On the heels of a first time ever Super Bowl win for my beloved city of New Orleans, comes Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Lent. No one celebrates this time of year like Nola, but we try in our own little way here. At least there's some local outlets for wistfully wishing I was there...
February 15-19: Fat Tuesday at the Front Porch
Outer Mission's Front Porch always knows how to throw a good party, and Fat Tuesday will be no exception. I can't think of a better way to usher in Mardi Gras than with a front porch crab boil. Don't forget to eat plenty of their jambalaya, drink Abita beer, and don those beads. Even better, if you can't make it Tuesday, they're doing the boil and French Quarter menu specials all week long, starting Monday.
5:30pm until close
65a 29th Street
Mint Julep at Pican. Photo by Virginia Miller
February 16: Fat Tuesday at Pican - Oakland's Mardi Gras "It" Party
Bring your masks for a Mardi Gras feat at Pican, a restaurant that keeps Southern spirit swinging throughout the year. There's live bands and all that fine bourbon on Pican's shelf. Fill up on Louisiana crawfish etouffe, chicken and andouille gumbo, red beans and rice, grilled boudin sausage, and Pican's ever-popular smoked ribs and buttermilk fried chicken wings. Ash Wednesday will come tomorrow, but tonight, it's Fat Tuesday!
Advance tickets $60; $75 at the door
2295 Broadway, Oakland
February 12-16: Miss Pearl's Jam House Mardi Gras Festival
Miss Pearl's Jam House throws down in Jack London Square with its first Mardi Gras Festival. The week starts off with this Friday's Gumbo Jam kick-off (blues and gumbo, naturally). Pearl's new chef, Peter Jackson, cooked with one of my favorites (and one of New Orleans best chefs), John Besh. On Saturday, he launches Gumbostravaganza, a gumbo cook-off showcasing friendly gumbo competition among East Bay chefs from the likes of Picán and Henry's. Fat Tuesday is going to be a big one with $5 Hurricanes and $4 jello shots all day, plus beignets, King's Cake, a prize trip to New Orleans, and live zydeco music.
Free admission; check Web site for schedule
Miss Pearl's Jam House, One Broadway (at Jack London Square)