up and ready for us – a diner brunch, before hitting an arcade!

Both stops were exactly what we’d hoped them to be:

For brunch, we’d tracked down a diner that was perfectly reminiscent of the various haunts that you think of when you hear “Diner” – slightly aged, with sassy coffee and strong waitresses. The food was buttery and delicious, the booths felt like they were straight out of the 50s, and there were utensils for Dillon and Daniel to stack and balance while we waited for omlettes and pancakes to be piled high on our table.

Coffee was sipped, waters chugged, and bellies were filled in exactly the right amount to chase off any remnants of hangovers that may have been hanging around. And, since its a diner in Upstate New York in the off season, there wasn’t any rush for us to pack up and head out… We had a vague timeline for the day, but nothing set in stone… so we ate, sipped, and enjoyed the good company that comes with a solid weekend adventure.

The drive to the arcade was short, and soon enough we were kicking it old-school – GoKarts (the rain held off literally exactly until we’d just finished our final lap), arcade games, tickets, and HALO shooters. We crushed them all… with many thanks to everyone donating coins for Dillon and I! I don’t want to think about how much money we stuffed into that infernal HALO game… but maybe $30 or $40 later, the two of us had beaten the game and successfully backed up the Master Chief through the events of the first game – which, compared with the cost of a full game… was probably almost worth it? Maybe?

But while duo shooters are fun, they aren’t the end-all for a six-person bachelor party. The true key for that? Laser tag. Ideally overseen by an amazingly sculpted AT-ST Chicken Walker, and guarded by arguably the scariest statue of Yoda I’ve ever seen.

See, I didn’t mention that earlier, but this arcade was… interesting. You know those movies, where the protagonists are high school kids who work at a summer camp that was probably awesome 15 years ago, but hasn’t really been maintained since? Or when you see a fixer-up TV show where they refurbish an old restaurant that’s somehow been trapped in the late 90s?

Yeah… This arcade was amazing, once. The laser tag arena was beautifully sculpted, and obviously had a lot of love put into it by some very skilled artists. But… that was a long time ago, and this was (as I’d alluded to) the off season for this tourist town. The lasers worked, sometimes, and most of the lights stayed on pretty consistently.

But you know what? We had fun! We blasted each other, got confused by the (lack of) rules, and just ran around until we were tired and out of breath. In short, we did exactly what we’d come to do, and left with smiles on our faces, and enough calories burned to easily have earned the Stewarts milkshakes

While we drove back, we discussed how the rest of the day would be low-key. “Just relaxing, no real plans” we said to Dillon. A few of us knew better, but we kept it to ourselves… because what Bachelor Party would this be, if there wasn’t a surprise in store for the groom-to-be?

No, we didn’t hire strippers or anything. Obviously.

We did something much, much sexier… We had custom Magic card decks made!!!

Shut up, we’re nerds, and we absolutely love it. Embrace the nerd! Let it roar! I now have a magic card with my face on it!

We all do, in fact – with many thanks to my Stepdad and our friend Bear, we had specialized decks made for everyone. Custom commanders printed in our likeness, and even a whole set of rare cards compiled to give Dillon a… well, I don’t know MTG very well, but even I could tell that his deck wasn’t balanced for any real competitive play. I wouldn’t say it’s overpowered… but I absolutely will say that it’s a completely ridiculous deck.

Without getting into the deep mechanics of the game: Most of the time people have 3 or 4 creatures on the deck, that have power levels of 4 or 5 each.

What did we have?

Dillon had… I think 26 level 13 creatures? I had a single level 74, and I think Brian and Bear both had 12+ level 20 creautres.

It was ridiculous, silly, and absolutely a blast to play!

We broke from the game for dinner, but kept it going long into the night.

Stepping back from Magic, though – it’s worth making note of our dinner for the evening. Chris yet again knocked it out of the park with an amazing spread, this time bought from his coworker.


Just… so many steaks. We had T-bones, we had Ribeye, and we had New York Strip. We had asparagus and fingerling potatoes. Roasted, seared, and delicious. We yet again gorged ourselves, eating more amazing food in a weekend than I’m pretty sure most of use would have eaten in a season a decade ago.

In short, it was an amazing evening. Good food, great drinks, and an absolutely ridiculous game of Magic.

I’ve missed this, man.

Monday, 04-October-2021

Our last day dawned drearily.

The rains that we’d been hearing about on the weather had finally hit overnight, and they continued in earnest as we packed up the cabin and tidied everything up.

