The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Here's Where To Get Fat On Fat Tuesday

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 5, 2013 10:00PM

Photo credit: Elliot Mandel

As much as we would like to be in New Orleans right now, we don't have to look far to celebrate Mardi Gras next week and do it like a pro.

Today we list our picks for where to get your Crescent City-style gluttony fix before Lent. Tomorrow we'll list our picks for full-on Mardi Gras/Carnival celebrations.

Big Jones chef/owner Paul Fehribach has a special week long menu in honor of Mardi Gras starting Feb. 6 through Feb. 12. The Mardi Gras menu will feature traditional savory items like barbecued shrimp; po-boys; red beans and rice; and chicken and sausage jambalaya. For dessert, enjoy Homemade King Cake, buttery yeast cake filled with pecan praline cheesecake; and Calas - a Creole soured-rice fritter that was popular street food in the 19th century. The celebratory menu also marks the return of the family-style dinning meal A Cajun Country Ramble, ca. 1955 which offers four courses of authentic Cajun cooking for the entire table. The cost of the family meal is $25 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended. For more information or to make a reservation, call 773-275-5725. (5347 N. Clark Street)

Epic Executive Chef Mark Pollard has created Fat Tuesday specials including a Po Boy Burger; Grilled Andouille Sausage; and Housemade Doughnuts. Beverage Director Michael Christiani will offer an "Epic Hurricane" for $8. Epic's Fat Tuesday menu specials are available in the lounge from 4-10 p.m. (112 W. Hubbard Street, 312-222-4940)

Putting its signature twist on Mardi Gras, Trenchermen will serve inventive fare such as carbonated Hurricanes and jambalaya Andouille corn dogs in addition to its regular menu. (2039 W. North Avenue, 773-661-1540)

Cactus Bar and Grill will hold their third annual Crawfish Eating Contest for charity. Competitors will consume three pounds of crawfish in the fastest amount of time possible and the competition will be divided into heats, with the winner of each heat will compete in a final round. There is a $25 fee to participate and all competitors will receive a Cactus T-shirt. A portion of the entrance fee will be donated to New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. First place will be awarded a $100 gift certificate to Cactus Bar and Grill; the second place winner a $50 gift certificate to Cactus Bar; and the third place participant will receive a $25 gift certificate.To reserve a spot in the crawfish competition, please visit (404 S. Wells Street)

Maple Tree Inn (13301 S. Olde Western Ave., Blue Island) has a four-course sit-down menu as part of one of the best Mardi Gras celebrations in the Chicago area. It’s also one of the cheapest at only $35 per person and includes a full bar, heated beer tent, masks, beads, Hurricanes and a heated beer tent. There are three seatings for this at 4 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Call 708-388-3461 for reservations.