Mardi Gras outside of New Orleans doesn't have to be just throwing on plastic beads and calling it a day. For real revelers, Mardi Gras is a very big deal and means a lot of good food and following of traditions. Luckily, Portland Oregon has a lot of Southern and Cajun inspired food so even if you can't make it to a parade, which takes over city streets some years, you can still eat well. Eat Acadia Bistro serves up Cajun Creole food all year round, from catfish to gumbo, but offers a special Mardi Gras menu on Fat Tuesday. Dessert includes a slice of housemade king cake and finding the baby in your piece means a chance to win a prize. Tapalaya has a casual Cajun-Creole flair that celebrates a mix of traditional Orleans grub like jambalaya, with a taste of the Vietnamese flavor that has become a staple in the Big Easy over the past several years. Tulip Pastry Shop in the St John's neighborhood offers a limited number of their own version of New Orleans King Cake, covered in frosting. Nothing like the colorful New Orleans version of king cake, Ken's Artisan Bakery offers Galettes des Rois around Mardi Gras time, in the traditional French style of layered puff pastry and almond cream. Drink New Orleans is the birthplace of numerous famous cocktails. Celebrate Mardi Gras by enjoying a Sazerac at Eat Oyster Bar. The Hurricane may have originated in New Orleans, but tiki bars like Hale Pele have perfected the frozen concoction. Be Merry Hosted by a group of New Orlean's ex-pats, the annual Portland Mardi Gras Ball at the Wonder Ballroom brings the famous debauchery of Mardi Gras to Rose City. Local musicians and every genre of music play alongside a crowning of a king and queen of the ball. Contests and prizes are handed out along with plastic beads and plenty of fun. And slices of colorful king cake are handed to mark the festivities. Last year's Ball sold out early, so get your tickets in advance. Carly Z. is a freelance writer from Los Angeles that currently spends her time exploring Portland. She has written for many websites on topics including travel, food and drink.
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