I’ve never been to Mardi Gras or, for that matter, to New Orleans.  In fact, I’m not even sure I’ve ever been to a Cajun restaurant,  although I did win a  Cajun cookbook on Velva Knapp’s blog a few years ago.

It was time for my Dearly Beloved and me to step out of our evening routine.

Mardi Gras night, here we come!  DB wasn’t as enthusiastic as I.  He’d pictured an  evening by the fire with a glass of wine, watching the New Hampshire primary returns.

We were stepping out, all right, but at our age, we step cautiously.  Our favorite little neighborhood restaurant was doing up Fat Tuesday.  Close enough!  They’d promised a King’s cake direct from New Orleans.   How much more authentic could it get, I ask you?!   Not only that, one of the restaurant owners is a Louisiana native and used to march in the Mardi Gras parade.

He was 8 years old at the time and played clarinet.

Even though we arrived before 6,  all the tables and booths were full.  They had outdone themselves;  decorations adored the walls and hung from the ceiling, and twinkle lights in Mardi Gras colors encircled the room.

We bellied up to the bar to wait for a table.  I passed up a Hurricane drink in favor of my usual glass of red wine, content to watch the bartender mixing a steady stream of the cheery-looking drinks in large glasses.  I slipped several strands of the necklaces around my neck.  They were strewn around everywhere.  Authentic beads!  Oh yeah!

Dearly Beloved could not decide between the specials for the evening, so he ordered a trio of Red Beans and Rice, Shrimp Creole, and Shrimp and Crayfish Étouffée.  He pronounced it one of the best meals ever.

When our server came around with the King’s cake,  I chose carefully, not so much in search of the baby, but opting for a slice that wouldn’t turn my teeth purple.  I selected one in the golden yellow section.  DB told me too bad, that if I’d gotten the Baby Jesus, all my sins would be forgiven for the year.

I think it meant I’d get a free dessert.

DB said he’d had King’s Cake often during our years in Memphis because one of the guys in their office went down to New Orleans and picked one up every year.  He hadn’t particularly liked it–he remembered it as tasting very vanilla-ish.  This one wasn’t; it was deliciously light, with a hint of lemon.   I was glad that DB is gluten-free these days–he’d have loved this one.  In fact, I was tempted to order a second slice to bring home for breakfast this morning.

The atmosphere was festive and bright, yet cozy. DB admitted that it was much better than the evening he’d planned.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

This morning I was telling a friend about our evening and how much we enjoyed it.  DB came in toward the end of our conversation and asked,   “Did Mary tell you about our big Mardi Gras night?”

“She said it was fun and that the food was great,”  our friend answered.

I knew what DB was going to say next before he opened his mouth:

Did she tell you that she ordered pot roast?

sigh.  No.  I’d omitted that part.








9 thoughts on “Authenticity!

  1. Well when in doubt you can’t beat Pot Roast. And it you add the beads and the cake- very authentic. I know, I’ve been to Mardi Gras. If you love unruly crowds, drunks, and insane behavior it’s a good time. The parades can be fun if you can find a place to stand where someone doesn’t spill something all over you. The most fun I ever had was going to a Mardi Gras ball and standing on a balcony watching from on high. Kings Cake is a fun idea but what if you bite baby Jesus’s head off or leg…that has always worried me. It sounds like you and DB celebrate in away you both enjoyed. I do recommend New Orleans for the weekend (January) Not Bourbon Street but the back roads. And meeting an authentic cajun is a real treat.

    1. Once I worked with a woman whose father was a fire and brimstones preacher. She said that when she was a young teen, her father took the family to New Orleans for “Shrove Tuesday,” believing there would be religious significance for them to observe. It was only a matter of hours after their arrival before the horrified man got down on his knees in the middle of the street, raised his arms heavenward, and screamed, “Lord, if you will get me out of this den of sin alive, I promise you I will never come back!”

      Maybe a balcony overview would have been better for him.

  2. DB’s gluten free now? So’s my daughter (she has a wheat intolerance.) It makes for some interesting family gatherings. I did find a good frozen gluten free pie crust, though. It tastes great but it has like a bazillion calories.

    King’s cake sounds delicious. With or without Baby Jesus. 🙂

  3. Arkansas Patti

    Now that sounds like a fun evening. You got beads and didn’t even have to “flash”. Or did you leave that out also?

  4. ncmountainwoman

    You can hardly go wrong with pot roast. And Cajun cuisine should come with packets of Tums. You chose the right thing.

    King Cakes remind me of those tiny little rubber dolls we used to have. They were cheap and portable. I always had several in my pockets. So many uses for them.

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