grilled oysters and fish

grilled oysters and fish

We call it a fish fry, but I guess BBQ is really more accurate. We made so much food. And we still have a lot left. Way too many veggies, still some oysters, two bags of red fish. So seriously, who’s coming over? Some one has to help us eat all this food. We’re just lying around watching cheesy movies and relaxing. Its a pretty nice Sunday for a visit…

the best jambalaya ever

the best jambalaya ever

We made a double batch of jambalaya this time, and we still don’t have very much left. It is so good. We’ve got leftover veggies and potatoes too. I’m going to have the best lunches this week.

the shucking assembly line

I can’t believe how many oysters we got. (Have I mentioned how much I love Ippolitos?) The boys had a nice assembly line going, shucking away. I don’t think anyone got hurt, at least I hope not! We only have one real shucking knife, and one pair of gloves, but they seemed to do a good job even without being fully outfitted.

I already can’t wait for our pizza party. Hopefully some of the people who couldn’t make it out last night can come to that event. Mmmm… just posting this had made me hungry. We even bought turkey dogs and ground beef for the BBQ. Never even got into it. So much food….

Also, one of Chris’ friends is moving to the neighborhood, and she also wants to learn how to hoop. We talked about getting together and practicing… I’m excited to have a beginning hooper buddy. I’m pretty shy about doing it by myself, but all the other hoopers I know are super talented, so I feel all elbows. Can’t wait to meet up with her and hoop!

head-on LA shrimpers

The PEX life

The temple burn. Or effigy... still not sure which it was

Oh PEX. It’s that time again- hot sticky summer, which means time for the PEX summer fest! Time to hang out at a campsite in Maryland, trying to stay as cool as possible during the day and wandering around watching the sites at night. The big change this year was that we made a great tent-town shade structure. Three tents, joined by a shade canopy, with cloth draperies tied to the walls for extra shade coverage. It made definitely made the daytime much more bearable. I don’t know how these people do it. The music is 24-7, and people are always out there dancing. I can’t keep that pace. I like wandering around at night, finding the interesting art exhibits. This group is all about LED lights and fire, so there is some pretty cool stuff. My favorite was a “24-7 rainbow” that was a big wooden packing crate, painted black on the inside with tons of little prisms hanging in perfectly cut holes and a spotlight aimed through them. (I tried to take a picture, but my camera is pretty bad in low-light.) Frank’s Kitchens put together a whole bunch of fire installations, including a huge propane tank fire jet thing…. I don’t know what to call it exactly, but its in the video at the bottom of this post. I remember there being more spontaneous fire spinning last year, perhaps I just wasn’t looking in the right places. There was more aerial dance this time- they moved the big forklift around the campsite and set up at various points in the night. That one was easy to spot though- the contraption is huge.

RRVS sign by Xtina

This was my second year at PEX. I go to perform in the fire show that Jexi (of Iconic Fire) and her collaborators put on. This year the show was called the Russian Roulette Variety show, and consisted of 5 acts- a piece by HulaGraphix (fire hoop and programmable LED hoop), a burlesque number by The Penny Treats, partner poi, fire-breathing and fan solo by Iconic Fire, contact meteor by Jerome Dmenza and Lux Arti’s bellydance/fan piece. I think it went over well. The audience seemed to enjoy it anyway. The whole thing felt like it was over before it started, quite a blur. Can’t wait to see photos and video of it. I wanted to get some shots of the other acts, particularly the awesome contact-meteor spinner Jerome, but since I had my fire fingers on, I couldn’t really work a camera. Those things are a pain in the neck to do anything except dance with. Hope they looked good at least!

Michelle had what has to be the best birthday party I’ve ever been to last night. It was a trifecta of birthdays- Michelle, her roommate, and a friend of theirs from highschool. The big 3-0…. what better time to get a bunch of awesome people together and throw the best bash ever? She hosted it in the courtyard outside of her warehouse space. A borrowed stage, lots of strategically placed lights, a giant grill (made by Tim) created out of a steel barrel, food, booze, cake- really everything you could ever want.
Performances started at 9, and included a band, a burlesque show, two tribal troupes (one being me, Jes and Michelle, the other was Hipnosis), a hooper and three vignettes by the awesome Archedream. Then the DJ took over, and the fire spinners came out. The lovely ladies from Scorch and their fire-friends came and left the crowd to pick up their jaws… great performances. These two guys are my favorite fire breathers. I saw them at PEX, and that spiraling-up-passing-fire-along act is phenomenal.
Once again, I didn’t take any photos myself. I really need to figure out a good way to carry a camera at these events. Tribal gear just doesn’t leave many options for camera cases. I’ll have to get something though- I wish I had gotten a shot or two of archedream. Guess I’ll just have to find another awesome party to go to and get some shots!

Jon's mastery at work

Its been a while since we’ve had a real party at our house. We’ve been waiting for cold weather to have another pizza party, because having the oven on all night gets the kitchen really hot, so we end up opening all the windows. I was a little less organized with the invites this time… I forgot to invite a few people (sorry!), but the folks who came were a great group. Turned out to be quite a cross-section of friends, and seemed like everyone got along.

toppings!

