Mardi Gras, that traditional night of preemptive gluttony before the start of Lent, is just days away: It falls on February 17 this year, which means we're already in the paczki window of Fat Thursday to Fat Tuesday.
There are plenty of ways to indulge in Fat Tuesday around the city; on Sunday, February 15, around 10:35am, I'll be on WGN Radio's Dean Richards's Sunday Morning talking about five of Chicago's best Mardi Gras events:
Beads for Hope Enjoy Cajun cuisine, N'awlins-style entertainment and the kind of hurricanes that come in a glass, all for a good cause at the Newberry Library's benefit for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Mardi Gras Crawl Your krewe can get all the debauchery of a traditional bar crawl without setting foot outside at Navy Pier's indoor progressive party, where you can collect beads and beers at eight of the pier's participating bars.
Sauced Night Market The monthly market pops up at Emporium Arcade Bar's Logan Square branch with a variety of tasty Fat Tuesday treats, with DJs and a live brass band providing Mardi Gras atmosphere.
Barrelhouse Flat The Lincoln Park cocktail spot offers a menu of classic New Orleans drinks on Tuesday, with Pimm's cups, sazeracs, absinthe frappes and more set to a big-band soundtrack.
The Southern The genteel Wicker Park gastropub offers a $15 all-you-can-eat crawfish boil from 6pm to close, with a tap takeover by Louisiana brewery Abita (of Purple Haze and Turbodog fame).