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nola love November 3, 2010

Filed under: travel — ravennagirls @ 11:56 am
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For those of you who don’t know, B and I both lived in New Orleans for five years while we got our architecture degrees.

New Orleans was this place that started out as simply where I went to school.   Then, slowly, it became a place I loved.  I cannot describe in, put it in words, but I have a feeling for that place that I’m not sure any other place will ever hold for me.  I felt this way before the storm, but really was hit with this overwhelming feeling afterwards.  That old saying, abstence makes the heart grow fonder?  It is so true.  SO true about New Orleans.

Recently B and I took a trip back for Tulane Homecoming & Alumni Weekend.  I didn’t realize how much I needed that weekend.  How honest to goodness relaxing it is to go somewhere that you know your way around, know great place sto go, have great friends along with you.  How much I miss New Orleans.

{all photos by B and D!}

{look what they got outside the new university center!}

I love how my tastebuds light up in my mouth, how amazing every little thing you eat is.

{beignets at Cafe du Monde first thing after arrival}

I love how relaxed I feel.

I love taking a walk in the late morning with a bloody mary in one hand and a camera in the other.

I love how the old and new somehow come together and beauty grows out of them.

growing at lafayette cemetery

{lafayette cemetary old fallen grave markers}

I love Tulane, and how great they treat their alums (hello, unlimited free drinks and yummy free food two days in a row…)

{the first photo in this post is just one result of the Tulane Alumni Party photo booth!}

I love hearing the music, live right there.  And I love that after the concert concluded, Tulane had a fireworks show, right on the quad…

{trombone shorty’s concert on the Tulane quad}

I love that in October I wore shorts and skirts and summery dresses and was hot.

I love that we watched the saints outdoors at the Bulldog.

{watching saints v cardinals outside at the Bulldog Uptown patio. Abita Amber in one hand, burger in the other...}

{bulldog's new fountain on the patio which we think we might replicate in our yard!} ha

I love how fun it is to spend time with friends there, to talk about the great fun we had in college. 

{b and d at the alumni party}

i love that the saints won the superbowl. 

{watching the tulane football game at the dome}

And that they have now made the dome a glowing gold.
 

{who dat?}

 

because really… Some things happen only at Tulane, only in New Orleans.

 

{happy vacation made possible by all the friends that flew in from around the globe to join the fun, all the friends that met up with us while we were in town, and the friend that let us stay at her place!}

 

nola pride October 1, 2010

Filed under: design,travel,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 1:27 pm
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This weekend we have one of our favorite ladies coming up from Portland for a couple days full of crafting, cooking, and enjoying beautiful fall weather. On Sunday i hope to sneak in a few minutes of football to see our Seahawks trample the Rams!

While we root for the Seahawks first, our pending trip to New Orleans is reminding us to always cheer for our other team – those Who Dat Saints. Yesterday I got this new T-shirt design from Dirty Coast in my inbox, and might just have to pick one up when i’m in town next week. So cute!

 

Roadtrip on the 28th August 28, 2010

Filed under: adventures,travel — ravennagirls @ 3:27 pm
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So, today we will be taking an 8+ hour roadtrip back to Washington from the beautiful state of Montana.

Its August 28th.

This is not the first time D and I have headed off into wild blue yonder for a long road trip on August 28th. 5 years ago today we woke up early, turned on the local news, and decided it was probably about time to get our butts out of dodge. And by dodge, I mean the Crescent City.

5 years ago today, we evacuated from Hurricane Katrina. Most of you know the story already, but for those of you who don’t, just picture this:

3 people (Bri, D, and our great friend Kevin)

1 styrofoam cooler (squeak, squeak)

1 bassoon in its case (being rescued for another friend)

all snugly fit into a blue volkswagon bug.

It was quite a day. It took us 10+ hours to drive 300 miles from New Orleans to Tuscaloosa, Alabama (by the way – our initial destination was Tampa, FL and we made it nowhere NEAR the beach). We passed many gas stations out of fuel, many towns too small to have a name or population, and ran for our lives (literally). Needless to say, there was a bit of stress involved.

