Thursday, January 24, 2013

Uncrate the Sun at Winnipeg Mardi Gras by Margaret Ullrich

Winter in Manitoba...
If you're of a certain age, and weren't a snowbird, you remember when Eaton's held the Uncrate the Sun event every winter at about this time.
For a few days we'd pretend we were someplace warm.
Spain... Mexico… warm, with different, spicy food.
I mean, how many pyrogies can anyone eat?

Last week Paul and I attended a food tasting event for Winnipeg Mardi Gras.
A sampling of what they'll be serving at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
It was a bit like Eaton's Uncrate the Sun.
The weekend before we'd had freezing rain, followed by a blizzard.
Did we enjoy a couple of hours of New Orleans Mardi Gras warmth and fun?

What is Mardi Gras?
... a traveler has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans. - Mark Twain

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, the last night of eating rich food before the Lenten fasting.
Whatever… we loved celebrating Mardi Gras in January.

Winnipeg Mardi Gras takes place on February 15 and 16.
It just misses being on Fat Tuesday on February 12.
So what?
We're in Manitoba.
How many winter events get postponed because of the weather here?

Winnipeg Mardi Gras happens on the weekend right after Valentine's Day.
Make this a special Valentine's Day and go to Winnipeg Mardi Gras.
Experience an evening in the Big Easy without leaving town!
Valentine's Day at Mardi Gras - a two-fer!
What Winnipegger doesn't love a deal?

The Festival du Voyageur starts the same weekend, but it goes until the 24th.
You still have plenty of time to see it and have a bowl of pea soup.

We enjoyed Fried Oyster and Cheese Po' Boy Sandwiches, Crawfish Étouffée
Deep Fried Pickle Spears, Southern Sweet Potato Fries, Louisiana Crab Cakes, 
Cajun Carbonarra with Spicy Sausage and Chicken, and New Orleans Shrimp Creole.

The food had been professionally prepared by the Convention Centre staff and a cook from the Met theatre's new Metropolitan Restaurant.
They did an excellent job of preparing the dishes.
They were also very friendly, eager to answer questions about the ingredients.

Think Cajun means red hot chilli peppers?
Afraid you'll have a four alarm fire in your stomach?
Don't be.
The food was well seasoned but not overwhelmingly hot.
Craving a fiery experience?
There were bottles of hot sauce available at each station.

The Deep Fried Pickle Spears were interesting.
Be warned: pickles are mostly water.
After frying they were like solid steam.
Nibble, don't chomp down on it.

Cajun Carbonarra has a definite garlic kick.
If you're celebrating Valentine's Day, share a dish.
Just saying... 

And to drink?
We sampled Fireball Whisky, a blend of cinnamon and whisky.
Delightful… do try it!

Want to come to Winnipeg Mardi Gras on February 15 and 16?
The general admission tickets are $16.00 and can be purchase through

Come, put on a set of Mardi Gras beads, eat, party and enjoy!!

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