the time of my life spent in baton rouge, louisiana is never to be forgotten. i attended graduate school at LSU, and while i may have emptied my brain of much of what i learned, i will always remember some of my happiest moments there, many of them having to do with mardi gras.
down there, it's not a day, it's a whole season. beads, king cakes, zydeco, parades, crawfish, dancing, file gumbo, jazz, etouffee, throw-me-somethin'-mister!, hurricanes, jambalaya, creole seasoning, partypartyparty.
i met some of my very best friends in the entire world there. i learned a lot about myself there. and i will make it back there with my children sometime so they can get a sense of what their mama loved so much about louisiana.
since we've been in california, everybody looks at me oddly when i ask about obtaining a king cake. nobody gets it. yes, i could order online and have it shipped, but it's not the same as walking into the bakery section of the local grocery store and choosing from among ten different flavor combinations.
nobody does fish fry during lent out here, either, for that matter. at least we had those to look forward to in st. louis. diana could eat her weight in the macaroni and cheese made by the church ladies in huge pans and devour an entire fillet of fried catfish plus a serving of canned green beans when she was three years old. she wouldn't need to eat again for several days, like a snake.
imagine my thrill, then, when i learned that a local restaurant, maria's cantina, would be hosting a mardi gras celebration, actually on the correct date, no less!
being the mama i am, i made sure to arrive with the kids before the jazz band started playing. the patio seating was perfect for the evening, and we had unfettered views of the drummer and tuba player. ander was in heaven being so close to an actual trombone and trumpet. yes, it did get pretty loud at times, but mostly the kids wiggled in their seats and devoured their food.
maria's makes fairly astounding tortilla chips, and their salsa is rich without being overly spicy, so ander just helped himself to it. he is a fan of shredded chicken (used in stuffing burritos and enchiladas) and mexican rice, and that kept him pretty happy. that and the ubiquitous rocket.
|good weather for a launch|
i ended up having to share some of the crawfish from my gumbo with her, too! plenty of sausage and seafood in there, though, so i didn't go hungry.
now, they didn't have king cake, just cupcakes in the traditional trio of purple, green, and gold, and neither of the kids got a baby, but that's ok. i have a stash of babies from years past to play with.
and the hurricane definitely did not remind me of pat o'brien's in new orleans, but that was ok, too. in fact, i liked it even better.
for those of you unfamiliar with music from the bayou, may i suggest these child-friendly offerings from our home collection:
papillion cajun for kids
putumayo presents: cajun, with songs such as...
we sure did let the good times roll!