Carnival Food Favorites
I’ve always found that eating around Mardi Gras parades, parties and events is a big part of the fun. The better the food, the better the experience. It’s very simple. On the parade routes, BBQ is often king. Cooking your own ribs and meats on the parade route is super cool, and a great BBQ experience. Preparing your food before going out on the parade route is the best way to guarantee a superior result.
If you start your fire early enough, you can cook meals that take hours to cook, including ribs, brisket, etc. Slow cooking is a required part of better BBQ and grilling at the Mardi Gras.
Other folks prefer premier deli meats and cheeses, plus gourmet breads and condiments for a fantastic sandwich. I used to go to Martin’s Wine Cellar after they built a deli and buy a few pounds of their wonderful roast beef and roast turkey, etc. We made high grade Fat Tuesday grade sandwiches for years for our friends and guests.
Ate few of just OK sandwiches, chips and powdered donuts at the Krewe’s of Underwear pre parade party last night. The krewe gets to start drinking here, but the refs don’t as a rule. That was the worst food of the day, and it wasn’t that bad. After the parade at the ball site we found some food and the lines were short. There is free krewe food brought by the each of the 17 individual sub krewes and free beer. Each truck specializes in something different so the choices abound. The eating was a highlight of the night as we were quite hungry by the time the 2.5 miles parade ends after 3 hours of marching and lots of dancing. I generally bring my own booze to the party, so I stay away from bar lines, but I chose not to drink at all this year. I still enjoyed the crap out of the evening.
We paid $9 for three freshly made beef tacos we got from a taco truck parked across the Civic Auditorium where the parade ended and the ball took place. They were scrumptious to say the least. We were starving. There were other food trucks parked in the same parking lot, so choices abounded.
Chicken Fried Catfish Plate
King Cakes are the dessert of Carnival New Orleans and they are often served on Fat Tuesday. There are a lot of king cakes out there- every bakery and grocery within a 100 miles sell them successfully. I have a couple of favorites, everyone who eats them does. Gracious Bakery stands out in my mind. Though they certainly aren’t King Cakes, I have Brocato’s cannolis in my fridge right now and will resupply throughout the season. That’s the best of the best of the commercial desserts out there.
So eat well during the Carnival season, and especially well on the big day, Fat Tuesday, February 28 2017. We wll. Happy Mardi Gras to the world!!
It’s my 30+ anniversary of my first NOLA Mardi Gras, I’ve been here since 1975. Turns out I love Mardi Gras more now than I ever did, and that’s because it’s more fun than ever! There are way more private events, night spots, affordable krewes, and scheduled events than ever before. There are an amazing assortment of neighborhood Mardi Gras celebrations that leave the parades alone and are very genuine in their own right.
Cheaper original krewes lead the way in making Mardi Gras more affordable to the masses. Many krewes have their own ideas as to throws, floats, and music. There’s more variety to the throws than ever before. The leader in innovative throws is the all female krewe of Muses. Krewe of Chewbacchus leads the way in affordable krewe fees.
There are more music clubs than ever, with alternative rock, brass band, rock, R&B, Funk, Soul, etc. enjoying a live music club renaissance on a level I haven’t seen in 30+ years. Many of these newer and some older clubs lack a music license, meaning no cover charge, and the band gets paid via tip jar plus 20% of the bar. When the club does around a thousand patrons or so, the band can make real bucks this way.
Facebook and other social networking sites make it easier to keep in touch with friends from high school through retirement, making the party that much richer and fun.
Add the exotic foods, and you have a grand slam of fun. King Cakes lead the way in Mardi Gras foods. I’ve had sushi, BBQ, Popeyes, lots of Martin’s Wine Cellar roast beef, rotisserie smoked turkey breast, etc. sandwiches. I’ve grilled fish, oysters, steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, shrimps, and lots of vegetables. All on Fat Tuesday. Desserts like Decadent Chocolate Cake, Mandel Brot, pies, cookies, loafs, etc.
LSU didn’t show up for their game, a real shame, but that’s the way the football bounces. We are left with our record setting New Orleans Saints, now heading to San Francisco, California to face the 49ers for round 2 Saturday, January 14 @ 3:30 pm CST. Hopefully, both teams will show up and our Saints will win!!
King cake season is upon us and you can buy a decent king cake around the metro area at every grocery, bakery, and most pharmacies and convenience stores. There are plenty of personal and cupcake size king cakes available.
I’ve been in touch with my Krewe du Vieux, on krewe matters most important, since we roll February 4th. I sure love being part of a bigger part of Mardi Gras than just my extremely popular Mardi Gras Blog.
It’s still possible to reinvent the wheel when it comes to Mardi Gras parades. It’s not easy, but it can be done. When parading down St. Charles avenue, convention rules, since the New Orleans City Council creates the rules for major parades. If you want to parade and do your own thing, that’s more than possible though it’s a ton of work; hence Krewe du Vieux, ‘tit REX, Krewe of St. Anne, Krewe of Chewbaccus, etc. Most of these are in the Bywater, 7th ward, or Marigny. Most roll on Fat Tuesday, and most are really fabulous. Kolossos is headquartered in and will march in Marigny and Bywater.
The spanking new Krewe of Kolossos is seeking to “create a new breed of parade,” utilizing tradition while drawing on ideas of environmental sustainability and reuse, art director Steven Donnelly said.
