Whether you call it Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Carnival, it usually conjures up images of flying beads, masqueraded party-goers on floats, and general all-out debauchery. But you don’t need to attend a parade this week to join in the decadent festivities. A charity gala featuring acrobats and award-winning chefs, a Brazilian celebration of cuisine and cocktails, and a good old-fashioned Cajun-style crawfish eating contest are all offerings this week for the foodie looking to share in some of gluttonous fun.
Redmoon Spectacle Lunatique Gala
Match out-of-this-world food with mind-blowing theater as Redmoon hosts its annual Spectacle Lunatique Gala at Redmoon Central on Saturday, March 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Since 1990, the theater organization throws the one-night only showcase of its signature large-scale, site-specific, spectacle performance work (think equal parts pageantry, gadgetry, puppetry and acrobatics) all for an invited audience of donors that gather in support of the companyʼs civic mission of creating public art for the city of Chicago. This year, the group has teamed up with four 2011 Michelin Guide Chicago Starred Restaurants, four 2011 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Restaurants, three James Beard Award winning/nominated chefs, four “Best New Chefs” listed in Food & Wine, two Jean Banchet Award winners, a Bravo “Top Chef” winner, an “America’s Best Mixologist” from the program On the Rocks, and more.
The list of chefs includes: Paul Kahan (Blackbird), Jessica Oloroso (Black Dog Gelato), Giuseppe Tentori (BOKA), Chris Pandel (The Bristol), Charles Joly (The Drawing Room), Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat), Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate), Randy Zweiban (Province), Jimmy Bannos, Jr. (The Purple Pig), Michael Carlson (Schwa), Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia), Bill Kim (Urban Belly), as well as select students participating in the dessert and hors d’oeuvres service from The French Pastry School of Chicago and Kendall College School of Culinary Arts.
The cost for individual tickets range from $50 for late-night entry at 10:30 p.m. including drinks, dancing and dessert, to $175, which includes tastings from Chicago’s premier chefs and a Redmoon Spectacle moment at 8:30 p.m. VIP tickets include early entry at 6:30 p.m. and range from $650 for two guests to $2500 for eight guests. Corporate packages are also available and range from $2,500 to $10,000. All tickets can be purchased by calling 312.850.8440 x100 or online at www.redmoon.org. Proceeds fund Redmoonʼs Neighborhood Arts Program, directly impacting Chicagoʼs diverse communities. Redmoon Central is located at 1463 W. Hubbard St.
Carnival at SushiSamba
Transport yourself to Rio de Janeiro and celebrate the annual Brazilian tradition of Carnival this Saturday, March 5 at SushiSamba Rio. Beginning at 9 p.m., guests will sip the evening’s featured drink -tangerine honey caipirnhas – alongside samba dancers, batacuda drummers and live feed from Brazil. The night’s special festive menu includes casquinha do siri (blue crab, dende oil remoulade, fresh lime, $14), acaraje with braised short ribs (black bean fritter, cilantro, pickled onion, $24), beinjinho flan (sweet coconut flan, lime beignet, pineapple caipirnha sorvete, $8) and a manqueria roll (avocado, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, eel, shrimp, spicy mayonnaise, $22). Reservations can be made by calling 312-595-2300. SushiSamba Rio is located at 504 N. Wells St.
Crawfish Contest at the Cactus Bar & Grill
Celebrate Fat Tuesday Cajun-style while donating to charity at the first annual Cactus Bar & Grill crawfish-eating contest this Tuesday, March 8 at 6 p.m. The goal is to be the first to eat three pounds of the crustaceans to take the title of crawfish king or queen. It is $25 to participate, which includes a souvenir t-shirt, and all proceeds benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which promotes research and treatment of childhood cancers. Spectators can enjoy $3 Abita Turbo Dog pints and $5 bowls of gumbo all set to a Mardi Gras scene of beads, masks and prize giveaways such as a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant. Cactus Bar & Grill is located at 404 S. Wells St. For more information, visit www.dontdrinkandtrade.com.