2012 MARDI GRAS MUSTS

In recent years, especially since Katrina, I've enjoyed the splendor of Mardi Gras from downtown New Orleans. Don't get me wrong, Uptown and Metairie certainly have their advantages, but when it comes to shear excitement in overwhelming numbers, you can't beat downtown!

Before high school, Metairie was where I spent most of my carnival years. By the time puberty rolled around, Uptown was where my friends where we laid claim. Lots of great memories from Mardi Gras, and I'm thinking this year will be bigger and better than ever. I wanted to take the opportunity to run down some of the things I will be doing as well as what I'll be looking forward to the most this Mardi Gras.

Items and places listed below are just some of the places I like to visit and things I enjoy for Mardi Gras

In recent years, especially since Katrina, I've enjoyed the splendor of Mardi Gras from downtown New Orleans. Don't get me wrong, Uptown and Metairie certainly have their advantages, but when it comes to shear excitement in overwhelming numbers, you can't beat downtown!

Before high school, Metairie was where I spent most of my carnival years. By the time puberty rolled around, Uptown was where my friends where we laid claim. Lots of great memories from Mardi Gras, and I'm thinking this year will be bigger and better than ever. I wanted to take the opportunity to run down some of the things I will be doing as well as what I'll be looking forward to the most this Mardi Gras.

FOOD :

Some of my most cherished Mardi Gras moments were made over food. My family and friends always, and I mean always prepare and devour the same things each season. The trifecta I'm looking forward to most this year is...

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Jambalya made with my new favorite helper, Cook Me Something Mister Jambalaya. We brought out this glorious bag of goodness last year and It was a huge hit. We use beef and smoke sausage which works so well with Cook Me Something Mister. No seafood here, just a good 'ole meatfest and it's guaranteed to help you pace yourself the whole day!

Cook Me Something Mister PH 504.943.0853 TOLL FREE 800.235.3881

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If we didn't have the time to prepare our own fried chicken, Popeyes used to be the defacto standard for us on the parade rout. Nowadays Kane's Chicken Fingers is where it's at. They make it so easy to order, stop in, and pickup some of the best chicken tenders around. Umm, and the sauce, yes please! Secretly though, I do stop and pick up some biscuits from Popeyes during the day.

I have to admit, I could eat a whole king cake on the parade route and be content. Even though King Cake on Mardi Gras day could be considered a meal, I think having it after the above morals makes it every more decadent. Just imagine finishing off a few tenders and a bowl of Jambalaya, what would be more suitable for your tastebuds than a slice or two of king cake? Below are the cakes I'll be hoarding on the parade route.

Sucre via 2 locations

SUCRE

UPTOWN 3025 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70115 PH 504.520.8311

METAIRIE 3301 Veterans Boulevard METAIRIE, LA. 70002 PH 504.834.2277

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Party Palace via Langenstein's etc.

LANGENSTEIN'S • METAIRIE 800 METAIRIE ROAD METAIRIE, LA. 70005

PH 504.831.6682

LANGENSTEIN'S • UPTOWN 1330 ARABELLA Street New Orleans, LA. 70115

PH. 504.899.9283

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JOHNNY's PO-BOYS

Finally, sometimes in between parades, I like to stop by and visit my good friends and Johnny's Po-boys for a Po-boy. My favorite is their french fry po-boy with a little cheese on top and of debris gravy to top if all off. Their gravy is top-notch with a bit of spicy zing at the end that just puts me into a state of food coma heaven.

JOHNNY's PO-BOYS

511 Saint Louis Street French Quarter New Orleans, LA

PH. 504.525.8037

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PLACES TO VISIT BEFORE/AFTER/DURING THE PARADES

Whiskey Blue @ W Hotel

I try and always watch the Parade near the river and one of the places I love to re-group and rally with my krewe is at Whiskey Blue in the W Hotel on Poydras. I usually stay in the general area, if not at The W, and it's so we situated in the middle of all the action. This year they are offering their own Mardi Gras cocktail aptly titled "Mardi Gras Mambo" which is a combination of Ketel One Citron, Patron Citronage, cranberry and lime juice, finished with a splash of simple syrup.

This certainly beats the snot out of any funny shaped giant plastic drank you'll regret getting on Bourbon Street. You see anything orange is my thing, but if that's not your cup of booze, try Whiskey Blue's Coconut Basil Gimlet (Ciroc Conconut Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice, Simple Syrup and Fresh Basil.) Word of advice, pace yourself because these cocktails are addictive. Make sure to remain seated if you consume several in an hour. Have your friends rush on out and get something for you to eat.

Whiskey Blue @ The W Hotel

333 Poydras Street New Orleans, LA 70130

PH 504.207.5016

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Certainly last but not, one of the things I wanted to mention was that it's such a wonderful season and I've retained a lot of great memories! Please be safe and have a great Mardi Gras 2012!