(LA Trend) — Although there’s no wrong time to hunger for New Orleans cuisine, cravings hit their peak around Mardi Gras. This annual holiday marks the beginning of Lent on the Christian calendar and is usually celebrated by copious amounts of music, food, and alcohol in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Typical foods include beignets, fried catfish, gumbo, and King Cake. Bakers hide a small plastic baby in the King Cake, which symbolizes prosperity, and whoever finds the figurine is supposed to host next year’s celebration.
COVID has put a damper on the city’s celebratory plans but you can take a bite out of your cravings with dinner from some of L.A.’s best Cajun restaurants. Order takeout, pickup, or have an outdoor dinner with your pod to celebrate Fat Tuesday.
Look no further than Mardi Gras Tuesday to fulfill your Cajun cravings in Sherman Oaks. Score a special Valentine’s Day menu featuring a Bourbon Street Steak and Lobster Platter, wine, and a dessert. Other favorites include the Gumbo made with Andouille sausage, shrimp, crab, and chicken in a dark roux. Vegetarians can enjoy a meat-free Jambalaya with a rich red creole roux. Don’t forget a bottle of wine or Zydeco Sangria to accompany your meal.
Enjoy a NOLA-style meal at The Little Easy in downtown L.A. This intimate eatery features an impressive beer selection plus craft cocktails. Don’t miss the cheese grits made with a blend of smoked gouda, pepper jack, and cheddar cheese, or the popular Chicken and Waffles. Sip a Pimm’s Cup cocktail or knock back an Abita’s beer from New Orleans.
If you’re craving Cajun food without the fuss, chow down on a Po’boy from The Little Jewel of New Orleans. Part grocery store, part deli this charming restaurant makes all their sandwich filling sin-house. Vegans can enjoy an Impossible Po’boy and carnivores can order a classic fried oyster po’boy. While you’re there, stock up on Zapp’s potato chips (try the Voodoo flavor) and Slap Ya Mama! Cajun seasoning.
Even though large-scale parties aren’t an option, that doesn’t mean you should miss out on your annual slice of King Cake. Pickup lovingly-made pastries from New Orleans Sweet Treats, a family-run bakery in Los Angeles. Pick up festive cinnamon buns, a Louisiana Smash Cake with a Southern Comfort shortcake crust, pecans, and a sweet topping. Or pick up a tub of beignet mix and try your hand at homemade doughnuts.