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February 24, 2009

Top 10 Places to Celebrate Mardi Gras



The idea behind this Top 10 is to list the 10 best places for New Orleans cuisine in honor of the carnival season, which culminates today in Mardi Gras.

The problem is that we don't have that many restaurants to choose from, so the best may also be the worst. Still, it is an opportunity to get some new places into the discussion.

If you don't read this blog for anything but the Top 10 lists once a week, please read this first.

Here's my list: ...




* Acadiana in Washington. I rarely include DC restaurants in our discussions. But there are so few places on today's list that aren't just bars having an event in honor of Mardi Gras, I thought I would mention a restaurant that serves a serious, upscale version of New Orleans food.

* Ale Mary's in Fells Point. The menu for the week is completely Cajun, and today's blue plate special is beef Wellington with a Cajun crawfish cream sauce and crawfish empanada for $5.99. I'm speechless.

* Bayou Cafe in White Marsh. Known more for its music than its food, the new menu under a new chef still focuses on Cajun cuisine. Maybe the changes will make it more palatable to some of our commenters.

* Clarence's Taste of New Orleans in Edgewood. Ex-LIVE reviewer Karen Nitkin gave the food three stars, and the oyster po' boy sounds fabulous.

* Ethel and Ramone's in Mount Washington. This well-regarded, funky little place serves a mixture of Cajun cuisine and Maryland fare.

* Kooper's Tavern in Fells Point. The bar is featuring a Mardi Gras celebration tonight with hurricanes, fried chicken, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffée, barbecued shrimp and oysters.

* Louisiana in Fells Point. It's expensive, and it gets mixed reviews, but it's as close as Baltimore gets to French Creole cuisine in an elegant setting.

* Mother's Federal Hill Grille in Federal Hill. Half-price gumbo all day and beer specials.

* Pickles Pub downtown. Mick Kipp, owner of the Whiskey Island Pirate Shop, will be cooking crawfish and chicken and shrimp gumbo tonight from 7 p.m. till 10 p.m. It's all you can eat and drink (beer) for $25, plus a band that starts at 8 p.m.

* RA Sushi in Harbor East. To celebrate its first anniversary, RA is holding a Mardi RA party Thursday, with Cajun wings, a voodoo roll and Creole crawfish. The special drinks include a Queen of Parade and a King Cake Martini.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, FILE)


Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:14 AM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


At first glance the person in the photo was giving me the finger.


Some people think they jive me
But I know they must be crazy
Don't see dey misfortune
Guess they just too lazy

J'suis the Grand Zombie
My yellow belt of choison
Ain't afraid of no tom cat
Fill my brains with poison

Walk thru the fire
Fly thru the smoke
See my enemy
At the end of dey rope

Walk on pins and needles
See what they can do
Walk on gilded splinters
With the king of the Zulu

Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters
Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters

'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta)
'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta)
'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta)
'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta)

Roll outta my coffin
Drink poison in my chalice
Pride begins to fade
And y'all feel my malice

Put gris gris on your doorstep
Soon you'll be in the gutter
I can melt your heart like butter
A-a-and I can make you stutter

Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters
Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters.


RA Sushi and Mardi Gras party in the same sentence. I too am speechless...too funny.

We've eaten at Acadiana just once, but had a wonderful meal there. I would return in a heartbeat.

At first glance the person in the photo was giving me the finger.

Kinda freaky - I saw the same thing. Hopefully this doesn't mean I'm being Owl-ified.

I know that Kooper's Tavern provides live music from 3pm 'til close and special drinks as well! I'll be there to celebrate my french origins...

Zevonista, my voodoo juju and spanky dank gris-gris gonna owlify you all 'cause I walk on gilded splinters. Be careful lest you join the ranks of of Roland and Van Owen and walk the earth undead.

He ain't no Dr. John the Night Tripper or even Mac Rebbenack, but here's a decent cover by ex-Jam master cum white-boy R&B wannabe Paul Weller. Hey the other choice for a cover was Cher.

Owlie and Zevonista, I saw the same thing. Which probably says a lot about my relationships with women.

My last meal as a Washingtonian was at Acadiana - good call including them on this list! It is a shame Ale Mary's isn't open for lunch today. I'd be making the trip. That special sounds pretty special.

At first glance the person in the photo was giving me the finger.

I thought that too.

I have had jambalaya at Bayou Cafe before, and it was pretty good. Perhaps I ordered it just as they made a fresh batch.

Clarence's is terrific. It has become a tradition each year for my brother, mother and I to have have dinner there every Mardi Gras. It is a bit of a trek up the Route 40 way, but the quality and quantity are well worth it.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU...for not including Colepland's, the chain that serves "New Orlean's cuisine." Their food is just downright awful, and rather expensive for what you are being served.

That said, a box of Popeye's cajun fried chicken sure aint a bad way to celebrate the big day. Seriously, how can anyone NOT like Popeyes?

Guess were all Normal? I saw the same thing in the picture at first glance, the flip off? Well, Happy Mardi Gras! Some day hopefully I will make it back to Nu-Awlenz for the celebration. The last time I was there was 1969 and I had a great time, I think? I was a young and mostly inebriated new member of the U.S. Army. Great People, Music and outstanding food!
,,,,(*!*),,,, :)

At first glance the person in the photo was giving me the finger.

Me, too! I wondered when EL had become so aggressive.

Only women flip you the bird, Lissa? I seem to p*ss people off right across gender lines.

Donny B - admit it, a box of Zatarains is better than Copeland's anyday!

And, yes, I thought I was getting flipped off too!

What about Cats Eye Pub? I've always had a wonderful Mardi Gras blast there on Fat Tuesdays!

Zatarains is localish - McCormick Spice Co. That said, it is better than Copelands. Hunt down a box of Tony Chachere's (AKA Tony's) for your cajun-in-a-box needs.

LOL – Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, so if we are treated to Jesus giving us the bird, then we need to schedule EL for some happy time. Cool moss, cool moss, ...

Well, Eve, I do hack off people of all genders, but it is usually women I'm not trying to hack off, being fond of at least some members of the gender.

The Copeland's in New Orleans has great food. It's one of my favorite restaurants. The Popeyes here is not as good as Popeyes in New Orleans. It doesn't even smell the same. I usually don't eat New Orleans food anywhere but in New Orleans. If you visit both of these places in New Orleans, you'll understand. The chains do a good job of replicating the menus, but they aren't that great at replicating the taste.

Deanie's in New Orleans has great food. A co-worker here drives over there now and then, usually on the weekends, since its 5 hours one way.

I don't think there is any restaurant worth a 10 hour drive, but he apparently does.

Many years ago there used to be an establishment on Gay St. a few blocks south of Belair Rd. called Copelands Tire and Snack Bar. You could get a set of used tires and a hot dog.

PS - and for something close to a muffaletta, grab an Isabella sandwich from Isabella's in Little Italy. Prosciutto, sopressata, capicollo, asiago, olive spread, fresh roll...
It's not the Central Grocery genuine article, but it is fabulous.

You forgot the Cat's Eye!

Bird, Honey, that's not Jesus at the top of the page. Might be EL, which would explain why Auntie Em's or whichever restaurant that was, made a point of telling her they knew recognized her.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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