Mardi Gras mania across America
February 20th, 2012
10:00 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

Mardi Gras: those two words might make you think "No way!" Or it might make you scream, "No limits!"

If you fall somewhere in the middle - if you want to drink some Hurricanes or Abitas, and wear some beads but keep your shirt on - and can’t make it to New Orleans for the parades, here are a few places around the country that might almost make you feel that you’re there. And hopefully not worry about finding a clean bathroom.

Heaven on Seven - Chicago, Illinois
At his 30-year-old-restaurant in Chicago, which now has three locations, Jimmy Bannos Sr. turns out remarkable Cajun food; training with legendary New Orleans chefs Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme will do that for your cooking. Bannos’s cookbook, "Heaven on Seven: Where It’s Mardi Gras All the Time!" makes you think it’s going to get a little crazy on Fat Tuesday. Especially when you see the cover photo of Bannos with more beads than I would have thought humanly possible.

The Gumbo Pot - Los Angeles, California
Basically every New Orleans-style dish you could want, the Gumbo Pot has got. The huge menu has a New Orleans Favorites section with classics like jambalaya, red beans & rice, 13 different po' boys as well as muffulettas; there’s also meatloaf and frog legs and traditional or chocolate beignets, served with chicory coffee. There’s a brand new location on Hollywood but the annual Mardi Gras party with zydeco music and parades takes place at the Farmer's Market at 3rd & Fairfax.

Bayou Bakery - Arlington, Virginia
David Guas is an New Orleans native and at Bayou Bakery, he takes his heritage seriously. On Mardi Gras Eve, he’s hosting a dinner with a jazz quartet playing (dancing!). “Beads and cups are yours to keep, costumes optional, and a Bourbon Street attitude necessary,” says the website.

Fat Tuesday will feature parade-route fare including: crawfish etouffée, crab boil peppa weenies, Bayou Bakery’s outstanding cream cheese-stuffed King Cakes and cups of Rebirth Punch.

Sugar Freak - Astoria, New York
This new spot in Queens checks off the greatest hits of Louisiana from boudin balls to muffuletta, served whole or "nice half." Around this time of year, you’ll see specials like any po' boy plus any Abita beer. They serve the Purple Haze, Turbo Dog, Amber, IPA or the root beer, which is terrific, for $15.

Miss D's New Orleans Pralines - Atlanta, Georgia
If you’re in Atlanta and wanting to celebrate Mardi Gras with some pralines rather than a parade cup filled with Southern Comfort, then you should go to Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Miss D uses an authentic New Orleans recipe and Georgia pecans to make her terrific candies. She also has some amazing, New Orleans-inspired popcorns, like Cajun Fried Pickle, Banana Caramel and Jalapeno.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Mardi Gras • New Orleans • New Orleans

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Rachel

    Have you heard of Tchoup Shop?!? Best New Orleans food in NYC! Chef Simon Glenn cooks up New Orleans food better than I've tasted anywhere else. A transplant from New Orleans, living and cooking in Brooklyn, NY. Tchoup Shop was nominated by TimeOut NY for best southern comfort food in NYC. you can find him at

    February 21, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  2. Rafael Delgado

    Great article! In Milwaukee, Wisconsin try Maxie's Southern Comfort on both Lundi and Mardi Gras. Maxie's provides authentic New Orleans flavors and festive atmosphere, live music, beads, beers, Hurricanes and a parade.

    February 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  3. Arturo Féliz-Camilo

    Oh Lord! Amazing pics!

    February 20, 2012 at 8:21 am |
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