So, here’s to roadtrips on the 28th. Replicating today was unintentional, but it does seem awfully fitting as a reminder of how far we and New Orleans have come in the last five years. This trip will no doubt be less soggy, and we are blessed enough to have a home to return to when the day is over, which is more than we can say for last time.

These pictures below are from D’s graduation weekend, almost two years after the storm, taken at several of our favorite places in NOLA, Le Crepe Nanou and St. Joe’s (oh, and thats Kevin!). The city was on its way back then, and its come even further now.

Take a minute out of your day to think about the people of New Orleans, their strength and courage, and how terrific the city has become in the wake of this. One great example can be found over at Le Bateau. People wondered at the time of Katrina what would, and maybe what should become of the Big Easy. I think 5 years later its pretty safe to say that New Orleans is one of the most wondrous places anywhere and that perserverence is the name of the game down that-a-way.

 

laissez les bon temps roulez! February 16, 2010

Filed under: celebrations — ravennagirls @ 4:39 pm
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Happy Fat Tuesday!

{the biggest and last day of the Mardi Gras season!}

If you are in Seattle,  this will help  you miss NOLA a bit less these days…

A fresh King Cake from Sugar Bakery on Madison.

YUM!  It was seriously like the best king cake I have had.  Very moist and flavorful.  I will definitely order my office’s King Cake from them next year!  (last year B and I both got on a plane home from Mardi Gras with carry on King Cakes for our co-workers….)

The baby has got to be in that remaining piece, because it still has not been found.

Happy Mardi Gras!

 

And they came marching in! February 9, 2010

Filed under: celebrations,food — ravennagirls @ 3:58 pm
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February has always been the month that New Orleans shines the brightest.The azaleas start to bloom, crawfish season is starting, and then, there’s Mardi Gras. You have never seen a city truly alive until you’ve been to Mardi Gras. So, just when the krewes are starting to roll, and the sidewalks are filling with families and beads, something even BETTER happens. The Saints, the team that has been the hope of a city for 5 years, goes to the Super Bowl. D and I both lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. We both went back to school, even after our house was flooded and we knew the city would never be the same. And we saw how the city rallied around a team and a stadium that became a symbol of the future, which was the most important thing when a lot of people weren’t certain the future was there.

So, when our team made it to the Super Bowl we could feel the excitement, even 2000 miles away. We sent out an evite 5 seconds after they won the NFC Championship, and started planning an authentic NOLA menu for the big day.

First for the party – we wanted to lay a good foundation, like any good Mardi Gras parade. So, when D’s coworker Noelle offered to track down some Abita beer we handed her  check and said “yes, please!”

Then — Before the guests even came over, us party throwers got hungry for a little … “while you are cooking” snack.  D made some peanut butter and celery sticks.  We were out of raisins… but did have Craisins… and there it was…

Fire Ants on a Log:  (the only good way fire ants can be in your living room!)

ha.

After receiving an oil thermometer for Christmas,I have been itching to try frying something (for the first time!). So, of course, beignets! Those wonderful pillows of french-doughnut-perfection. I copped out a bit and bought Cafe du Monde mix, but they were still a great half time snack.

But what you’re all waiting for, the pies-de-resistence, is Jambalaya, and man o man was it tasty. D brought home John Besh’s new cookbook after Christmas, so we had decided which recipe we were going to make. When Brandi (Delancey’s new pastry chef!) from I Made That blogged about it this week it made me even MORE excited. Just as she did, we adapted the recipe a bit, but it tasted just as spicy and authentic as the best New Orleans Jambalaya. And even though we made a HALF BATCH it still took two 5.5 qt Le Creusets and could have fed an army. We froze a ton and will be eating Jambalaya throughout the spring, which will be a great reminder of New Orleans and all the wonderful spring traditions.

shrimp chicken and andouille jambalaya
by john besh
 
(I though did not include shrimp.)

 
serves 12-15

(I would recommend halving this recipe to feed 15 people, actually.  only make a fourth of it for your everyday dinner crowd…)
 
2 lbs diced bacon
3 lbs diced andouille sausage
1/2 cup butter
2 lbs fresh pork sausage without casings
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs cut in 1 inch cubes
salt
pepper
6 large onions, diced
4 peppers diced and seeded  (we used yellow and orange)
10 stalks celery, diced
12 c garlic minced
9 c  White Rice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
3 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenna
1 tablespoon celery salt
6 c canned crushed tomatoes
6 c chicken stock
5 lbs shrimp peeled and deveined
3 bunches green onions, chopped
 

(above, the tulane alum group in seattle gave out bags of spicy at a crawfish boil last year.. which we used for this recipe. … It definitely was spicy!)

