Mardi Gras is the ultimate carnival bash, with dazzling costumes, lively parades and a feast fit for royalty, embodying the vibrant spirit of New Orleans. But, if you can’t make it to Mardi Gras on Feb. 13, there are plenty of Toronto eateries that will bring the flavours of New Orleans to you.
The Po’ Boy
During the 1929 New Orleans streetcar strike, the Martin brothers invented the po’ boy sandwich as a means of supporting the striking workers, giving rise to its name. A symbol of community and resilience, especially during Mardi Gras, the po’ boy hits the spot with diverse fillings, providing a hearty and flavourful treat for parade-goers. Buster’s Sea Cove enhances the experience with po’ boy sandwiches, featuring two fried seafood options – calamari or shrimp ($16) — served on fresh focaccia bread alongside a side of coleslaw. 199 Bay St.
Jambalaya, a quintessential dish in New Orleans cuisine, has a storied history intertwined with the city’s cultural tapestry. Its roots can be traced back to the diverse culinary influences of the region, blending African, French, Spanish and Caribbean flavours. With roots traced to Spanish paella, it evolved into a unique dish with local ingredients. At New Orleans Seafood & Steakhouse, the jambalaya for two ($65.95) is a mix of andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp and daily fresh fish, baked in long grain rice and creole sauce, topped with mussels and crawfish. 267 Scarlett Rd.
Beignets, rooted in the French heritage of New Orleans, gained fame through institutions like Café du Monde, a historic establishment in
the French Quarter that dates back to 1862. During Mardi Gras, these deep-fried pastries, generously coated with powdered sugar, are a hit, symbolizing a festive treat linked to the tradition of indulging in rich foods before the fasting period of Lent. You can find authentic beig-
nets at Thobors, available in mini or large sizes (mini $2.10/$2.30 large $4.30/$5.05). Opt for the classic plain, or try filled options with chocolate spread or raspberry jam. 627 Mount Pleasant Rd.
The mint julep, a refreshing concoction of mint, sugar, ice and bourbon, originated in the southern United States during the 18th century. This classic libation found its way to New Orleans, where it became a beloved symbol of the city’s rich cocktail culture and traditions. At the newly opened restaurant, The Joneses, a nostalgic vibe permeates the menu with a focus on retro cocktails. Amidst classics like Manhattans and old-fashioneds, the flavour-packed julep ($19) boastsMaker’s Mark bourbon, sugar, aromatic bitters and mint. 33 Yonge St.