We may not live in the Big Easy, but even so, we can enjoy a bit of the colorful celebration of Mardi Gras in Sonoma County on Tuesday, March 1, in the form of live entertainment, rich feasts and traditional treats from local restaurants.
Check out these upcoming Mardi Gras events and meals around the county and transport yourself to the French Quarter.
Cajun and Creole cuisine, Fat Tuesday treats
Several restaurants in Sonoma County offer traditional Cajun and Creole cuisine on Fat Tuesday and throughout the year.
The Parish Cafe in Healdsburg (60 Mill St.) serves authentic New Orleans classics such as po-boys, gumbo, red beans and rice and beignets. The cafe has teamed up with neighboring Elephant in The Room for a special Mardi Gras celebration March 1, 3 – 8 p.m., with musical performances by Brian Francis Baudoin and Spike Sikes and His Awesome Hotcakes. There will be a crawfish boil in addition to regular menu favorites and wines from New Orleans natives (now Healdsburg locals) Flambeaux Wines. Limited presale tickets ($20) can be purchased at The Parish Cafe and The Elephant in the Room. 707-431-8474, theparishcafe.com
Sweet T’s Restaurant + Bar in Windsor (9098 Brooks Road S.) serves catfish, shrimp and grits, Cajun shrimp gumbo and other southern comfort food. 707-687-5185, sweettssouthern.com
Rocker Oysterfeller’s in Valley Ford (14415 Highway 1) serves beignets, po-boys, shrimp boils and New Orleans BBQ shrimp and grits. 707-876-1983, rockeroysterfellers.com
Simmer Claw Bar in Rohnert Park (595 Rohnert Park Expressway) serves Vietnamese-Cajun fusion, including flavorful seafood boils. 707-806-2080, simmerclawbar.com
Stockhome in Petaluma will serve semla, a Swedish cardamom-spiced bun filled with cream and marzipan and topped with a lavish swirl of whipped cream that’s traditionally enjoyed on Fat Tuesday in Sweden. Stockhome is offering the sweet treat all month long. Semla sells out fast, so order ahead for pickup at Stockhome (220 Western Ave.). 707-981-8511, stockhomerestaurant.com
For king cakes, call Scandia Bakery in Sonoma (500 W Napa St., 707-938-5820) to place an order. Scandia Bakery also makes Swedish semlor (plural of “semla”). Tips Roadside in Kenwood (8445 Sonoma Highway) offers a twist on the king cake: a King Cake shooter.
Start the celebrations early
Mardi Gras Party Under the Oaks: The Forestville Chamber of Commerce will host a Mardi Gras party under the oaks in Forestville Downtown Park on the weekend before Fat Tuesday. Forestville’s own Bourbon Street Brass Band will perform authentic New Orleans funk and jazz music. Local Cajun-inspired pop-ups Saucy Mama’s and Bayou on the Bay will be serving up comforting Creole cuisine and soul food. Saturday, Feb. 26, 1-4 p.m., at 6990 Front St., Forestville.
March 1 events
Mardi Gras at Sally Tomatoes: Sally Tomatoes will host a Mardi Gras night full of Cajun food, live music and comedy. Barrel Proof Comedy will supply stand-up comedy acts and Sonoma County band The Rotten Tomatoes will perform blues and rock ‘n’ roll covers. Guests can enjoy Gerard’s Famous Cajun Buffet with Cajun-style dishes such as dirty rice, big chicken mamou and cornbread. The event will be held 6-9 p.m. at Sally Tomatoes. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.
1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park, 707-665-9472, sallytomatoes.com
Petaluma Music Festival’s Mardi Gras Party: The Petaluma Music Festival will host its eighth annual Mardi Gras party live at The Block in Petaluma from 5 -9 p.m.
You can buy a Mardi Gras dinner (first-come, first-served), which includes jambalaya, red beans and rice, Cajun green beans, collard greens and cornbread. The Sonoma County-based jazz group The King Street Giants will perform New Orleans-style jazz music at 6 p.m.
Tickets (not including dinner) are $15 for adults 21 and older, $10 for teens 13 -20 and free for kids 12 and younger. Proceeds will benefit music programs at Petaluma public schools. Buy tickets on Eventbrite.
20 Grey St., Petaluma, 707-775-6003, theblockpetaluma.com
Fat Tuesday in the HopMonk Beergarden: HopMonk Sebastopol will celebrate Fat Tuesday in its cozy beer garden with The Pulsators performing New Orleans R&B and rock ‘n’ roll fusion. The outdoor show is free and starts at 5 p.m.
230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol, 707-829-7300, hopmonk.com
Fat Tuesday at Rio Nido Roadhouse: Rio Nido Roadhouse will host a Fat Tuesday celebration with the Bourbon Street Brass Band performing funky live music. New Orleans-themed dinner specials and cocktails will be available throughout the night. 5-8 p.m.
14540 Canyon Two Road, Guerneville, 707-869-0821, rionidoroadhouse.com