Tag Archives: Dinner

House Rules: How To Throw a Proper Bachelor Party

Spring is nearly upon us here in Baltimore, and on the heels of the first sunny days will be another Spring wedding season. For the women and the coupled men out there this can mean the welling up of all sorts of conflicting emotions, leading to long discussions and life choices. For a consummate bachelor such as the Chop is, it means nothing more than that we’re officially on the cusp of bachelor party season.

For the groom and his friends, a bachelor party means making memories of male bonding, drinking, debauchery and debasement. If you’re selected as the best man though, it means a whole lot of work.

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

A well planned and successful bachelor party might just be the greatest gift that one man can give another. As with any great gift though, it’s the thought, effort, and considerations that go into it which make the thing so great. Anyone can throw a keg on the back porch and order a bunch of pizzas, but you’re the best man. The party you throw needs to be the best it can be. Follow these rules to insure that it is.

The best man is in charge.
From the moment you’re named best man, it’s understood that it’s on you to produce a bachelor party. You may ask the groom for one or two suggestions, mainly to get an idea of the scale of the party. You don’t want to plan a simple night out in Fell’s if the groom is expecting a weekend blowout in Atlantic City. Once you agree on the scale though, no more input from the groom is really necessary. You may even want to keep him on a need-to-know basis. He’s riding shotgun in this adventure, and a few surprise turns thrown in will make the trip that much more fun.

Plan your logistics.
If the party does involve travel, a weekend in Atlantic City, a trip to see the Ravens on the road, or anything of that sort, or if certain friends live great distances apart or travel is required for the wedding itself, its obviously that much more difficult to swell the guest list for the bachelor party, and four guests might be plenty. If, on the other hand, someone in the company has a large suburban house with a club basement and an in-ground pool, go ahead and invite as many people as possible. Whatever you do, plan early, and keep everyone apprised on any changes that may arise. You should also make all guests aware of what the dress code will be. We recommend nothing less than collars and jackets. Ties are preferable.

Always arrange transportation beforehand.

Arrange transportation.
This will be specific to your locale and plans, but make sure your plan doesn’t involve drunk driving and leaving cars parked in tow away zones willy-nilly. Whether you get a limo, rely on cabs, designate a driver or whatever, just make sure you’ve got something lined up for the evening.

All day, all night, or both?
One of the best ways to go is to throw a progressive bachelor party. Start small in the afternoon with just the groomsmen enjoying some daytime activity; a round of golf, playing the horses at Pimlico or something of that nature. Have a few more friends meet the party in the evening for dinner, and then come one come all for the rest of the night.

Plan your budget.
Whatever you’re planning, you should have an idea of how the expenses will break down for everyone. Try to strike a fair balance between baller and budget. Everyone should know beforehand how much cash they should be expected to show up with, and there’s no way around it; a good, memorable bachelor party ain’t cheap. This is one advantage of a progressive party, if someone’s not exactly flush, he can beg off dinner and join the party later to save a few dollars.

Eat dinner.
The Chop heartily endorses a sit-down dinner in the nicest restaurant you can afford as part of any bachelor party. It’s a great chance to enjoy a bit of luxury, carbo-load before a night of heavy drinking, and exchange toasts. Depending on the number of diners at your table, you may want to ask everyone to lay out a certain amount before you even sit down. Make the amount high, like, so high no one man could possibly order that much. Then let everyone order what they will. There should be plenty extra, which can be used toward the tip and the groom’s meal, because The groom isn’t paying for anything tonight. If there’s still cash leftover it can be put toward a bottle of champagne for the table, the night’s cab rides, etc.

Something else to take into consideration if you’re going to have a dozen or more for dinner is the possibility of renting a private banquet room, arranging a prix fixe menu, or securing a couple hours of open bar. This can be easier for everyone involved, and you may save a few bucks in the long run.

Tom Hanks is still the gold standard for zany bachelor parties.

Strippers.
Strippers are still mandatory for a proper bachelor party, but they should not be the focus of the entire evening. A quick visit to one strip club will suffice. The longer a large group of guys stays in a club, the greater the potential for all sorts of trouble to occur. At a minimum, you’ll see all the money fall out of your pockets and may be pressed for bottle service by some shady club-manager type. And of course, someone’s going to make a bad decision sooner or later. Stay only long enough to get an eyeful of the girls and get the groom a lap dance, then move it somewhere else.

