Raleigh, N.C. — I'm from New Orleans and I am always a little homesick this time of year. But there isn't any reason why you can't celebrate Mardi Gras in the Triangle!
Fat Tuesday is officially Tuesday, Feb. 28, and I've got a guide for you to enjoy Mardi Gras in the Triangle!
Here's a list of local places offering King Cakes - the official food of carnival season:
Note: I have not found a place that serves an authentic New Orleans King Cake. For one of those, you will need to order from New Orleans. I prefer Haydel's Bakery but there are a ton of options out there.
La Farm Bakery (Cary) - Their bread is awesome! The King Cakes aren't filled, but they are pretty good.
Whole Foods, Lowes Foods and Walmart (various locations) - Check with the bakery section to find out if you can order one or when they will be available.
Stick Boy Bread Company (Fuquay-Varina) - Haven't had one of their King Cakes yet, but know they do offer them.
Main Street Grille Cafe and Bakery (Wake Forest) - Haven't had one of their cakes yet, but they look really authentic and have a little plastic baby inside, per the New Orleans' tradition.
Balcazar Bakery (Raleigh) - This International bakery serves up traditional Colombian King Cakes. They are filled with fruit and contain some cream on top. Good, but not like the traditional New Orleans' King Cakes. Much less sugar.
Great Harvest Bread Company (Raleigh) is also taking orders for King Cakes.
And if you want to try to make a King Cake yourself - here is a great recipe that isn't difficult and gives you that King Cake flavor without all of the work. Also, you can try to make your own King Cake at home with this recipe.
Mardi Gras events in the Triangle
Durham Mardi Gras - This has become the official Mardi Gras celebration in the Triangle. And it grows every year. Starting at CCB Plaza in downtown Durham, the walking parade begins at 7 p.m. and then takes Foster Street to West Geer Street. Following the parade, there will be live music at Motorco, Fullsteam, The Bar Durham, The Blue Note Grill and The Pit. The festivities are free!
More Mardi Gras events in Durham and Chapel Hill:
Samedi Gras at Scrap Exchange - The Pinhook will host this party on Saturday, Feb. 25. There will be live music from The Chit Nasty Band and The Rissi Palmer Band. Tickets are $10 and help cover expenses associated with Tuesday night's party.
Raleigh's Mardi Gras Downtown - This Friday, Feb. 24, bar crawl will kick off at My Way Tavern before hitting up other bars on Glenwood South.
Oak and Dagger's Fat Tuesday party - There will be Mardi Gras-themed food specials, the release of two new spring beers and more on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Mardi Gras Party at The Pour House - Boom Unit Brass Band will host this party on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Enjoy traditional standards and modern brass band hits . Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door.
Musical Mardi Gras Celebration - The Triangle Traditional Jazz Society presents this celebration Tuesday, Feb. 28, featuring Gregg Gelb and the Second Line Stompers performing traditional Dixieland jazz in the New Orleans tradition to usher in the Lenten season on Fat Tuesday. Tickets are $15 at the door.
Wake Forest Mardi Gras - The town of Wake Forest will host its annual Mardi Gras Street Festival on Saturday, Feb. 25. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a walking parade, contests, live music and an inflatable playground. Admission is free.
Mardi Gras Madness - The Eva Perry Regional Library will host this party on Saturday, Feb. 25, starting at 3 p.m. Learn about the holiday through games, crafts and a story. Space is limited.