Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Answers to Ask Away Thursday

From Nola to Beaufort and Back (in the Fall)

Where did you live in New Orleans?  How did you like it?  Where did you go to college?
    I grew up in Lakeview (click here for more).  I loved growing up in Lakeview!!  It was as close to perfect as you could possibly get.  We lived in "the big peach house on the corner" which was a converted shotgun double that had these loooooonnngg hallways.  We would get a running start and do grande jetes (ballet terms for jumping splits) all the way down the hall.  I loved that darn house.  It breaks my heart when I pass by the empty lot it once sat on.  
    I went to Loyola University New Orleans, and I wouldn't trade my collegiate experience for any other in the world.  I lived Uptown for my four years in school with the best roommates you could imagine.  Fours weddings and two and a half (my roomie Haley is due in May) babies later, I consider each of them still my very close friends.  I learned so much about life and love and friendships during those four years.  Most importantly from the Jesuits I learned to be a woman with and for others.  AMDG!
    When we head back home, our plan is to live downtown.  Fingers crossed we'll be living in this amazing condo in the Central Business District.  It is fabulous!  We'll be a block and a half off the parade route, a few blocks from the Quarter, and just a minute from the Superdome!!!!  I am already picturing the Saints pre-game brunches!!!

Why did you leave New Orleans and why and when will you be returning?
    I had never in my life imagined living outside of New Orleans, but my sweet hubby had a Naval scholarship to medical school.  So, while he would finish school and residency with no school loans, he would owe the Navy four years of his service.  We were notified in the spring of 2006 that we'd be heading to Beaufort, SC for four years starting that summer.  Mark moved here in July and I came just a few months later.  
     It took a few months for us to get adjusted to life in a whole new place, and when we did, we found that life in the great wide Elsewhere could be quite nice.  Mark's contract with the Navy ends September 30th, so we will be heading home in the fall.  When we first left New Orleans, I could not have ever imagined loving a place outside of it, but four years of life in the Lowcountry makes our impending move bittersweet.  On one hand, I am looking forward to starting our life together at home (I feel like it got cut a little short with Katrina barging in on our first year of marriage), but on the other hand, I just don't know how we will leave our wonderful family of friends here.

Foodie Facts

What is your favorite New Orleans restaurant?  Favorite dish at the restaurant? Why?
    This is such a tough call!!!  I have been thinking about this question all weekend!  And while Commander's Palace is my absolute favorite New Orleans restaurant, I can't quite put my hands on a signature dish (I don't count the garlic cheese toasts as a dish because if I did, they would be the best thing I have ever eaten) of theirs that I'd say makes it my favorite. I just love the feeling of celebration that is all around you when you dine there!!!  If I had to pick my favorite New Orleans dish, I think I might have to go with the crabmeat cheesecake from Palace Cafe.  It is the perfect bite of food.  It starts with a buttery, savory, pecan crust and is filled with the most amazing, sweet crabmeat filling.  All of this is sitting nicely on the most incredible meuniere sauce I have ever tasted.  I get it every time we eat there, and every time it is as good as I imagined from the time before!

What is your favorite meal to make - something that tastes the same every time and makes you happy?
    This is easy.  I love making both my roast beef po-boys and Gumbo Yaya.  There is nothing like the smell of a cooking roux - butter and flour.  Dear me, it's heaven!  And those roast beef po-boys are such a crowd pleaser.  I think the reason I love making these dishes is that I feel I am sharing a part of myself and my city when I make them.  I feel like my friends can sense the love and care you put into these dishes and it expresses the pride and love I have for the food culture of New Orleans.  When we celebrate, whether it's the Superbowl or a birthday or the start of the Carnival season, these are the dishes we share.  There is a great book about the food culture of New Orleans, Gumbo Tales...  Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, and in it the author describes the relationship of food to the people of the city.  It's not about the food itself, New Orleanians love food because of the care it is prepared with and the people it is shared with.  I love sharing these meals with the people I care about.

What is your favorite dessert?
    My sister is a pastry chef at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse in New Orleans.  Everything she makes is my next favorite dessert.  I love her coconut cake, and I love her strawberry shortcakes (out of this world!!!).  But I think my favorite is her signature dessert - red velvet cake truffles.  These are bites of heaven.  The center is a soft, gooey red velvet cake blend coated in cream cheese frosting and covered in hard chocolate.  Mmmmm!!!  


What is your favorite color?
    PINK!!!  Without a doubt - in any and every shade!  When I was a little girl, I would say I wanted a pink house with purple insides and a purple car with pink insides.  Then I became a Delta Gamma where my favorite color combo became bronze, PINK, and blue.  

If you could trade lives with any celebrity who would it be?
    No questions asked Lea Michele from Glee.  Where did this girl come from?  She is on the brink of complete stardom, and unlike the reality tv stars that have taken over People magazine, she's actually talented.  I would give anything to be able to hit just one note that she can hit.  I would want to be in the Broadway version of Chicago as Roxy Hart.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
    It would be in an antebellum mansion on St. Charles Avenue on the parade side of the parade route.  I would throw the most spectacular parties every Mardi Gras and you'd all be invited.  And since I'm playing this game, I'm imagining I have all the money in the world, so I would also have a condo overlooking Central Park!!

