Mardi Gras, French for "Fat Tuesday," refers to the Carnival celebrations beginning on the Christian feast of Epiphany (Three Kings' Day) and culminating the day before Ash Wednesday. Technically, Mardi Gras is the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which ushers in 40 days of one's best behavior, and Carnival is the season that begins on the Feast of Epiphany.
But you don't want a theology lesson. You want to know where to eat a lot of good food, because that is what happens on Mardi Gras, the last day of craziness before the more austere Christian fasting season of Lent begins. They also like a good parade and the chance to load up on bead necklaces and beer. For that, check out the New Times
. And here's where you can revel in some gluttonous eating and catch some fun:
The Fish House
This seafood spot has been around since 1995, and regulars return for the simple, straightforward seafood. This Tuesday at 6 p.m., they'll kick off Mardi Gras with their annual celebration featuring good grub, lots of music (on indoor and outdoor stages), beads galore, and king cake. Open 11:30 a.m. 11 p.m. Miller Road Plaza, 10000 Miller Rd., #41, Miami; 305-595-8453.
Chef/owner Danny Serfer will boil up a batch of gumbo and prepare giant two-foot fried shrimp po'boys for the evening at Mignonette Uptown. Chef Bobby Frank at Mignonette in downtown Miami will make peacemaker po'boys for Mardi Gras this Tuesday. Also at Mignonette in downtown, guests can create their own po'boy, called the peacemaker, with a combination of fried shrimp, clams, conch, or oysters. Choose oysters off the marquee, and chef de cuisine Bobby Frank will shuck 'em, fry 'em, and add 'em to your personalized po'boy. Peacemakers cost $15 and are served at lunch from noon to 3:30 p.m. Downtown location: 210 NE 18th St., Miami; 305-374-4635. Uptown location: 13951 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach; 305-705-2159.
Vagabond Kitchen & Bar
Vagabond Kitchen & Bar is welcoming Mardi Gras with live jazz and a meal that will transport guests to the Big Easy via seafood gumbo, blackened snapper, and creole jambalaya. Vagabond will wrap it up with bread pudding and the traditional king cake. Tickets cost $45 per person. 7301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-409-5635.
Mango's Tropical Cafe
This nightclub/restaurant promises a fun-filled Mardi Gras night. For $10, celebrate Fat Tuesday at Mango's, with drink specials that are guaranteed to make the party great. 900 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-673-4422.
Concrete Beach Brewery
Saturday, March 4, from noon to 6 p.m., Concrete Beach Brewery will party the 305 at its annual epic Miami Gras block party, an event filled with dancing, eating, and the awaited release of the brewery's Miami Gras beer — an orange-blossom-honey/juniper beauty. 325 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-796-2727.
Big City Tavern
Chef Steven Zobel lived in New Orleans and knows a good jamboree. Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m., he'll offer a special menu inspired by his time in the Big Easy. Regional specials include N’awlins BBQ “Stwimp” ($13), Fat Stevie's chicken and shrimp jambalaya ($26), and the quintessential sweet treat: beignets and sugar in a brown bag ($8). BYOB (bring your own beads). 609 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-727-0307.