Ahhh Mardi Gras. That famously unofficial holiday that conjures up visions of 10 cent beaded necklaces being tossed in the air, Cajun & Creole food, endless glasses of Pat’s Hurricanes, street musicians on every corner and well, “generous” women unashamed to reveal their womanhood to strangers. Umm, yeah. Did you know Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday” in French) actually comes from Catholicism? The Wednesday following Mardi Gras is “Ash Wednesday” which is the beginning of Lent. Basically, Lent is a roughly 40-day period in late-winter/early spring where Catholics worldwide begin a period of fasting in preparation of the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection culminating on Easter. The fasting can be in the form of giving up certain foods like chocolate, soda or meat. One might give up watching TV, using Facebook or texting. Also, one can choose to take on things like praying more, exercising, going to church more or cooking more instead of eating out. Anyway, Fat Tuesday is a day for “fattening” up before Lent. I get the sense that many people don’t know what the origins of Mardi Gras are.

Having been to New Orleans, I almost feel obligated every year to eat something Cajun, Creole or native to New Orleans on Mardi Gras. My wife and I have already been to Stevie’s Creole Cafe in Encino (a little pricey) so, I found a food truck that happened to be close by (called “Slap Yo Mama” truck…not joking!) serving a couple N’awlins favorites: po’ boy sandwiches and gumbo. We ordered Cajun shrimp & catfish po’ boys, a bowl of gumbo (with crawfish, crab legs, shrimp & chicken) with mac & cheese and cornbread. Oh. Yes. The gumbo & catfish po’ boy were especially tasty. Hit the spot. Time to start saving up for our next trip to The Big Easy!!

Cajun shrimp po' boy from Slap Yo Mama truck

Catfish po' boy from Slap Yo Mama truck

Seafood & chicken gumbo from Slap Yo Mama truck