(By the by, we recommend the Red Room on the Block. Just make sure you pack your picnic basket.)

Party ’til you drop.
Most of the party will make it home eventually, but whichever groomsman has the biggest, most comfortable house should designate it as the crash pad for the night. The crash pad should be stocked ahead of time with enough liquor to wind the party up, some gourmet drunken snack foods, and brunch supplies for the morning after.


One final note…

As technology changes, the rules change too. We recommend that as best man you be the only one at the party with a working cell phone. Anyone needing to contact the party should contact the best man. The groom should have his phone taken away for safe keeping as soon as the party begins, and all other guests should be asked to keep their phones off for the evening. Everyone should be fully involved in the night, and calls and texts, Foursquare check-ins, Facebook statuses, and tweets are just distractions, as well as an easy way for fiancées and their friends to get too nosy in real time. We’d like to see the no phones rule become the new standard and tradition.

And of course the old standards and traditions still apply: whatever does or does not happen at a bachelor party is never to be discussed in mixed company. Ever.

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Happy Thanksgiving From The Baltimore Chop

It’s been a few years since we were around for the holidays. We’ve been all over the world, but there’s nothing out there quite like Thanksgiving dinner with a large and happy family.

Here’s hoping that you’ve got plenty for which to be thankful. We certainly do.

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The Perfect Wine for Thanksgiving: Tawny Port

You’ve all probably figured out by now that the Chop really likes our liquor. We’ll always embrace the chance to try something new or compare two whiskies side by side. What you may not have realized though is that we also like wine quite a bit.

The difference between lies in the fact that while we harbor some nerdy, snobbish tendencies about liquor, we’re not at all picky about wine. We fall squarely into the 15% of consumers who are ‘Savvy Shoppers’ on Constellation Brands’ six types of wine drinkers list. If it costs $10 and doesn’t smell like vinegar, odds are we’ve gone home with it at some point. (But enough about our sex life…)

A visual approximation of the Chop's Thanksgiving dinner.

So when a wine magazine editor writing for the Huffington Post recently called Thanksgiving “the clusterfuck of wine holidays” we were inclined to agree.

The Chop has a very large extended family. For thanksgiving we traditionally pay a visit to our singularly Republican aunt and uncle who are enthusiastic wine cellar-ers and have been for many years. In typical selfish, undemocratic GOP fashion though, they keep most of the cellar locked up, and buy a bunch of crappy Vendange or Turning Leaf for the family, thinking we don’t know the difference. No matter. Picking and pairing wines for thanksgiving dinner really can be more trouble than it’s worth.

So when you’re standing around the wine shop this week, wondering what bottle to bring as a gift or which will make the best digestif, we’d like to plant this thought in your head: Thanksgiving is the best day of the year for drinking Port.

All of the best drinkers throughout history have embraced Portos. From kings and noblemen to oenophilic tastemakers to the fathers of Maryland to hobos and winos, and of course, the Chop, anyone who knows wine knows it’s better when it’s fortified. With the perfect mix of lightness and body, fruit and oak, and caramel and spice, a good tawny Port is the perfect choice for a tipple after a feast of yams and turkey. It even pairs sublimely with pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

The bottle in our rack right now is the Sandeman 10 year old. We picked this out from among the large and varied selection of Portos at the Wine Source for about $25. To our mind Sandeman is roughly the Johnnie Walker of Portugal, from their wide range of Portos and a consistent quality near the bottom of their line, right down to their exporting machine and the shadowy figure in the logo. That’s not a knock. We’ve got nothing but love for Johnnie Black, and we’d recommend keeping both the Walker and the Sandeman on hand for the holidays, and all the year round.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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A Fun Filled Friday at the Old-Punks’ Home

Okay, Baltimore. Today is the last day for you to go over and vote for us in the Mobbies. Go ahead. Click over and do it now. We’ll wait.

Are you back? Okay. Cool. Thanks for that.

Anyway, We’re still hoping to pull out a win in the Music/Nightlife category. We seem to have fallen well behind in the Personal category, which is strange to us, because we continue to think of this first and foremost as a personal blog. It’s solely about the things that we do and think of day in and day out. We just happen to like seeing live music and drinking in bars more than most people.

A visual approximation of dinner at the Chophouse tonight.

