Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras and Carnaval specials

Food, cocktails and music to transport you to New Orleans or Rio

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Cactus Bar & Grill
Scarf down some crawfish for a great cause. On Tuesday, March 8, Cactus hosts a crawfish-eating contest for charity; the chow-down begins at 6pm. The event is free to attend and a $25 donation to St. Baldrick’s to participate. All contestants will get a cactus T-shirt for tackling on the three pounds of crawfish, and first place will win a $50 certificate to Cactus Bar & Grill. Wash all that crawfish down with a drink special of Louisiana beer Abita Turbodog for $3 per pint. DontDrinkAndTrade.com (404 S Wells, 312-922-3830).

Casey Morgan's
Come out on Tuesday, March 8, and indulge in a $20 drink and meal package including domestic bottles, Bacardi and Malibu hurricane cocktails and a Cajun-style buffet from 6–10pm. The party will continue with $5 Bacardi and Malibu cocktails, beads and prize giveaways. www.caseymorans.com (3660 N Clark St, 773-755-4444).

Celebrate with a Carnival on Fat Tuesday with live music from Carpacho & Su Super Combo, sexy samba dancers from Shirley Vieira of Brasil via Chicago, a stilt walker and Carnival-inspired menu by executive chef David Dworshak. Every Wednesday in March, enjoy live music entertainment from 7:30–10:30pm. featuring some of Chicago’s most renowned Latin bands. Indulge in Carnivale’s soulful Latino cuisine. Admission is free and so is the fun. www.carnivalechicago.com (702 W Fulton St, 312-850-5005)

Enjoy a taste of New Orleans with complimentary beignets with dinner at deca restaurant inside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Similar to the official Louisiana doughnut using deep-fried choux pastry dough, the classic Southern dessert offered by pastry chef Eric Estrella is dipped in cinnamon sugar and served with dark chocolate sauce and vanilla pastry cream. decarestaurant.com (120 E Delaware Pl, 312-573-5160).

Division Street Turns into Bourbon Street
Join Bootleggers, the Original Mother's, and She-nannigans House of Beer as they turn Division Street into Bourbon Street for a Chicago-style Mardi Gras party. Starting at 7pm, head to Bootleggers for Hurricanes. Keep the cup for $3 refills as it holds its annual "New Orleans Dance Off." At 8pm, go across the street to the Original Mother's for duo Mike & Joe. The show starts at 9pm with beads, beers and prizes for a $5 suggested donation. Next, head over to She-nannigans starting at 11pm for dance music and prizes all night long. rushanddivision.com Bootleggers (13 W Division St, 312-266-0944); The Original Mother's (26 W Division St, 312-642-7251); She-nannigans (16 W Division, 312-642-2344).

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