Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Let the Good Times Roll: Mardi Gras in DC
Mardi Gras is quite the foodie holiday, bringing wanton gluttony to the winter doldrums. But unlike Thanksgiving, with its bounteous food, or St. Patrick's, with its free flowing libations, New Orleans-style Carnival celebrations can last several days, and hold claim to both good food and drink.
DC offers some surprisingly authentic Mardi Gras options. Below are the details on two of my past favorites as well as a new one this year. And where will I be spending the evening you ask? -- at a work training in Cleveland! And not only in Cleveland, but out by the airport, so while the good times may be limited for me, Tuesday, March 8th should be a great time if you find yourself in the DC area.
In DC, Central's annual celebration runs from 5 - 10:30pm and includes live music from Laissez Foure, traditional New Orleans inspired food and cocktails (both areas where Central excels), and of course, beads and trinkets.
Over the bridge in Arlington, the local parade starts rolling at 8pm, bringing a tinge of the feeling you get when watching the parades roll by in the Big Easy ... less the open containers of course. But the area around Wilson Boulevard has plenty of opportunities for both pre- and post-parade libations.
Ragtime is always a festive choice for Mardi Gras, with hurricane and cyclone specials and plenty of Cajun fare backed by live New Orleans style jazz from Le Bon Tempes Krewe.
Bayou Bakery is new to the mix this year but might well prove the most authentic for Mardi Gras food and drink with Louisiana native David Gaus serving up $7 "Chew Dat" specials (gumbo, jambalaya), as well as beignets and king cake from 5 - 10:30pm. Wash it all down with Abita Amber available on tap.
Outside of New Orleans, DC is a pretty good place to be for Fat Tuesday. Sigh... if anyone knows of celebrations in Cleveland, please let me know!