We had so many toppings! Our kitchen is fair-sized, but gets crowded pretty quickly. We started out pretty organized. One area for making the pizza shape on a cutting board, one area for toppings. Of course by the end of the night, pizza making was happening all over the kitchen… but the initial organization helped out.

We bought toppings, as did many of the guests…. lots of veggies, various kinds of meats, pineapple, cheeses… I think one of the best ones was a mushroom paté that Jon made. I like the taste of mushrooms, but not the texture. The paté was awesome because it was all flavor and none of the rubbery texture. (I’m calling it a paté because I don’t remember what he called it. I think mushroom reduction is really more accurate.)

mmm... pizza

Jen and Andrew brought an extra stone this time, which was great. Last time we used cookie sheets, and they don’t have quite the same crispy effect on the crust. We made 8 times the recipe again, the pizza bianca recipe from “The Easy Way to Artisan Breads & Pastries.” I’m not sure if we had less people than before, but we definitely have more dough left over this time.

I had intended to take more photos of the party, but I mostly got shots of the pizza instead of the people. We ended the night with some games. I finally got to play apples to apples, and we played an abbreviated game of Outburst.

It was a good night.

Well, quite a full weekend.

DMV, impromptu BBQ, wedding, shopping, knitting, work on my tribal costume, a life-sized felt whale…. I love having a nice Monday off.

One of the highlights from the weekend that I don’t have photos of  was swinging by the Fabric Workshop and Museum to check out the giant felt whale. Its amazing. A huge life-sized whale made out of industrial felt…. apparently they’re working on a felt cave. I can’t wait. I highly recommend checking it out.

shrimp from Ippolitos

shrimp from Ippolito's

Its that time of year again, when Chris comes back from Louisiana with a cooler full of fish. We’d never be able to get through it all by ourselves, so we had a bunch of friends over to help us out. Of course, we always end up with too much food, but that’s never a bad thing. The menu this year: jambalaya (my favorite), grilled fish, grilled corn, bread with Gorgonzola and anchovies, and grilled shrimp (with their heads!). We had also planned to make burgers, grilled veggies, and turkey dogs, but we never made it that far. (Another call is going out today… come one, come all and help us use up our leftovers!!)

Ugly Ugly Ugly!

Ugly Ugly Ugly!

The other team won.

The other team won.

As bellies got fuller and the coals died down, the games came out. First a hearty round of the Ugly Doll game. Its meant for little kids, and I only bought it because I think the dolls are cute, but I think it must be one of the best liked games we have. Very simple in concept, everyone sits around the cards and takes turn flipping them, slapping the cards when three of a kind are revealed. It gets riotous, ridiculous and real fun. Some Tumba next, which never lasts too long and finished off with a good game of Outburst, a copy from 1988. I haven’t played a modern release, so I don’t know if its so bizarre because its dated or if that’s just the way the game is. One of the cards (things you put on your face) actually reprimanded people for soap. The card read “soap (shame, shame).”

The best thing about fish fries- using the leftovers to make breakfast in the morning….mmmmmmmmm

(*update*)

yum.

redfish and tomatoes from the garden

i love my apron

i love my apron

I didn’t get very good pictures of the actual grilling from the fish fry, but here are some from the next day. Chris and I had an amazing and relaxing dinner. I always forget how great it can be to fire up the grill when cooking for two.

so good.

so good. Best zucchini ever.

Its hard to describe just how fun L. and K’s wedding weekend was. Exhaustingly fantastic. I’ve never seen so many people dancing at a wedding! All generations were out there having a blast. Of course L. looked gorgeous, both at the Sangeet and in her sari and her wedding dress at the ceremony.

decked out in a sari and kurta pajamas

decked out in a sari and kurta pajamas

The Sangeet was a big party on Saturday night. Two of the Auties helped wrap us Westerners in our saris. We were pinned everywhere. I still can’t quite believe that its possible to wrap yourself up nearly as nicely as they did. Its definitely a skill.  Everyone was super nice, both families very welcoming. I was incredibly impressed with how open everyone was to learn about the other culture.  There were great performances, fantastic food, and then a whole bunch of dancing. K’s cousin came out with a dhol (double-sided, barrel-shaped North Indian drum, played with wooden sticks) and played along with the Bhangra music (he’s in a band based out of NYC, I think, called Red Baraat). They tried to teach everyone a traditional dance with sticks, where you hit the sticks of your partner, switch partners, in 7 or 12 beats. It is relatively simple, but with so many people got very confusing, which I think is part of the fun.

The wedding started out with the Hindu ceremony, a cocktail hour, then Jewish ceremony. It was interesting how similar both ceremonies were- both took place under a tent, a huppa in the Jewish one, mandap for the Hindu. They both have variations of seven circles that the bride and groom walk together, with similar symbolism- health, happiness etc.

The reception was fantastic, too. Great food, and more amazing dancing. Amusing to see all the white kids up there dancing to the Bhangra- but it seemed like everyone had a great time.  I didn’t take too many photos, because my camera is rather terrible in low-light, and honestly, I was too busy having fun!