It's a good thing Ash Wednesday is next week, because you're going to need to do a lot of repenting after this weekend. You've got an excuse to indulge in gumbo, King Cake and plenty of beer because it's Mardi Gras, so go ahead and sin a little. You can ask for forgiveness next week, if you're into that kind of thing.
We're used to talking about chili cook-offs, but it's not often we see a gumbo battle go down in these parts. Tomorrow night, five local restaurants and catering companies will be cooking up the traditional Cajun stew at KNON's Tenth Annual Mardi Gras Gumbo Party.The competitors-- including Alligator Cafe, Offshore's Nextdoor and Crawdad's! of Dallas catering company--will vye for the title of best gumbo. While you're getting a taste of the competition, enjoy Zydeco stylings from Lil Jimmie and the Feedback Gang. Put on your jester hat or masquerade mask and head to Poor David's Pub (1313 South Lamar) to party at 7 p.m.
In Oak Cliff, Mardi Gras is serious business; that's why it takes two days to celebrate. Runners will be draped in beads and boas at tomorrow morning's Dash for the Beads 5k and Costume Contest, and guests will be decked out in extravagant costumes at the Masquerade Ball at Kessler Theatre tomorrow night. On Sunday afternoon, floats -- including an Alice in Wonderland themed entry and one dedicated to Harry Potter -- will take to the streets for the annual parade, and at 3 p.m. Bishop Arts will transform into a Creole block party for the first-ever Oak Cliff Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil. As Hanna reported on Tuesday, Michelle Carpenter of Zen is planning on boiling 500 pounds of the buggers, so guests better be ready to peel quite a few crustaceans. You can purchase tickets for $15 here or $20 at the event, and part of the proceeds benefit Go Oak Cliff's community projects. Your ticket gets you one pound of crawfish, but you can buy an additional pound for $8. Wash down your Cajun feast with a few cold beers (for an additional cost). We said a few. This isn't the French Quarter.
Speaking of cold beer, we see a free pitcher in your future. Seriously. The good people at Cowboy Chow (2801 Commerce St.) love Texas Independence Day so much that they want to keep the celebration going just a little longer. Today and tomorrow, they're offering a free pitcher of Franconia Lager with the purchase of an entrée. CFS and locally crafted lager for lunch? Those guys at the Alamo would approve.