Mardi Gras beads on a balcony in New Orleans. Photo by Jessica Pepe via Flickr.
Mardi Gras is coming up on Tuesday February 17th, and there are lots of ways to get in on the action. ~TOWN HALL~ is throwing their annual bash with all the fried chicken, etouffée, gumbo, oysters, barbecued shrimp, jalapeño cornbread, smoked ribs, and crawfish you can stomach. Of course, it wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without free-flowing drinks like New Orleans’ own Abita beer, Hurricanes, and caipirinhas in a nod to the Carnival celebrations of Brazil. In addition to all the food and drink, there will be live music, samba dancers for even more Brazilian flair, and plenty of beads (of course). The festivities begin at 6pm and tickets are $80 in advance or $95 at the door, and include all food, drink, and entertainment.
~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~ is celebrating Mardi Gras starting Thursday February 12th, with a muffuletta sandwich, Creole-style jambalaya, gumbo, and slices of king cake. You can order a classic Sazerac to pair with it all too. Gumbo and Sazeracs will be available until Tuesday February 17th.
In Hayes Valley, ~BOXING ROOM~ will be toasting Mardi Gras with their brand-new full liquor license, which seems only fitting. Order a Hurricane or Sazerac to go along with special dishes like crawfish boil for the holiday, and of course there will be king cake. Their regular menu will also be available.
If celebrating on a Tuesday is, uh, hard for you, try Phat Sunday on February 15th from 11am to 6pm at the ~SOMA STREAT FOOD PARK~. You can hit it a couple of different ways: get a ticket to the crawfish boil, which includes one drink and the crawfish ($32); or get a ticket to the taste-and-pour Beer Week event for all the beer you can manage ($48); or go whole hog with a “phat pack,” which includes all the crawfish and beer ($70). You can also just buy a general admission ticket for $5 and pay per item at the bar and food trucks. 428 11th St. at Bryant.
Nothing says “Fat Tuesday” quite like ice cream, and ~ICE CREAM BAR~ has the specials to prove it. They’ll be offering king cake for $5 per slice, and each whole cake will include a baby charm. If you get it, you’ll receive a $10 gift certificate. They will also be offering a special brandy milk punch ice cream flavor. Both will be available on Monday February 16th and Tuesday February 17th. 815 Cole St. at Carl, 415-742-4932.
Oakland’s ~HOPSCOTCH~ is serving a special Mardi Gras menu from 11:30am to 10pm, and getting extra celebratory with an extended happy hour from 3pm to 6pm. There will be gumbo, boudin balls, shrimp po’boys, and red beans and rice. For cocktails, classics like the Vieux Carré and Sazerac will be on offer. 1915 San Pablo Ave. at 19th St., 415-788-6217.
Mardi Gras isn’t just limited to New Orleans, of course. Everyone knows about Carnival in Brazil, but don’t forget Italy’s Carnevale (made famous by the stunning pageantry of Venice). ~DESCO~ will be celebrating from now until February 17th (except Valentine’s Day) with a special three-course menu that includes traditional Venetian “cicchetti” of salted cod mantecato, black riso venere fritters, marinated white anchovies and radicchio purée, and chicken liver pâté with caramelized onion. You’ll also get a $10 gift voucher for all daytime gondola rides on Lake Merritt (again, excluding Valentine’s Day weekend). 499 9th St. at Washington, 415-663-9000.
Tuesday Feb 17, 2015