We’re nowhere close to New Orleans, but Portland certainly knows it’s time for Mardi Gras. The city’s big Mardi Gras Ball took over the Wonder Ballroom on Saturday, New Orleans bistro Acadia threw its Carnival Mystique on Sunday and King Cakes have been coming fresh out of ovens across town.

But Fat Tuesday itself still looms ahead of us, in all its purple, green and gold-colored glory. Portland is celebrating with food (of course), a parade and live music, but we also have cocktail and food recipes for that Mardi Gras party of your own.

Lundi Gras Beer Dinner

Lundi Gras (French for “Fat Monday”) is a relatively new celebration of Shrove Monday, the day before Mardi Gras proper on Fat Tuesday. Tapalaya and Breakside Brewing are celebrating with a Lundi Gras Beer Dinner, which will pair ten traditional Cajun and creole specialties with “generous pours” of five Breakside brews. Steve Cheseborough will provide live music for the evening. Costumes are encouraged.

Monday, Feb. 16, from 6 to 9 p.m. @ Tapalaya; $55 (gratuity included)

Fat Tuesday Dinner

Every other day of the year Acadia is a simple New Orlean’s bistro in Portland, but come Mardi Gras the place goes all out to serve up a proper feast in honor of the Big Easy. Tuesday night’s a la carte dinner features a great assortment of small plates, like Yam Huspuppies, Crabmeat Yvonne and Buttermilk Cornbread, but save room for the big plates, which come out with Cajun Jambalaya, Crawfish Tails Étouffé and more.

Fat Tuesday Parade

The Mysti Krewe of Nimbus follows up its Saturday ball with a parade on Fat Tuesday itself. The procession starts at Ecliptic Brewing in north Portland, and winds its way up and back down N. Mississippi Ave. Members of the community, who are encouraged to wear masks, costumes and beads, are invited to join in the parade – even kids and pets are welcome.

After the procession winds down, there will be two Fat Tuesday parties in the Mississippi neighborhood – a performance by the Transcendental Brass Band at Bar Bar and the Too Loose Cajun Band at Mississippi Pizza.

Tuesday, Feb. 17, from 6:30 to 7 p.m. @ Ecliptic Brewing, up N. Mississippi; free

Zydeco Show

Duff’s Garage is hosting a solid showcase of local zydeco music, with a show featuring Bon Ton Roulet and the New Iberians – a $10 cover charge even comes with a free bowl of gumbo. Organizers encourage beads and festivity, but if you’re looking for a down-home, no-frills zydeco celebration, you’ll find it at Duff’s.

Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. @ Duff’s Garage; $10

Mardi Gras Cocktails

Cultural celebrations are great excuses to mix up what you drink, and boozy Mardi Gras is no different. Colin Powers has recipes for the classic Sazerac and Hurricane but also recommends the Vieux Carré, named after the French Quarter itself, which commonly blends rye whiskey, Cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters.

Absinthe made in Oregon

As absinthe regains legality and popularity in the U.S., New Orleans (of French heritage, of course) is jumping on board. Here in Portland you can find absinthe in just about any upscale joint, but you can also buy a bottle of Haint Absinthe, brewed by Forest Grove’s Dogwood Distilling – just make sure you use the proper glass and slotted spoon.

Muffaletta Pizza

New Orleans loves its muffaletta sandwiches, but what if muffaletta came in the form of a pizza? You can find out for yourself with this Muffalette Flatbread recipe, which takes the classic sandwich ingredients – roasted red peppers, capers, tasted walnuts and olives – and repurposes them to make a completely different dish. Hey, when you’re 2,500 miles from a proper muffaletta loaf, you just have to change up the game.

–Jamie Hale
[email protected]
503.294.4077
@HaleJamesB

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