Posts Tagged ‘mardi gras’

It’s Mardi Gras at Big Jones! Laissez les bon Temps Rouler!

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014
Crawfish were once considered the lowest of the low - a couple of generations ago, no self-respecting Cajun would publicly admit to enjoying crawfish. Now of course, they are celebrated as the tasty morsels they are. Photo credit: Heather Sperling

Crawfish etouffee is one of the most iconic dishes of Mardi Gras. Our version is based on an old Cajun recipe from the 1930’s Photo credit: Heather Sperling

There are but a few days left to fatten up before the end of the Mardi Gras season, and we’re here to serve with our annual celebration of all things South Louisiana, bringing you some of our favorite dishes from the Creole and Cajun traditions which can be enjoyed all year, but which bring special significance to the season for us fans of Louisiana cooking, Mardi Gras being one of America’s greatest cultural phenomena. Besides great Cajun and Creole food, we’ll be playing New Orleans jazz and funk, mixed in with a little Cajun country music and zydeco, all of which make for a great party vibe. Wash it all down with carefully crafted hurricanes, peach daiquiris, Vieux Carrés, sazeracs, or local craft beer.

In keeping with Big Jones Mardi Gras tradition, our entire dinner menu will change for the last six days of Mardi Gras, from Thursday, February 27 through Fat Tuesday, which falls on March 4 this year. So, if you’re wont to enjoy the many different offerings we’ve got on tap, you don’t have to have them all in one sitting (though that would be a truly Creole way of celebrating Mardi Gras!) you can stop by more than once to get your fill of some of these dishes we won’t see again until next year.

Some of our regular menu will remain, including the favorites shrimp & grits, gumbo ya-ya, and crab cakes, all of which are perfect ways to celebrate Mardi Gras, but here are the once-a-year dishes we cherish, and hope you’ll join us to indulge:

Barbecued Shrimp   12
One of our favorite Creole dishes and truly unique to New Orleans, and a hallmark of gluttony – jumbo head-on Louisiana shrimp in tangy & spicy sauce, served with wood-grilled dipping bread

Cajun Boudin   12
Decadent pork liver and rice sausage breaded and deep fried, served with cayenne mayonnaise and piccalilli

Alligator & Andouille Sauce Piquant  25
Louisiana alligator simmered in a spicy sauce with homemade andouille sausage, served with buttered rice

Crawfish Etouffee, ca. 1930   24
Louisiana crawfish tails simmered in butter and wine with trinity and garlic, served with buttered aromatic rice and scallions

Peacemaker Po’ Boy  15
Crispy fried oysters on a French roll with butter lettuce, homemade mayonnaise, and local hothouse tomatoes

Roast Beef & Debris Po’ Boy   15
Thinly-sliced roast local grassfed chuck with debris gravy, shredded cabbage, and homemade mayonnaise

Jambalaya   14   Serves 4-6
Cooked and served in a cast iron kettle—Louisiana rice, smoked andouille sausage, and tomato baked with trinity and chicken broth

Red Beans and Rice   7 / 4
Small red beans slowly cooked with pickled pig’s feet and smoked ham, served with buttered rice and chow-chow

Calas, ca. 1890
Homemade sourdough rice fritters in the old Creole way, served with chocolate sauce   8

King Cake
Homemade traditional yeast cake filled with praline cheesecake, topped with royal icing   6

Please join us, and especially if you are looking for a seat on Fat Tuesday, make a reservation by calling 773-275-5725. The menu is available from Thursday through Tuesday night, so if Fat Tuesday isn’t an option for you, you can enjoy the same delicious food Monday, Sunday, or even over the weekend! Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

Homemade king cake!

Homemade king cake!

Barbecued shrimp - one of our favorite Creole dishes, only available once a year

Oh yes, there will be fried chicken!

Oh yes, there will be fried chicken!


Mardi Gras + Paul makes etouffee on TV!

