Here’s a question for people who celebrate Mardi Gras in a city that is not New Orleans: Why? It’s a holiday so closely tied to a sense of place that attempting to transplant the tradition of drinking excessively and throwing beads at women in hopes of seeing boobs just seems like a shabby excuse to drink excessively and throw beads at women in hopes of seeing boobs. Am I being a total buzzkill? Am I reducing centuries of French Catholic tradition down to a token of appropriation and misogyny? All right, fine. Fat Tuesday is, historically speaking, a feast day during which revelers eat a bunch of fatty foods before fasting for Lent, and I can get on board with that much. Below, tips for adhering to this time-honored and holy tradition:
Ettore’s European Bakery and Restaurant (2376 Fair Oaks Boulevard) is selling lovely King Cakes—a cake with a plastic or ceramic baby baked in it—in cherry, apple or chocolate flavors for $24.50. Whoever gets the slice with the baby wins! Wins what, exactly, is subject to interpretation, and tradition dictates that you have to buy next year’s King Cake, so pick your piece accordingly. Visit www.ettores.com to place your order. (Want to buy all the King Cakes? Check out “Eat Me” on page 20 for more recommendations. You’re welcome.)
As for dinner, there may be no better occasion to try the Monster DD: two beef patties, maple-cured bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and two fried eggs, all sandwiched between two grilled-cheese sandwiches. At $22, this is some holy dedication to putting the “fat” in Fat Tuesday, and it can be found at Cheesy Charlie’s (2598 Alta Arden).
If you’re looking to keep it indulgent but at least a little bit traditional, there’s always the Porch Restaurant and Bar (1815 K Street), which offers southern cuisine and a bourbon library; South (2005 11th Street), where you can get in on some jambalaya, fried catfish, hush puppies and more; and the Shady Lady Saloon (1409 R Street), where you can get a shrimp po’boy alongside a Pimm’s Cup or Sazerac.