Fat Tuesday is the traditional name for the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It is more commonly known as Mardi Gras, which is simply Fat Tuesday in French. Fat Tuesday marks the day with feasting before the fasting season of Lent begins.
Our newest member to The Soul Pitt family, Food Critic and Foodie Blogger Briana White has came of with a list of some good spots in Pittsburgh to get your grub on for those of you who plan to have that big feast before giving up one of your favorite foods for Lent.
Want to feel like you are in the heart of The French Quarter this Fat Tuesday? Visit NOLA in Market Square, it’ll give you that feeling without leaving Pittsburgh. They always serve authentic New Orleans cuisine, and they have a special menu carved out for this festive day. The starters include Loaded Sweet Potato Fries with White Truffle Crème Fraiche, Wild Boar Bacon, Fontina Cheese and Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves; I need that in my life!!! They are also serving a Seafood Slider Trio and a Boudin (Sausage) dish. Entrees options are a Blackened Redfish with Pecan Rice Pilaf, Green Tomato Gastrique, Braised Kale & Fried Pickled Okra, and a Cajun Fried Chicken Dinner with Creamed Spinach, Waffles , Wild Boar Bacon Gravy (oh my!!) and NOLA Hot Sauce. You can’t go wrong with either of these dishes, especially since you get a free King Cake with the purchase of any entrée. In addition to the food, there will be Face Painting, King Cake prizes, Balcony Bead Throwing and John Gresh’s Gris Gris band will be providing live Jazz Music.
The Hop House knows how to keep it hopping every day of the week, not just on Fat Tuesday. I go for the wings! They have over 20 flavors to choose from. My ultimate favorite is the Honey Jalapeño. It’s the right amount of spice and sauce that will have you licking your fingers (For real, I do it all the time). They also have $2 Tex Mex Tuesdays.
Penn Brewery on the North Side is known for its beer and traditional German fare, however, they created a special Fat Tuesday menu that is sure to get you out of your Lederhosen and into Mardi Gras Masks and Beads. They are offering a la carte appetizers such as Shrimp Remoulade and Creole Deviled Eggs with Mardi Gras Slaw; entrees include a Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo over White Rice and the soup of the day is a house made Jambalaya. They will also have live jazz music performed by The Red Hot Ramblers from 7pm to 10pm.
I figured what better way to honor the tradition of Boeuf Gras (beuf grah), than eating a nice juicy burger from BRGR .Boeuf Gras is French for fatted bull. The Frenchmen would gorge themselves on their last meat before lent. Go big with the Button Buster Burger, which combines Braised Beef Short Ribs, White Cheddar Cheese, Béarnaise Aioli and Crispy Onions. I seriously got hungry just typing that sentence!! Whatever burger you choose, just make sure you get a Handcrafted Milkshake to wash it down!
Local Bar + Kitchen have you and your friends covered for Fat Tuesday! Specials are $6 Flatbreads, ½ off selected appetizers as well as beads, masks and giveaways. Combine that with the great drinks (I recommend the Local Punch), and the large variety of other menu items, you are sure to be the Captain of your Krewe!
Hungry yet? Look out for more from Soul Pitt’s Food Critic Briana White in our Spring issue that will be out sometime in April 2015. In the meantime, check out her foodie blog at www.breeliciousbites.com