Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time For Carnaval & Mardi Gras Madness


Don't you just love how Fat Tuesday and Carnaval fall on the same day this year?! For the best in indulgence, check out one—or two or three—of these sweet events happening on Feb. 21 and beyond:

25 Degrees: Just in time for the occasion, the River North burger bar's created The Nola, a spiked shake made with Southern Comfort whiskey, praline liqueur, butter pecan ice cream, and toasted pecans. It's on the regular menu. Damn.

Big Jones: Grab a large group of friends and head to this New Orleans-inspired resto for a throwback menu from The Big Easy. A Cajun Country Ramble (circa 1955) features crawfish and pork boudin balls, cracklins and cornbread, creamy potato salad, Arkansas Delta rice with butter, and Sunday file gumbo of chicken, sausage, ham, catfish, crawfish, and crab. Of course, you'll get King Cake and tac-tac. Seriously insane. $25 per person; served family style. Menu available through Feb. 26.

Brownstone: Those with big appetites should head to Northcenter for an all-you-can-eat Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil in honor of Fat Tuesday. From 7-10pm, guests indulge in crawfish, plus gumbo, cornbread, and red beans and rice. That's $25 a person.

Frontier: Through Feb. 21, chef Brian Jupiter—who's a New Orleans native—whips up signature dishes from his hometown. Look for deals on crawfish and fried oyster Po'Boys, duck and seafood gumbo, as well as $35 Hurricane punch bowls.

Park 52: One of Hyde Park's sexiest spots gets in on the action with its annual Mardi Gras celebration. Chow down on Creole pasta, blackened catfish and gumbo. $5 Hurricanes, too!

Shaw’s Crab House: You get five days of celebration at this venerable seafood spot that runs Feb. 17-21. Indulge in blackened redfish with crawfish sauce, crawfish Po'Boys, jambalaya, and more. And, on Fat Tuesday, you'll get half-off on all oyster orders in the boisterous Oyster Bar.

Texas de Brazil: And Texas de Brazil's in a Carnaval state of mind with its first-ever Caipirinha mixology competition featuring some of the city's top mixologists. Yours Truly (!!!) serves as emcee for an event pitting Josh Pearson (Sepia), Pete Gugni (The Bedford), and Benjamin Newby (Underground) against one another. The party starts at 6pm Feb. 21, and includes appetizers and cocktails from the competing bartenders. Proceeds from the event benefit the winner's favorite charity. $30; get the tickets right here.

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