Metro Detroit’s Fat Tuesday activities tend to be dominated by Paczki Day events in Hamtramck including the tradition of eating paczki, but there’s a lot more ways to celebrate around Mardi Gras season. Throughout the region, restaurants and bars are marking the occasion in their own ways. For New Orleans-style festivities there are pop-ups and special menus as well as distillery releases paczki-flavored vodka, themed-marathons, and a whole lot of extra opportunities to eat king cake and Polish food. Below find a brief guide to some of the Mardi Gras events happening around town in the lead up to Fat Tuesday.
Pop-Ups and Classes: New Orleans-style food pop-up and forthcoming West Village restaurant Gabriel Hall is going all out for Mardi Gras in February with a quartet of parties, pop-ups, and cooking classes throughout the month. Kick things off from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 16 with a post-Valentine’s Day brunch at La Feria featuring king cake-stuffed french toast, fish and grits, and more. Then sign up for one of two cooking classes: The first, hosted by Keep Growing Detroit on Thursday, February 20, focuses on Creole cuisine. The second, at Sister Pie on Friday, February 21, will teach participants how to make their own king cake. Round things off on Fat Tuesday with shrimp po’boys, chicken and beef sausage gumbo, and more from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Queens Bar.
Carnevale Ball: PizzaPlex is going all-out for Mardi Gras with a ticketed event from 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, February 29 featuring special pizzas, carnevale desserts made in collaboration with SheWolf Pastificio & Bar, music from MavOne, contortionists, mimes, and more. Tickets are $25 per person and include an Aperol spritz.
Polish Pop-Ups: Pietrzyk Pierogi is currently taking pre-orders for paczki and planning several upcoming pop-ups across town. Drop in on Thursday, February 20 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for Polish food at Kuhnhenn Brewery or for brunch from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 23 at Urbanrest Brewery in Ferndale. Head to Ant Hall from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fat Tuesday during the official Hamtramck festivities for food and music by the Polish Muslims.
Paczki Vodka: Detroit City Distillery is releasing a special edition bottle of Polish potato vodka distilled with 12 dozen raspberry paczki from New Palace Bakery in Hamtramck. Paczki Day Vodka will be available from 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, February 22 at a release party at the Riopelle Street tasting room for $30 per bottle. Customers can then try it out in cocktails on tasters from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 23, and Monday, February 24, as well as from noon to 11 p.m. on Fat Tuesday.
Louisa Takeover: Pastry chef Brenna Welch of Rose’s Fine Foods joined the restaurant by way of New Orleans a little over a year ago and is bringing some of the flavors of the Big Easy to the restaurant with her Louisa takeover from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on February 18. The menu features king cake, hush puppies, bahn mi, gumbo, Hurricanes, and more. Tickets are $15.
Creole Family-Style Dinner: Chef Thomas Lents and the team from the Apparatus Room are taking reservations for a Mardi Gras family-style meal from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fat Tuesday. The menu features muffaletta-style chopped salad, sole and shrimp etouffee, andouille-stuffed chicken, and more for $48 per person.
Mardi Gras Specials: Mudgie’s Deli will be channeling Louisiana flavors on its menu from Tuesday, February 11 through Fat Tuesday. Expect specials like shrimp po’boys, Cajun shrimp bisque, red beans and rice, and alligator stew. During brunch, there will be options like bananas foster and Cajun crab cake benedict.
Mardi Gras Menu: Chef Matt Johnson is once again bringing New Orleans flavors to the menu at Batch Brewing Company for five days, beginning on Friday, February 21. On Sunday, February 23, diners stop by for a jazz brunch with dishes like smoked salmon deviled eggs, oyster on the half shell, bananas foster waffles, beignets, and more from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Paczki Run: The eighth annual Tour de Troit Paczki Run is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 22. Cheer on brave souls as they jog for a paczek and beer.
Mardi Gras Dinners and Workshops: Frame is hosting a series of dinners and events in Hazel Park this February inspired by Fat Tuesday celebrations. On Sunday, February 16, diners can pick up tickets to a vegan Polish dinner by Nosh Pit for $60 per person. Then, on Wednesday, February 19, learn the finer points of paczki making with a class led by chef Rebecca LaMalfa. Round off the month with a Mardi Gras-themed dinner from chef Chris Johnson featuring live jazz.
German-Style Karneval: The Dakota Inn Rathskeller is doing a German-style Karneval party on Friday, February 21 complete with German music, face painting, beads, and chicken hats. The cost is $3 and reservations are being accepted at 313-867-9722.
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