Traditionally, Mardi Gras is a celebration all about stuffing yourself with delicious foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. So you kind of have to do it... right?
Check out these local spots celebrating the holiday with specials and events:
1. Bayou Gras Block Party
Chef David Guas, a New Orleans native, invites guests to his newest outpost of his popular Bayou Bakery (901 Pennsylvania Avenue NE) for the fifth annual Bayou Gras Block Party this Tuesday. The event will feature a live band and tons of food and drinks under a heated tent.
From 6 to 9 p.m., enjoy authentic "N'awlins" dishes, including parade route food that consists of the choice of jambalaya, Crawfish Monica, Muff-a-lottas or andouille and shrimp gumbo, among other traditional meals and desserts. All night, a pop-up bar will serve up New Orleans-style cocktails, and Abita draft beers will be poured in souvenir cups. Additionally, kids 12 and under eat free, with mac and cheese, hot dogs and Abita root beer on the menu.
Tickets can be purchased at the eatery or online here.
2. Mardi Gras at Black Rooster Pub
The Black Rooster Pub (1919 L Street NW) will host a Mardi Gras celebration Tuesday. Starting at 5 p.m., catch live entertainment including stilt walkers and fire eaters. Additionally, planners say "original songs, gritty vocals, a slamming horn section and driving rhythms" will be provided by the D.C. band King Soul starting at 6 p.m.
The pub will be serving a special Cajun menu and 22-ounce Hurricanes all night long.
3. Round Robin Bar at the Willard
From now through Tuesday, the Round Robin Bar (1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), a lively meeting place for the political and social elite since the 1850s, will be serving up Mardi Gras-themed cocktails.
Located just off the lobby of the Willard InterContinental, the bar will offer specialty cocktails for $15, including the Bayou Bloody Mary, made with Tito's vodka, Tabasco sauce and spicy green beans and garnished with crawfish, and the Vieux Carre, made with rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters.
Cajun cuisine lovers can choose from two dishes: a New Orleans po-boy on a french baguette or a chicken and andouille gumbo.
4. Venetian Mardi Gras at Masseria
Experience a Venetian Mardi Gras celebration at Masseria (1340 4th St. NE) from Tuesday through Feb. 14. Chef Nicholas Stefanelli will prepare a $95 five-course tasting menu with dishes including Grande Lasagna di Carnevale (lasagna, meatballs, beef, salumi, ricotta, mozzarella and tomato.
On Friday, Feb. 12, a "super-chic soirée" following dinner will be complete with free-flowing Italian sparkling wine from Ca' d'Or Franciacorta, which will debut at Masseria before anywhere else in the U.S. Keeping with the European theme, the celebration will begin late and continue until the wee hours of the morning. From 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., up to 100 guests can party Venetian-style, complete with decorative masks, candles and dancing for $75.
You can make reservations for the dinners or event online here.
5. Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar
As part of its annual Carnaval celebration, several locations of Paladar Latin Kitchen will offer a two-week long special menu that runs from now and ends with a Fat Tuesday party on Feb. 9. The first week's menu features drink specials including half off select Latin beer and wine bottles. The second week includes half off select mojitos and margaritas.
As the Brazilian Carnaval festivities typically involve street parties, diners can also enjoy a $5 street food menu. Celebrations will be held at the restaurant's Annapolis, Rockville, Gaithersburg and Tysons Corner locations and will offer live entertainment, dancing and, of course, beads.
You can make reservations online here.
6. Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade & Ball
Arlington's 17th annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, when participants donning decorative masks and dressed in festive outfits will parade down Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street at this family-friendly event.
After the parade, head to the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd.) for the Mardis Gras Ball from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This ticketed event will feature traditional Louisiana food and a variety of beverages, as well as live music from the Yamomanem Jazz Band and the 8 Ohms Band. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 or at the door for $25. Proceeds help offset parade costs and also benefit St. Charles Church.