Mardi Gras 2011 – Laissez les bons temps roulez!

Mardi Gras falls a bit late this year – March 8 to be exact – but it will be no less fun than usual. I especially love Mardi Gras because it’s a great time to dust off traditional recipes and serve the most familiar fare of one of my most beloved cities. Please visit New Orleans during the season (or after) if you can – it is as wonderous a city as ever, and the eating is better than ever. From March 4-8, we’ll be offering some goodies for the Chicago-bound.

“Calas belles, calas tout chauds!” This is our third year participating in the calas revival. In an interesting twist this year, we will be frying the calas in duck fat for extra rich flavor. There’s also a fantastic new book out by Jessica Harris giving some background on Calas among many other African contributions to American cooking. I prefer calas to beignets any day, so please give them a try. The texture is like elephant ears or funnel cakes, but with the tang of wild yeast and the toothsome bite of boiled rice. A truly majestic doughnut, one of the best the world has to offer.

I do believe that a Peacemaker is the best way to enjoy fried oysters, and one of the best ways to enjoy fried seafood, period. Lore has it that the sandwich got its name because revelers (other stories say it was workers working late) who stayed out partying a bit too late would bring one home as a peace offering to their spouse. It must have worked, because the name stuck.

Mardi Gras Specials

Friday, March 4 through Fat Tuesday, March 8

Regular menu available

Oysters on the Half Shell Appaclachicola Bay oysters, Louisiana choupique caviar, yuzu mignonette, chervil   $6/$12

Peacemaker A dozen select oysters fried crisp, on a New Orleans French loaf with remoulade slaw and pickles, served with pork fat potato chips   15

Roast Beef Po’ Boy dressed, with debris gravy and pork fat potato chips   15

Muffuletta home made sesame bread filled with salami, house tasso, provolone, and olive salad, served with pork fat potato chips   15

Shrimp & Oyster Gumbo brimming with seafood, andouille, and okra, served with popcorn rice   19

Crawfish Etouffee Louisiana crawfish with trinity, lots of butter, and popcorn rice   23

Jambalaya Chicken, sausage, ham, and vegetables steamed with rice and lots of spice   15

Red Beans and Rice pickled pork shank, ham, and sausage, served with voodoo greens and popcorn rice   12

Calas sweet duck fat fried wild-yeast rice fritters, dusted with powdered sugar   7

King Cake Sweet yeast cake filled with pecan butter and brown sugar    5

Stay tuned for bar specials. I know I’ll be drinking peach daiquiris!