Mardi Gras Eats aka Carnival Food Favorites!!0
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!!
2017 New Orleans Mardi Gras Forecast!!0
Saw this basket while in the Broad Street Whole Foods today.
It’s January 16, 2017, which means the it’s Carnival Time in New Orleans! The season officially begins on January 6, also known as Twelfth Night. My own krewe, Krewe du Vieux (KdV), rolls Saturday, February 11. I’m an escort for the Krewe of Underwear, one of the many sub krewes that make up KdV. Mardi Gras is fun for everyone, but rolling with a parade krewe is a big step up in fun.
Joan of Arc already rolled downtown, and was a small, floatless affair. Fun nonetheless.
Mardi Gras Day, aka Fat Tuesday, is rather late, February 28. That often means a warm Fat Tuesday. I love Fat Tuesday regardless of the weather but a warm day means a skimpy costume choice. Less is always more during Carnival time.
The original super-krewe, Bacchus,has chosen TV’s Person of Interest’s Jim Caviezel as Bacchus 2017. The parade’s theme is Salute to the Saints. Bacchus was formed in 1967 by restaurateur Owen Brennan as the first modern super krewe, because of it’s size, celebrity kings, and spectacular super floats.
Bacchus parades the Sunday before Fat Tuesday. The 2009 Krewe included more than 1,350 members, and its parade featured 33 floats including its signature floats: the Bacchasaurus, a giant dinosaur; the Bacchawhoppa, an equally large whale; Bacchagator, an enormous alligator; and Baccatality, a 3-float procession made up of restaurateurs. The Baccamore’, a love themed float, was introduced in 2008. In keeping with tradition, “Bacchus beads” and doubloons are thrown to revelers from the floats.
Bacchus blazed the way for numerous other New Orleans Mardi Gras super krewes, including Endymion, Orpheus, and Muses. I credit Bacchus with a lot of innovation back in a day when all floats were small. HAIL BACCHUS 2017, February 27 2017!! Happy Mardi Gras to all!
1979 Mardi Gras Revisited – New Orleans Police Strike!!0
This was a Mardi Gras to remember. The police strike (NOPD) cancelled the parades in Orleans Parish, but Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes held all their parades. Much of organized Carnival was canceled in New Orleans, but all of the less organized groups came out as usual.
On Fat Tuesday morning we went to the west bank for Grela and the trucks, then headed back over the Mississippi River bridge to find the Wild Tchoupitoulas Indians. We found them, with Chief Jolly, Charles Neville on sax, and Aaron Neville smoking a joint with our little group! We really enjoyed our time with 2nd Chief Norman Bell, Chief Jolly (George Landry), Aaron and Charles Neville, and other Indians and musicians.
We were living on Robert Street off of Danneel St, so we were very close to where the Nevilles all lived back then, on Valence Street. This was right before the Nevilles became major label fodder and began to travel the world in earnest as the pride of New Orleans, the Neville Brothers.
We hung out and followed the Wild Tchoupitoulas for a couple of hours before heading the the French Quarter and a party on Royal Street. These uptown Mardi Gras Indians were followed by a crowd of about 20 people. It was really an enjoyable aspect of Fat Tuesday that year.
Since that time, we’ve gotten into a bit of a fun rut on Fat Tuesday. We set up on St. Charles for Rex and the Trucks, and catch some of Zulu on Jackson Avenue before. There is so much to do and see at the New Orleans Carnival you can hardly go wrong, as long as you travel in a small group for safety reasons. We always bring a number of really excellent foods and drinks for Fat Tuesday. We BBQ, bring hot gumbos, sushi, traditional desserts like king cakes, mandel brot, decadent chocolate cakes, chocolate babka, etc. Not all of that each year, but I always make a half dozen Po-boys in advance for guests and friends who show up during the number of hours we’re on St. Charles enjoying the parades and trucks.
We always bring a king cake, that’s positively necessary.
Phunny Phorty Phellows Ride Tonight!!2
It’s Twelfth Night (Jan.6), the formal start of the 2013 Carnival Season! I hope that excites you, because it excites me! It is a short season this year, as Fat Tuesday is Feb.12. As of today, there are 37 days to Fat Tuesday!! Plus, the Super Bowl will be played in New Orleans on Feb.3. As I’ve written before, this means the parades will be split into two sections, with the nine day Super Bowl break occurring in the middle.
Twelfth Night is the start of the King Cake season, though the grocery stores put them out around New Years Day.
YUM!! There are a million varieties of King Cakes today, we live in the true renaissance era of King Cakes. Here’s a fancy King Cake recipe from star chef Emeril Lagasse. When I first moved to New Orleans in the mid 1970s, the only type of King Cake was plain ones. Then McKenzie’s Bakeries, a local chain, produced the first filled King Cakes. Now, you can find almost any flavor possible. McKenzie’s is long gone, but their unique innovation lives on and on!
As for the PPP, or Phunny Phorty Phellows, their ride down St. Charles Avenue on a St.Charles Avenue Street Car occurs tonight.
From the PPP website: The modern organization was revived in 1981 by a small group of friends and Mardi Gras enthusiasts. It has continued without interruption to the present day. The PPP paraded with the Krewe of Clones from 1981 until 1986. In 1982 we also began a tradition of riding the streetcar line (in a streetcar) and proclaiming the arrival of the Carnival season on Twelfth Night. That is the night when the new Boss and Queen are chosen by the traditional King Cake method as well as the occasion of the sumptuous Coronation Ball. A “Carnival Countdown” take place right before the Phellows board the streetcar.
The Storyville Stompers is the official band for the Streetcar Ride and Benny Grunch and the Bunch play at the Coronation Ball.
Other innovations and features: Beautiful invitations and dance cards like 1800s by a series of royal artists: Beth Kesmodel, Hal Pluche, Jeanne Woods, Arthur Nead, and Kevin Barre.
My own Krewe of Underwear, part of the historic Krewe du Vieux, roll January 19, which is very exciting and probably a very cold evening. I’ll have to bundle up big time before rolling. I love the brass bands, the donkeys, the heavy ribald satire, and the route- we roll through the French Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny. There is no better place to be January 19 than at our parade or in it. Happy Mardi Gras to the World!!! Here’s our route-
What I Love About Carnival in New Orleans!0
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.