Mardi Gras is in full swing in New Orleans, which means it's time to grab your beads and laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)! Falling on March 5 this year, Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday), is typically celebrated with carnivals, masquerades, dancing, drinking, and feasting.
Can't make it to the Big Easy? Luckily, you don't have to travel to New Orleans for big, bold Creole and Cajun flavors. From iconic dishes like jambalaya to hurricane cocktails and bananas foster, here's the backstory of the city's best foods and where you can find them in New Hampshire.
1. Creole Jambalaya at Cotton
75 Arms St, Manchester, NH 03101
Creole jambalaya originates from the French Quarter of New Orleans, but venture to Manchester's historic millyard district and you'll find this celebrated rice dish at Cotton. Named “One of the ten best neighborhood restaurants in the Northeast” by Bon Appetit Magazine, Cotton features farm to table comfort food in a hip atmosphere. Pair the heat of the restaurant's creole jambalaya, which features fresh vegetables, spicy andouille sausage, spicy tasso ham, chicken and shrimp topped with a spicy Creole tomato sauce, with a white wine from their extensive list of over 40 wines by glass.
2. Po' Boy Sandwich at The Franklin
148 Fleet Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
New Orlean's most famous sandwich, the Po'Boy is typically served on crunchy French bread and filled with roast beef or fried seafood. At the popular Portsmouth oyster bar The Franklin, you'll dive into delicious chicken fried oysters, sriracha aioli, lettuce, and tomatoes on a brioche bun. Legend has it that the Po'Boy originates from a sandwich served to striking New Orleans streetcar conductors in 1929, but the flavors in this iconic sandwich sound pretty rich to us!
3. Hurricane Cocktail & Jambalaya at T-Bone's
Locations in Bedford, Derry, Hudson, Laconia and Salem
Ring in Mardi Gras New Orleans style at T-Bone's with their $14.99 Hurricane Cocktail and Jambalaya Special, only available on Fat Tuesday (March 5). Created at a New Orleans tavern in the 1940's, the iconic fruity rum punch is typically served in a tall "hurricane" glass.
4. Muffaletta Sandwich at The Barley House
Locations in Concord and Northampton
The Barley House Restaurant and Tavern is serving up authentic muffaletta sandwiches for Fat Tuesday. Created in New Orleans in 1906, the popular Italian inspired sandwich is typically eaten during celebration days. Round out your meal with Barley's coconut rum version of a Hurricane - a "Burr"icane. Wear your beads and get $2 off!
5. Mardi Gras Pasta at Patrick's Pub and Eatery
18 Weirs Road, Gilford, NH 03249
Over at Patrick's Pub, diners can indulge in their spin on a Mardi Gras pasta! Tossed in a light Cajun cream sauce with local andouille sausage, grilled chicken, peppers, onions and penne pasta, the dish is at special price only this week. Don't forget to order one of Patrick's Pub's Hurricanes to go with it!
6. Jambalaya at Winnie Grill
650 Laconia Rd., Tilton, NH 03276
In the Lakes region? Head to rustic Winnie Grill on Lake Winnisquam for their jazzed up jambalaya, served with ham, chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp, slow cooked, over a bed of rice pilaf.
7. Bananas Foster at The Copper Door
Locations in Bedford and Salem
No Mardi Gras celebration would be complete without the decadent ending of bananas foster. Created in the 1950's by Brennan Restaurant owner Owen Brennan's sister, Ella, and Chef Paul Blangé, the dish was born out of the restaurant's need to use an abundance of bananas. (New Orleans was once a booming import hub for the fruit.) Today, you can savor the sweet treat at The Copper Door, complete with rich rum butter sauce and Jake's vanilla ice cream.