Case in point: tonight we will not be attending the Youth Brigade show at the Sidebar. Likewise, we also won’t be going down to DC for the Suicidal Tendencies. And there’s no fucking way we’re going to pay $30 to see Saves the Day at Sonar.

These are all bands we like. At least, we liked them in their time and place. For all of these acts though, their time is well in the past. We’ve already gone on record with our feelings about old bands as well as their aging fanbase, and all of these shows fall squarely into that category. It’s hard to call yourself Youth Brigade when you’re fucking 50, and we’d like to see the fat, aging Mike Muir try to get on a skateboard these days. These bands were about the coolest thing going in the year we were born and if we’re feeling old in 2010, then they must have roadies who are just in charge of Ben Gay, Icy Hot, and prune juice.

Saves the Day gets a bit of a pass, since they’re only about 30, but as a band they have definitely not aged well. Can’t Slow Down was a near perfect post-high school record, but at this point we’re- uhh, very post high school. We used to love seeing this band play in churches, garages, and even a barn, but by the time we saw them in 2005 at the 9:30 Club they were barely recognizable and very disappointing.

So this is not a post about those shows. It’s a post about how the Chop is an old man, and is going to have some of our other old man friends in for dinner tonight. We could post a recipe or two, but we just don’t do that. We might make a risotto or some sort of stuffed peppers. We’re also thinking roasted potatoes and a seasonal salad, and maybe some of the scratch-made corn chowder we’ve still got on hand.

We’re also going to drink brown liquor and talk about how great things used to be and how everything is terrible now, as old men are wont to do.

This is a post about that.

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The Best Midnight Snacks After a Night Out Drinking

We know you like to eat, Baltimore. We know you like to eat well, too. You’re all about your farmers’ markets and your new restaurants and your local, sustainable, seasonal ingredients and everything else.

We like to eat as much as the next armchair gourmet, but even more than that, we like to drink. A sub-par meal can always be salvaged by a stiff Rusty Nail beforehand, a bottle of Boordy Rockfish during, and a generous pour of Cognac afterward.

Of course sometimes when we’re out on the town, we have such a good dinner that we forget to actually order any food. When we stumble home at 2:15 am and realize that our kitchen is not air-conditioned and that brown rice and whole vegetables often require a lot of time-consuming and messy work over a hot stove, our palate becomes a lot less sophisticated real quick.

Still though, eating Captain Crunch by hand right out of the box or smothering questionable leftovers with ketchup is a low to which we cannot stoop. After a long night of boozing it is necessary to walk that fine line between quality and convenience. It’s at dire times like these we’re glad that we make a point of always keeping on hand one of our top five favorite midnight snacks.

Morningstar Farms Burgers

At only about 2 minutes in the microwave, these things are already done before you can reach for the buns and plates. They come in several varieties (including vegan) and you can top them off about a thousand different ways. These might be our favorite food, period.

V8 Soups

A little pricier than your average can of soup, but well worth it. These things are good enough on their own, but once you throw in a handful of baby spinach and heat up a couple of slices of frozen cheesy garlic bread, you can easily pass off your booze blackout as a food coma.

Knorr-Lipton Pasta Pouches

These things also come in several flavors and usually cost less than $2 each. They boil up in under 10 minutes in one pan, which is just enough time to add your own frozen vegetables to the mix and have them end up just right.

Zatarain’s Black Beans and Rice

This product takes a little longer to cook up, but it won’t cost you any more effort. It’s a good choice if you’re making it home before last call, and you’ve also got plenty of choices on what to add to it or top it off with. As an added bonus, these boxes are just big enough to feed two people.

Noodle Bowl

Nowadays there’s a lot more to instant noodles that the old nickel packs of Top Ramen. Rice noodles cook almost instantly, and while a noodle bowl is not quite substantial enough to be a meal unto itself, you can pair it with any sort of microwaveable spring roll, or add some frozen potstickers for a quick and tasty nosh.

* * *

The careful reader may have noticed that all of these choices are vegetarian friendly. The fact is that the Chop is a vegetarian, and we wouldn’t recommend anything we’re not eating ourselves. While after a long night’s drinking you may be more interested in Esskay franks or a bologna sandwich, we at least hope it goes to show that eating vegetarian is a lot easier than most people think, and even when you’re getting tipsy and microwaving, you’re still getting a better meal than what you find on most bar food menus.

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