1.  Heat a pot (3-5 gallons) over high heat until hot then reduce heat to moderate. 
2.  Render the bacon w the sausages and lard/butter in hot pot.  stir slowly w wooden spoon.  Season chicken w s and p… then add chicken to the pot, stirring and cook until the chicken becomes golden, about 5 min
3.  Add onions to pot  – allow to carmelize.  Add peppers, celery, garlic, and cook for 5 min.  Continue stirring occassionally.

(our two pots ready for rice!)
4.  Add rice, thyme, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne, 2 T salt, 1T Pepper, and celery salt.  Stir often for about 3 min.
5.  Increase heat to high and add tomatoes and chicken stock.  Bring stock to a boil.    Reduce to medium heat cover and simmer for 15 mn. 
6.  While rice is cooking in covered pot season shrimp w s & p and save them w/ green onions to be added at the very end.
7.  after rice simmers for 15 min remove lid.  fold in shrimp and green onions.  Turn off heat and let cook in pot for 10 mor min.
remove fluff and serve.

served in D’s new sagaform, with tabasco and abita.  roaring fire optional.

 I love homemade jambalaya!

(photos provided by very proud members of the WHO DAT nation.)

Who Dat, Who Dat, Who Dat WON the Super Bowl!

 

a very New Orleans weekend! January 26, 2010

Filed under: celebrations — ravennagirls @ 12:37 pm
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Filled with lots of fun!

First we saw one of our favorite bands Rebirth Brass Band…..

and danced and danced until our feet hurt.  It felt good though.   It felt like I could still go down to Oak St and head into the Maple Leaf and see them next week too.  Someone brought a second line umbrella, they threw out Mardi Gras cups, and we all seemed to be wearing  fleurs-de-lis in the audience….

They played “When the Saints go Marching In” at the end and everyone got all excited.

Because on Sunday the Saints marched into the Superdome…

and, after nearly giving everyone an overtime-inducing heart attack… beat the Vikings!

all I can say is…..

Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Who dat? Who dat?

Who Dat, Who Dat, Who Dat in the Super Bowl!

 

Disney Night Out January 13, 2010

Filed under: travel,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 2:58 pm
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On Monday night we went to see the Princess and the Frog, and lets just say it swept me off my feet. We both went to school in New Orleans, and they had the setting SPOT ON. The accents of each character were perfect (from uptown toddler to cajun swamp dweller) and the locations were totally transporting. Really really terrific job, Disney folks.

Of course I couldn’t find a screen shot of my FAVORITE scene, but I’ll describe it. When Tiana and Price Naveen (both as frogs) are looking for a way out of their mess they go to find swamp voodoo queen Mama Odie, who lives in an abode that is eerily similar to that of Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest. But, after she is done doing her voodoo queen song and dance number, they step out onto her balcony and she has HUNDREDS of colored glass bottles hanging from the tree branches with sunlight streaming through them. Its like a wonderful upcycled disco club. Dreamy 🙂

Favorite character by far was Ray, the toothless Cajun firefly (lightning bug?). So cheery and optimistic, and his love affair with Evangeline is just so goofy sweet it HAS to make you smile.

The movie was so great, i would see it again and again. Perfect representation of the culture of New Orleans (music, gumbo, rich saturated colors, and dark undertones), fun music, great storyline. When it comes out on DVD expect to be invited over for accompanying jambalya and hurricanes. I also really loved that it was set in the 20’s and everyone is in cute flapper dresses. There is a great art deco animation series when Tiana is singing about opening her restaurant that is graphically awesome.

[ps. i just noticed i didn’t include a single picture of either a princess OR a frog in this post. too distracted by the cartoon architecture, obviously]

All images from Disney Motion Pictures