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Mardi Gras is Tuesday the 21st and we have some special menu items to celebrate this weekend. First, our current Family Meal dinner is our Cajun Country Ramble, ca. 1955. Second, we have these special items from Friday to Tuesday for dinner:

Barbecued Shrimp
Jumbo head-on Louisiana brown shrimp smothered in their shells in a spicy sauce seasoned with home made worcestershire sauce, butter, lemon, cayenne, and rosemary, with wood-grilled French bread to sop up the sauce

Crawfish Bisque
Louisiana crawfish tails and Kilgus Farmstead cream pureed with butter and sherry, served with cornbread croutons and melted leeks

Chicken Clemenceau
Cast iron-seared Gunthorp Farm breast with house cured & smoked ham, black trumpet mushrooms, and purple hull peas in a truffle butter sauce, and crispy confit fingerling potatoes

Crawfish Etouffee
According to an old Breaux Bridge recipe – Lousiana crawfish tails smothered in butter with white wine, lemon, and Worcestershire, served with steamed aromatic Arkansas rice

Peacemaker Po’ Boy
Chicncoteague oysters fried in a crispy rice & corn flour breading, piled on French bread with white remoulade and slaw, served with French fries

Watch Paul make crawfish etouffee on WGN TV and get the recipe!

Peacemakers, Calas, King Cakes, and Valentines – Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

We can all be thankful for the mild weather recently this winter, but Spring is still a while off. So, it’s a good thing we have events like Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day to look forward to – they’ll warm up the winter with tasty eats and good vibes to carry us on through until the trees start budding and the Spring bulbs start popping up and showing their colors.

“Calas belles, calas tout chauds!” (“beautiful rice fritters, hot rice fritters”) was the call of the Calas lady as she hawked her tasty nuggets of fried dough with rice on the streets of New Orleans late at night, way back in the late 19th century. Over time beignets became the favored fried dough of the Quarter, and pralines the late-night street sweet. One taste of Calas, though, and you’ll be wishing they were still part of the repertoire. Tasty long-forgotten foods are a passion of ours, so Calas are a natural for Big Jones. Like last year, we’ll be serving them up for Mardi Gras as a salute to the Creole heritage of New Orleans, and also serving a dressed-up-for-dinner version for an intimate Valentine’s dinner.

Mardi Gras Specials

Monday and Tuesday, February 15 & 16
regular menu available

Peacemaker the quintessential Mardi Gras sandwich, and the best way to enjoy fried oysters. A dozen select oysters fried crisp, on a baguette with remoulade slaw and pickles, served with fries   15

Muffuletta Chef Paul’s favorite, rustic sesame bread filled with Applegate Farms salami, house tasso, provolone, and olive salad, served with fries   15

Shrimp & Oyster Gumbo just like it sounds, with our house andouille, topped off with fried crab rice for an extra rich touch   19

Chile-Cheese Crawfish Etouffee the French Quarter classic, plus chilies and Cheddar, with popcorn rice   23

Jambalaya Chicken, sausage, ham, and vegetables steamed with rice and lots of spice   15

Red Beans and Rice pickled pork, ham, and sausage stewed with red beans, served with voodoo greens
and popcorn rice   15

Calas sweet wild-yeast rice fritters, dusted with powdered sugar   7

King Cake Sweet yeast cake filled with pecan butter and brown sugar.
If you get a king cake baby in your slice, you’ll win something special!   7

Valentine’s Day

Saturday and Sunday, February 13th and 14th
Five course tasting or three course prix fixe

Five Course Tasting

Gunthorp Farm duck rillettes, toasted baguette,
duet of house mustards, home made pickles

Charleston she-crab soup, cornmeal biscotti,
winter truffle foam

Living Water Farms lettuces, Puna Gardens hearts of palm,
blood orange, Three Sisters Garden pea shoots, black benne paste, ginger vinaigrette

Entrée, choice of
Seared Faroe Island Steelhead, potato galette, braised leeks, duet of broccoli,
Champagne “caviar,” beurre blanc
Niman Ranch NY Strip, butter-poached New Caledonia blue prawns & potatoes,
creamed spinach, red wine jus

Dessert, choice of
Rice calas, Port wine chocolate fondue, frozen Asian pear salad
Red velvet cake, cream cheese semifreddo, elements of White Russian

