MIT Senior Week (Part 1)

As with many other colleges in the US, MIT has "Senior Week" the week before graduation, and it's a week of events for the seniors to enjoy each other's company one last time at. We had to sign up for most of these events in advance, and it was a mad rush to nab the spots for some of them. Leave it to our class council to plan events where it's supposed to be for our whole class of about 1000 people, yet each event only had about 200 available spots. I've missed out on many an event in the past 4 years due to tickets selling out ridiculously early. Somehow the people that are all friends with the student council members were always able to go… Anyway without further ado, here are some memories from my senior week.

Friday 6/1 The first day of senior week was a wine tasting event, which I didn't attend because I was at home eating lobster with guests lol. I'm also not big on alcoholic drinks because I still haven't learned to enjoy the strong and bitter taste of alcohol. I guess eventually I should learn to be more refined and enjoy wine for what it is, but that can wait heh.

Saturday 6/2 I came back to MIT on this day for the Cape Cod dinner train event (I paid $25 for a ticket). It's a train that serves a 5 course dinner while taking you down around Cape Cod to see some scenery. It sounded like a beautiful train ride, and while the food was great, the view was less than spectacular and certainly not what I imagined it to be. In my mind the train ride would be a glorious 3 hour excursion around the tip of Cape Cod, following the ocean. Instead, the train started out in the woods and spent 4/5 of its time surrounded by trees that not only prevented us from seeing anything but also prevented good picture taking opportunities. I felt like I was traveling through a random rural part of Massachusetts, with all the trees and houses that lined the railroad. The only sights worthy of seeing were some of the cute farms, expansive salt marshes, and a short-lived view of the bay area at the midpoint of the ride. Here are some pictures from the day:

It happened to be a dreadfully hot day out (with temps rising up into the 80s), and very humid as it usually is up here in MA over the summers. Greg and I were waiting outside for our buses to arrive to take us down to Cape Cod to board the train. Everyone was hot and sweaty, and imagine our horror when we realized that the buses we had to ride for the 2.5 hr ride down to Cape Cod were big yellow school buses. Yes, and that was just miserable. But at least I got to be with my friends and had a fun train ride to look forward to. I had a Kashi cereal bar for lunch and that had to tide me over until dinner on the train haha.

Here we are on the actual train itself, which looks kind of like a very long restaurant, with dinner tables lined up against the wall on either side. The train was pretty inside and on the outside, but I forgot to take a picture from the outside, oops. We were eagerly awaiting the food to be served, because I think everyone at the table was starving from not having eaten a proper lunch beforehand (except for my friend Tony who ate a sub for lunch, sheesh haha).

To recreate the dinner train experience, I'll post some highlights in the order that I took them, and the food courses that came in the process :) Some of the pictures are blurry because of course the train is in motion the whole time I'm trying to snap pictures, and I'm doing it through a glass window.

This was an amazingly good seafood chowder with potatoes, clams, cod, lobster, and shrimp all in a creamy chowder. It definitely compares to the famous Legal Seafood clam chowder. Either that or we were all just starving to death and therefore thought any food was heaven. I think this was my favorite course of the evening though. I savored it slowly with some oyster crackers. Yummm.

The rolls were hot and fresh, and they tasted pretty good. The only downside? I'm pretty sure the roll counted as a course in our 5-course dinner… :( The menu says we were supposed to get hors d'oeuvres, but that definitely didn't happen for us. The served entree was also different from the menu. Weird huh?

The salmon entree was very delicious. It had a nice crust of bread crumbs and pistachios which gave it a nutty, rich flavor and crunch. The salmon itself wasn't overcooked, and it came with a lemon lime beurre blanc whose mild acidity cut well though the meatiness of the fish and richness of the topping. Sides of blanched asparagus spears and creamy mashed potatoes accompanied the dish for a pleasing presentation.

Our dessert course was a strawberry shortcake with phyllo dough and custard topped with a few large strawberries. It was a tasty dessert, and a refreshing and satisfying way to finish the dinner. We also got coffee to go with the dessert. By the time we got back to our starting point, it was already pitch black outside, so we all filed onto our yellow school buses and napped all the way home after a long day. I enjoyed the train ride and the food, but I was disappointed with a lack of great scenery and the fact that it got dark shortly after the halfway point of the ride. Otherwise though, it was a fun experience overall. Tiring, but interesting to try.

After we got back to campus, Greg, Tony, Jacqueline and I went back to my dorm and we played a board game called Blokus. It's a little bit like Tetris, except you place the blocks on a flat board and try to compete with other people for space. The rules are a little weird and the game is tough to beat when there are 4 people playing, but it's a fun little spatial brainteaser. My friends and I like the weird name… "Blokus"… we named ourselves that for a team name for one of our school events this past year. Yeah… we're dorky like that haha.

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