Knock, knock: Who dat? Fat Tuesday, dat's who!
11th Street Station Light-filled and cheery with brightly colored walls and an open floor plan, this place serves up a raved-over crust on fried items as well as the best peach cobbler in these parts. It has your Mardi Gras on burn. 1050 E. 11th #100.
The Boiling Pot Sample fresh, boiled seafood of every variety: shrimp, blue crabs, and crawfish (in season), as well as boudin, gumbo, oysters on the half shell, and red beans and rice. It'll be celebrating this year with crawfish specials and party favors. 700 E. Sixth.
Cherrywood Coffeehouse Listen to the Bustamoovalators while enjoying dinner specials and party favors at this neighborhood gathering place, starting at 6pm. 1400 E. 38½.
Evangeline Cafe will have your party favors, as well as three bands playing zydeco and everything else, plus beer and dinner both inside and outside. This place specializes in the traditional dishes of Southern Louisiana. Terrific food, friendly service, and live music most nights. 8106 Brodie #110.
French Quarter Grille has a few surprises in store for you this Fat Tuesday: baskets of warm rolls paired with the house herb butter, desserts such as croissant bread pudding and orange-infused crème brûlée, and entrées including Rib Eye Pontchartrain, French Quarter Salmon, and Chicken Benjamin. Folk-art murals and Mardi Gras masks evoke the French Quarter as much as the cuisine here. 13000 N. I-35 #600.
Gumbo's Enjoy the regular menu along with drink specials that put the blast back in Fat Tuesday. Located in the historic Brown Building, this place keeps both regulars and newcomers coming back for fresh fruit-of-the-sea preparations like Redfish Francine. 710 Colorado #100.
Kate's Southern Comfort This popular trailer near Zilker Park turns out Nak-i-dish (ground pork and beef mixed with onions and stuffed inside a puff pastry crust), red beans and rice with juicy chunks of andouille sausage, and terrific crawfish pie. 1604 E. Sixth.
Nubian Queen Lola's Cajun Soul Food Kitchen A proprietress as friendly as her food is good serves up huge portions of burgers and Cajun chow from a succinct menu. The dining room is communal and friendly, and Lola is a blessing. Catch live gospel on Fat Tuesday. 1815 Rosewood.
The Original New Orleans Po-Boy and Gumbo Shop It's BYOB here, which is great: You can have exactly what you want to wring out those sins. A subtle kick from the red beans and rice, combined with the perfect breading on the fried shrimp and oyster po'boys, makes everyone a crazy Cajun. 1603 S. Congress.
Shoal Creek Saloon This Cajun oasis on Shoal Creek serves great South Louisiana chow and ice-cold beer, along with a warm and fuzzy ambience. On Fat Tuesday, try the grilled salmon with chipotle-cream sauce, and enjoy party favors, smoked pig, jambalaya, and $4 Hurricanes. 909 N. Lamar.
Cypress Grill The Mardi Gras plans at this Louisiana cafe have us drumming our fingers. Jean-Pierre & the Zydeco Angels provide the backdrop for Abita beer and Hurricane specials, king cakes, and a huge Fat Tuesday spread. 4404-L W. William Cannon.
Parrain's Louisiana Kitchen You'll find an authentic, made-from-scratch Mardi Gras here, along with plenty of Abita beer. This unassuming storefront just uphill from the lake offers crawfish cakes with Mermaid sauce, as well as a hearty gumbo, crusty po'boys, and a complete by-the-pound menu. 18653 FM 1431, Jonestown.
Red's Porch Get ready for the Cajun Fire Challenge, which involves lots of spicy food and beer. Wash it all down with Treaty Oak Platinum Rum frozen Hurricanes. The slogan here promises "half Cajun, half Tex-Mex, half Southern." Enjoy ambivalence in the form of dinner. 3508 S. Lamar.