Let’s gloss over all the Valentine’s Day hype, shall we? Tuesday is Mardi Gras, a day dedicated to something every diner can appreciate—eating as much as possible. (Regret is what Lent is for.)
Here’s a short list of ways to celebrate to the, er, fullest:
- Fatten up on the cheap at Moonshine Brewing Company (1824 W. Division St., 773-862-8686), holding its annual Cajun Crawl. A half-pound basket of boiled Louisiana crawfish runs $7, a pound $12. The ubiquitous Hurricane crushed-ice cocktail will be $6, and drafts of Moonshine start at $5.
- Prove how many crawfish your craw can handle at Cactus Bar and Grill (404 S. Wells St., 312-922-3830) with a charitable crawfish-eating contest tomorrow at 6 p.m. The entrance fee is $25, a portion of which goes to New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. (Watch the spectacle unfold for free, and take advantage of $5 Hurricanes and bottles of Abita Restoration Golden Ale.)
- Slurp on half-price oysters all day at Shaw’s Crab House (21 E. Hubbard St., 312-527-2722). Cajun and Creole specials, such as more crawfish in both po’ boy and étouffée form, will also be available at the oyster bar. Live zydeco music from Mississippi Heat runs from 7 to 10 p.m.
- Spend a little extra on the Fat Tuesday Spirited Dinner at Henri (18 S. Michigan Ave., 312-578-0763), hosted by Clint Rogers. Five haute spins on Mardi Gras fare (redfish nigiri with a hush puppy and dirty rice, a boudin po’ boy with smoked-oyster vinaigrette, crawfish tortellini with andouille, pork-and-cheddar grits, and king cake) are paired with specialty New Orleans–inspired cocktails by Brad Bolt and the Bar DeVille team for $100 per person. Call for reservations. (And watch the cocktail-making process here.)
Photograph: courtesy of Henri