St. Patrick's Day isn't only for the Irish, and Fat Tuesday on March 4th is a celebration that has become similarly universal. Plenty of non-pious people embrace the joie de vivre and laissez les bons temps roulez and restaurants are no exception. Many are getting into the celebratory spirit and making traditional Cajun dishes, pouring Louisiana beers, and keeping the parties going so revelers and diners alike can get a taste of the New Orleans. Just don't indulge too much — gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins.
What's a Mardi Gras celebration without a fais do-do (that's a block party). Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington is hosting its Third Annual Bayou Gras Block Party on Tuesday. Chef David Guas is bringing his New Orleans roots to the region and will be making gumbo, king cake, and muffalettas. Expect Guas's king cakes to be solid (he just did a demo on The Today Show). Abita Beer, Louisiana's homegrown brew, will be on draft on five taps. And since Bayou Bakery is a block from Clarendon's Mardi Gras parade route, partygoers can have the best of both worlds well into the evening.
Of course DC's Cajun restaurant Acadiana will be going nuts for Mardi Gras. Its all-you-can-eat-and-drink party on Tuesday will be from 6-10pm, and the cooks are cooking up the classics. That means boudin balls, frog legs, oysters, etouffee, crawfish, shrimp and grits, and the like will available to guests. For the sweet tooth, there are traditional beignets, pralines, and other southern desserts. Tickets for the Mardi Gras event are $100.
On 14th Street, it can seem like Mardi Gras on a normal weekend. But Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack are making it a bit more authentic this weekend. Downstairs in Pearl Dive, Pastry Chef Carri-Anne Hamer is baking traditional 11" king cakes for $30. Don't eat the baby because that little guy will get 5 lucky winners a $25 gift certificate at Pearl Dive. And upstairs, Black Jack is doing an Abita Tap Takeover with Hurricanes and Sazeracs also included in the drink specials.
Chinatown isn't waiting until Tuesday to start the party. This Saturday, six bars —RFD, Iron Horse Taproom, Penn Social, Cuba Libre, Redline, and Penn Quarter Sports Tavern — are teaming up to make a Mardi Gras bar crawl for the DC Mardi Gras Party. There will be drink specials at the bars for the 500 participants with proceeds going towards Stand Up for Kids DC and the Washington Humane Society. The party starts at noon at RFD.
Adams Morgan's Mintwood Place will embrace its French origins with a Mardi Gras celebration on Tuesday. With a live band playing and a New Orleans-inspired menu that will have faux turtle soup, classic jambalaya, and pecan pie, Mintwood is going to make sure the good times do indeed roll.
And for those looking just for a taste of Mardi Gras, Columbia Heights's Room 11 and Penn Quarter's Menu MBK are selling king cakes to those who want Cajun desserts to take home. Room 11 will have chocolate coconut and brown sugar cinnamon pecan king cake flavors. Menu MBK is making it miniature with individual ones priced at $4.50 so eaters can indulge without going overboard. And vegans will not be left behind on Fat Tuesday because Sticky Fingers is making made-to-order beignets as well as king cakes. The king cakes are $12.50 and are made to order by calling the bakery (202-299-9700) and getting it from the store.
Now to really take Mardi Gras to the next level, D.C. needs something like the Food Drunk's King Cake Cheeseburger. Why just have the Mardi Gras sweet, when eaters can have the Cajun savory too? Some of these king cake creations — muffuletta and crawfish — may be taking it too far.
· Food Drunk's King Cake Burger Is Winning Mardi Gras [-ENO-]
· This Horrifying King Cake Will Give You Nightmares [-ENO-]