Mardi Gras is in full swing with jambalaya, Hurricanes, crawfish boils and, of course, PACKZIS! Yes, Packzi Day has arrived and there are dozens of ways to celebrate in Chicago.
From food trucks and Italian masquerade parties to Mardi Gras themed manicures and late night dance parties with a brass band, it’s easy to join the celebration.
Food Trucks and Packzis
Chicago’s 177th Birthday Party starts inside the Daley Center (10:30 a.m.) with FREE cake from Eli’s Cheesecake (while supplies last), before a Mardi Gras-style parade leads the group to Daley Plaza for a food truck rally at 11:00 a.m. The rally goes until 7:00 p.m. and Delightful Pastries will be on hand selling packzis.
If you need an excuse to eat unhealthy, today is the day! Bakeries and doughnut shops around the city are serving up packzis and some of our favorites include: Glazed and Infused, Westtown Bakery, Delightful Pastries, Do-Rite Donuts and Firecakes. TLT writer Suzanne taste tested packzis from Delightful Pastries – including their boozy drunken paczki – and said this is a place to go. Is it wrong to eat more than one packzi? I hope not.
Carnevale Di Venezia Wine Bash
Who said Fat Tuesday is just about food? Grab a mask and head by Quartino in River North for a vino fueled masquerade party. From 7:00-9:00 p.m. the Italian Fat Tuesday party includes food from the amazing Chef Coletta, a variety of wine and prizes for the best outfit. $25 at the door and worth every penny.
Mardi Gras Manis and Drinks
Before you polish off a few packzis and Hurricanes, Polish and Pour in Old Town is launching their Brazil collection with bold new colors like Live.Love.Carnival (a hot pink orange), Where Did Suzi's Man-Go? (a fun, bold coral) and I Just Cope-Acabana (a bold, bright yellow). While your nails are polished and painted, the salon will serve $5 Select Bourbon cocktails, $4 Southern Comfort and $5 glasses of wine.
Jambalaya & Hurricanes
Fill up on jambalaya and $7 Hurricanes from Executive Chef Kevin Church at Commonwealth Tavern. The jambalaya ($12) features slow stewed andouille sausage, okra, and seafood like fresh shrimp and white fish. With three Michelin Bib Gourmands under to his name (Owen & Engine), we’ll let Chef Church make us just about anything.
Late Night Debauchery
If we're about to ask for forgiveness, let's be a little bit bad! Sailor Jerry and the Untitled are planning a party to rival Bourbon Street. With New Orleans inspired crawfish boil, Hurricanes and the ten-piece Lowdown Brass Band. The party is from 4:30 p.m. to midnight, the New Orleans Musician Relief Fund will be on hand accepting donations for displaced musicians. Don’t miss out.
And for Christians, don’t forget tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Mass schedules and the distribution of ashes will be done throughout the city – including the Loop and Magnificent Mile – at various times. Check with your local parish for more information.