If you could listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
    Great question!!  I thought I could listen to the Ying Yang Twins Halftime for the rest of my life during the Saints season because it brought such awesome memories of the games, but then we got home for Mardi Gras and we actually did hear it every five seconds, and wow, it got old.  I think I could listen to Better than Ezra's This Time of Year forever!  I love this song!!!!  It brings back such great memories.  

What's your favorite thing to do when you come home?
    Other than see family and friends, I would have to say walk down Royal Street in the Quarter or Magazine Street Uptown.  I love browsing through all of the little shops and boutiques.  

A New Orleans Weekend

What time of year do you recommend visiting New Orleans and what would we do if we had a weekend together there?
    There is no better time to visit than Jazzfest.  You get to see the city in its best light at the fest - through culture, music, and food.  So we'd spend Friday at Jazzfest snacking on all of the best foods the city has to offer.  Friday night we'd get BBQ Shrimp at Mr. B's and go to Pat O's and finish the night with some late night dance partying at the greatest bar in the world - The Gold Mine.  Saturday we'd get po-boys at Parkway Bakery and head Uptown for some shopping along Magazine Street.  We'd get drinks at The Swizzle Stick Bar and have dinner at Cochon.  Then we'd head to the Marigny to listen to some live jazz at DBA.  Sunday morning we'd walk through the Quarter, maybe take a a carriage ride, and then go to Commander's for their jazz brunch.  We could walk off brunch by heading to St. Charles Ave to meet the streetcar line where we could take a ride up and down the Avenue.  Sunday we could have a low key dinner at Luke and head to bed a bit early.  Monday before you hopped on your plane, we'd stop at Cafe du Monde for coffee and donuts (cafe au lait and beignets).  Sounds fun right!

If you are planning a trip to NOLA any time soon, email me and I can help you put together a nice little itinerary!

I hope you enjoyed this crazy long post (I'm long winded if you haven't noticed).  I'll be posting the answers to the questions about how I met Mark on April 1st - the tenth anniversary of our first date!!!  Keep your questions coming in the mean time!!


  1. Other than your parade, what is your favorite Mardi Gras Parade?

    What were/are your favorite catches?

  2. Okay I am most def visting New Orleans! Perhaps you may find yourself meeting me for brunch on my travels when the time comes?! How fun would that be??!!
    Great post!

  3. ok- fun answers! Many of them are familiar to me (like the walking along royal & magazine streets, BTE's "this time of year, etc!) Same here!

    Ok, so you're from Lakeview- which means you probably went to school around there too.....

    I'm curious about what year your graduated, what HS you went to (i'm guessing MCA, but I could be wrong, as there a bunch of schools to choose from) and I'm curious if we know any of the same people!!! (you may be significantly younger than me, but I'm not sure)

  4. Love all of your answers and wish I could be moving to New Orleans in the fall too. My favorite meal is breakfast at Brennan's. New Orleans has the best food and good time feel of any city in the states.

  5. Oh I am just dying over this post. Love getting to know you through these Q&A's!

    My parents met @ Loyola and many of my family members went to college there too. Awesome school.

    LOVE all your restaurant/bar picks!

    Halftime song = awesome. STAND UP AND GET CRUNK!

    AND OMG You are going to be *fingers crossed* living DOWNTOWN??!! Can I move in with you PLEASE?!?!?!! XOXOXOXOOX

    Love you girly!

  6. I always said NOLA was one place in the US I never cared to visit, but after your reading your blog you've changed my mind. And after reading about your weekend in NO, you make me want to go there next week! Maybe we'll come for a visit once you and Mark are back there.

  7. I so enjoyed the crazy long post! LOL! Your blog is so great. I really enjoy reading it each week! Keep up the good work!XOXO

  8. Oh how this post makes me miss Louisiana! I am counting down the days until my son graduates from Tulane so I can make my next trip down there!

  9. Love your answers :) And when you all go back to NO I will be visiting :) Never been, but its on to do list.

  10. What a super fun post lady! I've been dying to go back to visit New Orleans. I was only there for a very short time once and fell in love!

  11. Jen, this is my favorite post so far. A) Don't leave us! B) I'm thankful for this blog because people really should know NOLA through your eyes. When I traveled there with you it was one of the best trips of my life...many memories made. Love you.

  12. Love this post! Growing up in south Alabama, visiting New Orleans was something we always enjoyed! I call the city my "second home" as I also spent 2-3 nights a week there for over 2 years ("work"). I knew I was in big trouble when the owner of The Gumbo Shoppe in the quarter started to recognize me......HAHA. Really enjoy your blog! :-) XOXO

  13. It was great getting to know you a little better!

    You make me want to visit NOLA. Maybe when you & Mark are back there & settled in, I can come visit & get Alissa to come, too. :)

  14. Well, I am looking forward to having yall all visit us in New Orleans! I love being a hostess, so seriously start your travel planning ladies! Just think of all the fun we'll have!

  15. Oh, I can't wait to come visit you! Your life will be so much more exciting than my life in the country...

  16. Great post Jen!! I am so glad I've reserved my first trip to NOLA for when you are back........counting down the days!!



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