Not heading to New Orleans or Rio to celebrate Mardi Gras and Carnival (or Carnaval or Carnivale, depending on your preference)? No problem. There are plenty of places right here in Los Angeles where you can celebrate the festive season this weekend and on Fat Tuesday, February 12. So whether you’re religious or hedonistic or a little of both, this is the time to get your grub on, drink up, and let the good times roll!
Original Farmers Market – www.farmersmarketla.com
This fun outdoor market will be hosting its 24th Annual Mardi Gras Celebration from Friday, February 8 to Tuesday, February 12. (Pooch lovers, unite: the annual dog parade and costume contest takes place on Saturday.) Fat Tuesday itself will play host to live New Orleans and Zydeco music, bead-throwing, strolling parade bands, arts and crafts, face painting for kids, authentic Cajun food, beer, and a whole lot more.
Amoeba Music – www.amoeba.com
This Sunset Strip music megastore’s party starts at 2pm on Fat Tuesday with a DJ spinning Mardi Gras tunes, beads galore, a performance by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, goodies for the kiddies and a parade at 4:30pm where everyone’s encouraged to bring an instrument and play “When The Saints Go Marching In.” There’s no cover charge and all are welcome.
Dominick’s & Little Dom’s – www.littledoms.com
Whether you’re on the Westside or Eastside, these brother locations will be giving you a taste of N’awlins cooking with a special Cajun-inspired dinner menu February 9-February 12. New Orleans born Chef Brandon Boudet is whipping up everything from gumbo, jambalaya and crayfish pie to muffaletta sandwiches, beignets, mini king cakes for $8 or less.
Brazilian Carnaval @ Club Nokia – ww.braziliannites.com
If you can’t make it to Rio de Janeiro for the big celebration, Brazilian Carnaval Exotica on Saturday, March 2 is the closest you can get to the real thing. Now in its 13th year, the all-night bash (8pm-2am) will musicians performing non-stop Brazilian music, samba dancers shimmying in sequins and feathers, a Capoeira martial arts show, a 100-drummer participatory drum circle, and plenty of Brazilian food and drinks. Costumes are encouraged and believe it or not, the event is open for all ages. Tickets available online.
Uncle Darrow’s + Orange County Mardi Gras Festival – www.uncledarrows.com
The Big Game in New Orleans is over, but the Big Easy fun continues at LA’s own Uncle Darrow’s where you can get all the flavors of the Bayou … without the beef or pork. (Yes, it’s true!) The ultra-casual, family-owned restaurant in Marina del Rey is your one-stop spot for Southern delicacies such as gumbo, fried catfish, jambalaya, red beans and po’ boy sandwiches. Uncle Darrow’s will be among the many food vendors Friday, February 8–Sunday, February 10 during Mardi Gras 2013 at the Orange County Fairgrounds and they’re also hosting their own Mardi Gras celebration with live music at the restaurant on Saturday, February 16. Let the good times roll!
Long Beach Mardi Gras 2013 – www.lbmardigras.com
Rain or shine, Mardi Gras returns to Long Beach on Saturday, February 9, with a daylong festival that promises all the fun of a Big Easy celebration with an afternoon parade, music and dancing well into the night, masks, costumes, food, drinks, and of course, beads! The family-friendly festivities go from 1pm to 6pm and take place around The Pike at Rainbow Harbor as well as Shoreline Village and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Free admission.
Federal Bar - www.thefederalbar.com
The Federal Bar is bringing a little taste of Louisiana to Los Angeles with some special eats and tasty brews. Offered now through Fat Tuesday (February 12), the Bayou-themed menu includes beignets, jambalaya ($15), peel & eat crawfish boil ($18) with corn, boiled potatoes and drawn butter, plus Abita beer straight from their Louisiana brewery, SOS Pils, Turbo Dog Restoration Pale Ale, Jockamo IPA, Vanilla Double Dog and Mardi Gras Bock.
Brazilian Carnaval 2013 – www.arieldelmundo.com
Can’t make it to Rio? No problem. The 29th Annual Brazilian Carnaval is bringing a taste of South America to SoCal on Saturday, February 9 from 10pm to 2am at Lure nightclub in Hollywood. Giant screens showing live action from Brazil’s Carnaval will be playing throughout the night and Miss Brazil will host the celebration here with DJs, samba dancers, flying Capoeira acrobats, and live performances from Unidos da Bahia, Sambada, Batukaxe and many more. General admission is $25 in advance with VIP tables priced at $60 per person.
Tony’s Darts Away – www.tonysda.com
Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s not decadent. This year for Fat Tuesday, Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank is cooking up some vegan versions of New Orleans cuisine. Even better: Cooked into the classic King’s Cake will be tokens for free beers! Vegan menu options include gumbo over rice, artichoke po’ boys, red beans & rice and Cajun fries. A few non-vegan items like fried oyster po’ boys and blackened Cajun salmon burgers will also be on special. Event starts at 5pm. Laissez les bons temps rouler!