Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's Time to Party

Lent is a time of austerity and denial. Carnival and Mardi Gras, which precede it, are the opposite: celebrations of indulgence and pleasure. Of course, it would be great to be in Rio or New Orleans for the annual revelry. But if that’s not going to be happening for you, may I suggest a visit to Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar between now and Feb. 21? The Woodmere restaurant has a variety of promotions, events and special menus planned. Removing shirts or wearing skimpy, sparkly outfits with extravagant feathered headgear is optional.

The list of small plate South American street food specials has some very appealing options: smoked chicken croquetas and fresh tomatillo salsa; chorizo-stuffed corn fritters with black beans; jibarito short rib sliders topped with pickled red onion and carrot slaw sandwiched between crispy plantains; Brazilian churrasco trio-skewers of grilled skirt steak, chicken and chorizo sausage; grilled portobello and queso blanco empanadas drizzled with a roasted garlic and pasilla, and chile spiked chocolate brigaderos (fudge).

- Through Feb. 5: Half Off Bottles of South American Wine
- Feb. 6-12: Half Off Appetizers (one per guest)
- Feb. 13-21: Half Off Mojitos

Things really get smokin' on Fat Tuesday (Feb. 21) with live music from Latin band Saborit Latin Soul, 8 p.m.-11 p.m. Free beads for wearing and tossing. Merrymaking goes on until 2 a.m. Reservations suggested (and make them soon if you want to be sure to get a table). Tonight (Feb. 1) also kicks off the 18th annual Taste of N'Awlins event at Salmon Dave's. The kitchen's cooking up Bourbon Street shrimp, voodoo salmon and tenderloin Creole and other Louisiana-inspired dishes, and the bartender is doing Hurricanes just like they do at Pat O'Briens in the French Quarter. Live jazz and $10 off the regular price every Sunday through Feb. 19. And then comes the big blowout with the Dave Kasper Quartet for Fat Tuesday (Feb. 21, reservations suggested).

I suspect that knowing a period of somberness and sacrifice is soon to come makes the partying even more fun. But even those of us who have no plans to give up anything for the pre-Easter season can appreciate the chance for a little carousing.

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