The idea for the krewe came from a partnership with grand marshal-elect Karina Nathan, the artist a.k.a. Katrina Brees. Donnelly’s drum cart creation, a mobile performance art drum show and Nathan’s Bearded Oysters, an all female marching and social group. Both share a love of a good party, and Kolossos was formed with this in mind.
The krewe has around 200 members. While the membership is open, the majority of members are artists, including sculptors, costumiers, performance artists, etc.
‘Tit Rex changed its name to ‘Tit Rəx, inverting their ‘e’. What is ‘tit Rəx? The World’s First Mardi Gras Microkrewe, Social Aid & Pleasure Club…. and Live Miniature Parade. ‘Tit stands for Petite Rəx, since they have all miniature floats and throws.
The reason for the name change was continued interference from the mighty King of Carnival, the School of Design’s Krewe of REX. Somehow, someway, in REX’s infinite wisdom, they consider ‘tit Rəx to be an infringement of their REX copyright. I think they are mixing apples and oranges. REX offered them a ten year deal for $5.00/year, but ‘tit Rəx rejected the deal because of potentially restrictive clauses about the size and nature of the ‘tit Rəx parade.
They march on Poland Avenue at 5:30 pm on February 11. 2012 theme- Napoleon Avenue Complex. Rex parades on Fat Tuesday, February 21 at 10 am on the uptown route, starting from their dens on Claiborne Avenue at 2nd Street.
The local newspaper has run a little king cake contest this week, and three of the five ‘winners’ have the same last name!
Randazzo, Randazzo, Randazzo, Haydel’s and Sucre made the cut when the votes were tallied. This creates the impression the contest is sponsored by Randazzo’s. I doubt it was, but the impression is real.
In a former Mardi Gras life, I wrote a series of columns ranking king cakes in the New Orleans metro area. I bought a lot of king cakes in those days, as I saw many Metairie, West Bank and New Orleans East parades back then and picked up the cakes while I was there.
Was it a legitimate ranking? Probably not, but I bought each cake I talked about. Less stores sold them in those days, and McKenzie’s was the 600 pound king cake gorilla. They had the first filled king cakes for sale. Back then, the supermarkets and pharmacies and convenience stores didn’t sell king cakes. Only bakeries had them.
Back to the TP’s contest. All the Randazzo locations seem different, though some claim online that their recipe is the family’s. They have their own web sites and Face Book pages. There’s Randazzo’s Camellia City in Slidell, Manny Randazzo King Cakes in Metairie, and Nonna Randazzo Bakeries in Chalmette and Covington.
I had trouble finding any price for a picked up king cake at any of the Randazzo’s web sites. All included shipping that I could find.
To the contest’s credit, five other reader nominated bakeries in the poll were listed as ‘wildcard’ choices. They received at least 300 votes each. These wonderful bakers are Dianne’s King Cakes in Harahan, Gambino’s Bakery in Gretna and Metairie, La Dolce Nola, Metairie, Rouse’s Supermarkets all over town, and Tastee Donuts‘ McKenzie’s around town.
King cakes are HUGE in New Orleans. From January 6 until Mardi Gras Day, February 21, 2012- All this time is king cake time!! NOLA King cakes feature more sugar than most.
Historically, king cakes have been around Europe for centuries before New Orleans was settled. We had plain king cakes for a long long time in NOLA. Then McKenzie’s Bakeries started filling their king cakes, and charged like $9.95 for a medium filled one. This was back in late 1970s as I recall.
Pretty soon, filled king cakes had created a whole new king cake economic model, based on a more expensive king cake. Then the mail order model was created, and hundreds of thousands of king cakes are shipped worldwide. Haydel’s sells 60,000 king cakes, and that’s how they survive as a top bakery in 2012.
Who makes the best filled and unfilled king cakes in the NOLA metro area? There are a lot of entrants, since the shipping/local markets have exploded over the last three decades.
http://bit.ly/emh7cl is a King Cakes of the World article I found while researching this post. The blog is entitled- A Malaysian in France.
In the Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. This is known as the Feast of the Epiphany or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night. This is a time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. Today, the tradition continues as people all over the world gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. A popular custom was and still is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings called a King’s Cake. In these early cakes, a pea, coin or bean was hidden inside the cake. Now, King Cakes contain a tiny plastic ‘baby’. The person whose piece contains the baby has to throw the next King Cake party. King Cake parties are enjoyed by the young and old all over the region and the world via the internet.
World’s simplest cheese cake!!
I came up with this recipe as an undergraduate at Cornell University, and gave it to my roommate, Kenny R. I then proceeded to lose the recipe, only to get it back from Kenny years later. Since then, I’ve made this delicious, creamy cheese cake for numerous Mardi Gras events, and it never fails to get eaten!
19 oz cream cheese
1 c sugar
3 eggs, added 1 at a time
1 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla
Pour into a 9″ graham cracker crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, let cool and ENJOY!!
David Eyre’s Pancake!!
A favorite recipe of my family for dozens of years, got this from a friend from Cornell. YUM!! We generally double the recipe.
1/2 c flour
1/2 c milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
large pinch nutmeg
4 T butter
2 T confectioners suger
juice from 1/2 lemon or lime
Mix flour, milk, eggs, & nutmeg. Beat lightly, leaving a few lumps. Melt butter in 12″ skillet with heatproof handle. Pour batter into skillet in 425 oven. Cook 15 minutes (or less) until pancake is golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and lemon juice and serve.