It’s officially Mardi Gras season and Fort Worth is letting the good times roll with several themed events this week. Plan for Mardi Gras brunches, a crawfish boil, and a gumbo cook-off. Downtown, there’ll be a festival celebrating barleywine (which is actually beer, not wine) and pork. Save room for mac and cheese, as there’s a festival for that, too.
Friday, February 21
Crawfish Boil at Funky Picnic Brewery & Café
Mud bug lovers, take note: this one-time event includes all-you-can-devour crawfish, so practice your shell-cracking skills. The $45 ticket also comes with two beers to wash it all down. Tax and gratuity are included, and the event will run from 6 to 9 pm.
Saturday, February 22
Mardi Gras Brunch at B&B Butchers & Restaurant
Brunch is big in New Orleans during Mardi Gras season, and this Shops at Clearfork steakhouse is following tradition. Make reservations for specials like crawfish etouffee omelets, Cajun boudin with poached eggs, duck and andouille gumbo, and specialty cocktails. There’ll also be live music and face painting. Brunch will be served from 11 am to 3 pm.
Mardi Gras Brunch at The Bearded Lady
Wear your purple, green, and gold and celebrate Mardi Gras weekend with brunch. Visit the South Main Street bar and restaurant from 11 am to 3pm for bananas Foster pancakes, breakfast po’ boys, shrimp and grits, and authentic chicory coffee. There’ll be bourbon milk punk and hurricane mimosas, too.
Heim Barbecue Pop-Up and Beer Release at Fort Brewery
Pitmaster Travis Heim will take over the kitchen at Fort Brewery & Pizza for the day. (Perhaps a bacon burnt ends pizza will make an appearance?) The brewery will also release Emma’s Banana Pudding Beer, named for Emma Heim’s specialty dessert and made with cream ale, banana puree, and Madagascar vanilla beans. They'll serve banana pudding beer floats rimmed with vanilla wafers, too. Purchase a ticket in advance for the $15 float and get a pint glass. Enjoy live music from 1 to 3 pm, but Heim’s specials will be around all day.
Barleywine & Swine at Flying Saucer
The annual pig roast at the Sundance Square craft brew bar celebrates big, boozy beers and their perfect pairing — pork. Go for a flight of four barleywines (which is not actually wine, but rather a style of strong and malty English beer) paired with a hearty “swine platter” for $30. The platter will include pulled pork, pork loin, beer-braised cabbage with bacon, pork “wings,” hot links, pork ribs, and chicharrones. Choose from 10 different barleywines brought in for the occasion, including a local offering called Morrigan from Martin House Brewery. Swine platters will be available without the pairing for $15.99, and the event will run all day from 11 am until sell-out.
The New Orleans-inspired cocktail lounge will celebrate Mardi Gras with an amateur chef gumbo cook-off, which drew big crowds last year. Complimentary tastings will open to the public at 6 pm (after the judges have been served), and patrons can vote for their favorite. Stay for live music starting at 9:30 pm and order a Pimm’s Cup in true Mardi Gras fashion.
Sunday, February 23
Texas Mac & Cheese Festival at Texas Live
Make mac & cheese and the masses will come. This two-day festival will feature more than a dozen restaurants and food trucks slinging their best version of macaroni & cheese. Expect adult beverages, live entertainment, games, and a giant cheese fry bar, too. Bring the kids because children 10 and under get in free. The event will run 2-8 pm Saturday and 2-6 pm Sunday, but Saturday tickets are already sold out. Ticket prices range from $24.99 to $49.99. (Some tickets include early entry and more of those adult beverages.)