Fat Tuesday – always the day before Ash Wednesday, which is 46 days before Easter – falls on Feb. 13 this year. Translated from the French word Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday was once known more as the spiritual Shrove Tuesday. The transition to the more celebratory Fat Tuesday likely occurred because of the tradition of many Catholics to begin a fast from rich, fatty foods the next day.
No matter their affiliation or plans for the next day, many folks use Fat Tuesday as an excuse to have an indulgent feast. And Wichita restaurants are happy to provide many options. In honor of Mardi Gras 2018, here are some sweet and savory options to consider.
1. Fat Tuesday Feast lunch or dinner @ Harvest Kitchen
The seasonally-inspired menu at this restaurant and bar inside Hyatt Regency Wichita takes on a Cajun flair on Feb. 13. Join Harvest Kitchen for a Fat Tuesday Feast at lunch or dinner, including NOLA-inspired creations like gumbo with chicken, andouille, shrimp and okra; crawfish etouffee with black rice; or hearty and spicy seafood jambalaya. You can also select one of their hand-cut steaks, prepared to your specifications. Reservations can be made at 316-613 6300.
2. Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras Celebration @ Aero Plains Brewing
The craft brewers behind Aero Plains Brewing are having a Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras Celebration starting at 6 p.m. There will be plenty of craft beer flowing and Chisholm's American Beef & Ale House, the new restaurant at the Doubletree by Hilton Wichita Airport, will be selling jambalaya and etouffee on-site. The band Huffy and the Night Train will start playing at 7 p.m.
Beignets – often called the donut’s upscale cousin – are famous at Café Du Monde in New Orleans, the city most associated with Mardi Gras. The classic version is simply fried dough topped with powdered sugar.
You can get variations of decadent beignets at several Wichita restaurants. Public at the Brickyard makes Chocolate Beignets: filled with warm chocolate, sprinkled with powered sugar and accompanied by a sweet dipping sauce. Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar makes Granny Smith Apple Beignets: frittered apples, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce. Newport Grill makes Bittersweet Chocolate Beignets: chocolate filled petite beignets, coffee creme anglaise, powdered sugar.
4. Milkfloat desserts
The neon sign inside this Delano District hot spot says it all: Celebrate Dessert. For Fat Tuesday, they’ll be offering king cakes, a sweet cake that is a Mardi Gras tradition; paczki, a traditional Polish fruit-filled donut-type pastry; and New Orleans-style iced coffee. They sell individual king cakes, which are made with brioche bread stuffed with cream cheese and topped with purple (representing justice), green (for faith) and gold (for power) sugar crystals. You can call ahead to order a full-size version, which will come with a tiny plastic baby hidden inside. The custom is that whoever gets the piece with the hidden trinket is king for the day.
5. King cake donuts
The Donut Whole has developed a combination of the traditional beignet and king cake: a king cake donut with random hidden babies inserted in the batch and topped with icing and sprinkled with brightly-colored sugar.
6. Doo-Dah Diner Fat Tuesday Cajun Feast
For the fifth year, Chef Patrick Shibley and his wife Timirie Shibley are throwing a Fat Tuesday Cajun Feast with proceeds going to a local charity. The menu includes jambalaya, shrimp etouffee, red beans and rice, blackened chicken, crawfish, shrimp & crawfish boil, oysters on the half shell, jalapeno cornbread muffins, King Cake and more. It’s all-you-can-eat for $30 per person ($15 for ages 11 and under) and the meal is served from 5 to 8 p.m. Reservations are encouraged.
7. Da Cajun Shak
Wichita has one restaurant that serves Cajun food full-time and Fat Tuesday is their busiest night of the year. Da Cajun Shak has been owned and operated since 2005 by a family of Cajun transplants from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Their menu features fried seafood, fried alligator and Cajun classics including meatloaf, crawfish, gumbo and red beans and sausage. Many of their recipes, including an amazing bread pudding, are made from bayou family recipes passed down several generations.
You could easily eat your way across Wichita with indulgent foods any day of the year, so save this blog for the day you’re feeling especially gluttonous!