But even the sky knows not to interfere with critical traditions, and the rain stopped for just long enough for us to get a few group pictures before we locked the front door and got ourselves back on the highway. One final group breakfast, at the same diner as the day before, gave us a chance to chat and visit one last time, before Chris said his goodbyes and the first member of the Bachelor Party fellowship went his way.

For the rest of us, we relaxed in the van as the miles vanished under the tires. We chatted a bit, napped a bit, and stayed low-key… a bit melancholy, maybe, but more content than anything else I think.

We dropped Bear off next, then Dillon. We had a brief visit with Liz, before dropping off the van and catching a Lyft to the airport – Brian had made the last-minute decision to fly to Baltimore to pick up his car, so I had company on the second to last leg of my weekend, before boarding a plane and winging my way back to Oregon, my own car, and my own bed.

Quarantine cooking 2020


Various days, weeks, and months in early 2020


Hello! Welcome to “cooking pretty well”! I’m your host, Ben!

Today, I’ll be showing you some of the things that I cooked pretty well! Thanks to COVID-19, everything’s shut down here in Oregon. I’m very glad that everything’s shut down, but it does make getting interesting food fairly difficult.

Luckily for me, I like cooking! I’m even okay at it usually!


I didn’t post any individual articles about these while I was cooking them, because they’re frankly not that particularly interesting or impressive on their own. But when taken together… this shows a history of creativity and can-do attitude! Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Short version – I had a lot of fun trying new recipes, and cooking things that I’m not well versed in. It was fun, and almost everything came out quite tasty!

  • White Castle burgers!
    I followed a youtube recipe (link below) which walked me through the various steps to preparing and cooking semi-accurate White Castle sliders. I can’t comment on how authentic they tasted, since I’ve never actually been to a White Castle, but I can say that I was happy with how they came out.
    As a bonus, I couldn’t get buns from the grocery store, so I made my own!
    Solid 7/10
  • Brisket!
    I followed my standard recipe for this one, and I’m happy to say that it came out exactly as well as I’d expect.
  • Hamburger Sliders!
    Not similar at all to the White Castle burgers, these were cooked directly on the skillet, and didn’t have any onions included… but dang, did I do a good job.
    I even learned that they’re good as leftovers, either re-heated in the toaster, or just microwaved and eaten like a savage.
    9.5/10, good things here.
  • Steak.
    Is steak. Was good. Yes.
  • Mega-Extra bacon cheese burger!
    Normally, I don’t put lettuce or tomato on my burgers. It’s not that I’m against it, mind you, it’s just that I don’t think that they add enough to justify the effort of getting all the extra ingredients. See, I don’t really buy “hamburger materials”, it’s just stuff that I like to keep stocked in the kitchen. Lettuce and tomato though… those don’t last long enough to keep stocked regularly, so I don’t.
    Which means that, sometimes, I decide to get fancy and make a full-power burger. Like this one!
    9/10, yay burger!

How to make a bad day… not so bad.




I had a rough day.

In all honesty, I couldn’t pinpoint any single bit that made it worse than a normal day… I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I guess.  And then had the bed explode, and stab me with a knife made of doom.  It wasn’t pleasant.

The workday didn’t make it any better, especially when I had a last-minute project dropped on my lap, which kept me at work just long enough to have to bail on a date.  Seriously – one of my biggest frustrations is how everything is always timed just close enough that it reminds you how it could have been… instead of definitely being absolutely too late to keep my plans, instead I was only 15min late… so that little voice in the back of my head kept reminding me that, maybe, I could have made it.  That this other option was still just close enough that I could maybe rush and make it only a little late…

But no – Instead, I cut my losses, canceled plans, and drove home.

I knew how to make it a better night though – delicious dinners, with delicious drinks, and delicious relaxation.


An alternative title to this could be: “the night I practiced shucking oysters”

Because that is exactly what I did – I stopped in at the butchers shop to get a pair of steaks.  One for dinner, and one for lunch tomorrow.

Then, I salted them, and left them to sit while I walked down the street to whole foods, while listening to an amazing album.  At whole foods, bread and oysters (along with sauce, and an oyster knife) were bought.

Then I walked home… taking just long enough for the album to finish playing all the way through.

Oysters were shucked while the oven was heating up – then eaten while I was cooking the steak and cutting up the tomatoes to go with it.  The bread was tossed into the oven to warm up right before the steaks were ready, and it was done by the time they had sit and rested after being cooked.

Scotch, of course, was sipped liberally throughout the process.


By the time I was done eating?  Well, nothing had really changed in the real world.  But my outlook on it was markedly improved.