The first time I visited New Orleans was my sophomore year in college. My friends and I went for Spring break. Picture 6 girls in one hotel room. As crazy as it sounds, it was so much fun.I was in awe of the city. The food, the people, the street performers, the food, the music, the food, the culture. Did I mention the food?! Since then I have returned to New Orleans a number of times, both for work and for fun. It’s always a good time when I visit. Unfortunately, I won’t make it to Mardi Gras this year so I decided to do the next best thing, have a Mardi Gras style dinner party! Send out an Evite and laissez les bons temps rouler!
If you’re feeling ambitious you can host a dinner party at home. Here are some great recipes for a fun creole menu. If you want to host at home but are not up for cooking, many local grocery stores can prepare your seafood for you, which means you can just set it on the table and take all the credit for it (shh, I won’t tell. Why, yes I did catch this craw fish and steam it myself). The route I went was to make a reservation at a restaurant because I wanted to enjoy myself and not have to worry about cooking and cleaning, especially considering Mardi Gras falls on a weekday. Dallas has lots of great restaurants with Creole inspired menus( here, here,here).
Whether or not you are hosting at home or at a restaurant you can still set the scene and get festive. My go to spot for decorations when I am hosting a party is my local Dollar Tree. Please do not sleep on Dollar Tree! They have so many cute decorations for every occasion. I typically visit Dollar Tree before I check the party store. For my Mardi Gras dinner I found masks, beads, crowns, and feather boas. I got to the restaurant a few minutes early to set-up. I placed a mask in front of each table setting, which my guests got to take home as a favor. And since sweetness is my weakness and I have never met a dessert I did not like, I had a Mardi Gras theme cake as well. However, lots of bakeries carry king cakes this time of year, which is another option. Even if you can’t make it to New Orleans, you should still catch some beads and enjoy a good meal with the ones you love in honor of Mardi Gras.