Three Course Prix Fixe

Living Water Farms lettuces, Puna Gardens hearts of palm,
blood orange, Three Sisters Garden pea shoots

Entrée, choice of
Seared Faroe Island Steelhead, potato galette, braised leeks, duet of broccoli,
Champagne “caviar,” beurre blanc
Niman Ranch NY Strip, butter-poached New Caledonia blue prawns & potatoes,
creamed spinach, red wine jus

Dessert, choice of
Rice calas, Port wine chocolate fondue, frozen Asian pear salad
Red velvet cake, cream cheese semifreddo, elements of White Russian

Mardi Gras at Big Jones

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

All of us at Big Jones are looking forward to our first Mardi Gras! We will be celebrating the entire week leading up to Fat Tuesday, February 18-24, with a special menu of New Orleans Jazz and Funk, extra special entrees, and cocktails to fit the occasion.

Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, is an old and grand tradition, and we’ll be a little less creative than usual, instead focusing on reproducing, as truly as we can, some of the most decadent traditions of New Orleans that have been around as long as the parades have been. Here’s a sampling of what we’re cooking up:

Seafood Gumbo Odyssey – this involves a mélange of the best Gulf seafood: wild-caught shrimp, crab meat, crawfish, and whatever fin fish I select from the market daily. Okra is called for in seafood gumbo, and we’ll salt things up a bit with andouille. Court-bouillon and a duck fat roux provide the foundation for a truly decadent gumbo.   $18

Two-way Duck Gumbo – with our house-made tasso, which starts with Niman Ranch Pork shoulder, and Gunthorp farm ducks. The leg and thigh are cleaned and dropped straight into the gumbo pot. The breasts are pan-seared to order and served rare over the gumbo, to be dipped in the rich gravy. We render the skin and neck fat to start the roux, to keep the flavor true to the essence of duck, with a very, very dark roux.   $18

Red Beans and Rice – With a nod to our vegetarian friends, we make a vegan (and ultra low-fat) red bean recipe with organic  kidney beans in a pot liquor made from the stems of our greens, and lots of onion and garlic. House-smoked tomatoes more than make up for the smokiness of salt pork in the recipe. Piccalilli, a house-made green tomato pickle relish, adds a cool, tart foil for the smoky beans.   $12

The Peacemaker – It couldn’t be Mardi Gras without an oyster po’ boy. A dozen Gulf oysters will grace French bread along with remoulade slaw and fried pickles.   $14

Jambalaya – Done the only way to do it, in Cajun iron kettles, over a flame. Gunthorp Farm chicken, house tasso, wild-caught Texas shrimp, popcorn rice, and lots of spice.   $15

Wild Mushroom Etouffee – Another nod to our vegetarian friends, this one would satisfy the most voracious carnivore. Locally-grown Portobello, shiitake, and Cremini mushrooms combine in a brown roux for a rich, “meaty” entrée that can rival braised short ribs, but without animal products. Totally vegan, we dare you to try it, and miss the meat!   $15

Calas – For weekend brunch, we will feature these delicious sweet rice fritters, risen with wild yeast. The Calas Lady may no longer roam the streets at night, but we wish she would! They’ll also come along with the Mardi Gras Sampler for the whole week.

We will also feature a Mardi Gras Sampler for two or more, at $30 per person. This will include:

  • Seafood Gumbo Odyssey
  • Red Beans and Rice
  • Choice of Po’ Boy (Peacemaker, Andouille, Shrimp, or Catfish)
  • Chicken Jambalaya
  • Calas

Our bar specials will include:

  • Uptown Hurricane – Cruzan Light and Dark Rums, Monin Passion Fruit, Fresh Squeezed Lime   $6
  • Sazerac Cocktail –  Wild Turkey Rye, Cane Syrup, Herbsainte, Peychaud’s Bitters   $8
  • Peach Daiquiri – Cruzan Silver Rum, Mathilde Peach Liqueur, Fresh Squeezed Lime
  • Abita Turbodog – the ultimate accompaniment to gumbo or etouffee, rich, malty, slightly sweet   $3

Laissez les bon temps rouler!