Next month, I'm headed to New Orleans for a weeklong feast, which means second breakfasts and probably second lunches and dinners too. Luckily, Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday fall in the next few days which makes for the perfect pre-NOLA stomach-stretching exercise. Whether you're getting ready for a big eating trip or just feeling nostalgic for the Big Easy, here's where to send yourself into a food coma.
Brenda's French Soul Food and Libby Jane Cafe have your sweet tooth covered. Libby Jane will be featuring mini King Cakes through Tuesday ($7.50) while Brenda's is blowing our minds with King cake beignets. What's a King Cake beignet you ask? It's simply a beignet stuffed with berry compote, vanilla cream cheese, and pecans, colorful powdered sugar included ($4.50 each). Brenda's, 652 Polk, 345-8100 Libby Jane Cafe, 644 Polk, 926-2540
Boxing Room celebrates its third annual Mardi Gras feast on Fat Tuesday. Abita's Mardi Gras brew will be flowing on tap to wash down oysters Rockefeller, crawfish with all the fixins and seafood gumbo. Don't forget to try a piece of Bill Corbett's King Cake while live music plays in the background. 399 Grove, 430-6590
Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen will momentarily change the lifestyle of the Birkenstock-wearing-organic-veggie-eating Berkeley folk for the weekend and on Fat Tuesday at their Mardi Gras celebration. Grilled alligator with pork sausage, BBQ shrimp and grits or banana pudding and King Cake doesn't stand a chance against kale smoothies. Start a juice cleanse on Wednesday. 2261 Shattuck, Berkeley, (510) 548-6900
Town Hall takes its Southern-inspired restaurant to the next level with a full-blown Fat Tuesday celebration. For $70 ($80 at the door), you can join in on the festivities with beads, Abita beer, and of course, lots of food. BBQ shrimp, étouffée, and fried chicken make their way onto the menu but dancing to live music should balance out the gluttony. 342 Howard, 908-3900
High Cotton Kitchen brings Southern hospitality to the Haight with a "Mardi Gras Mambo" special from Sunday through Tuesday. Inspired by the song that proudly plays during Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, for just $10 you can fill up on a cochon de lait po-boy with red beans and rice. An indulgent lunch or just the perfect rainy weekend food. 1727 Haight, (at Second Act Marketplace)
Hopscotch brings the celebration to Oakland all day on Monday. Trade in your "meatless Monday" rule for shrimp po'boys and boudin balls served alongside classic Southern drinks like Hurricanes and Vieux carré. This may be the perfect cure for a case of the Mondays. 1915 San Pablo, Oakland, (510) 788-6217