Mardi Gras, Portland-style

Any event that starts with raw oysters is my kind of party. Luckily, this past Tuesday, Portland’s Irving Street Kitchen started their annual Mardi Gras festivity with an oyster spread, celebrating through the night in true New Orleans fashion. Emceeing the evening, Yelp master Don Bourassa coordinated guests through the evening’s raffle – with profits donated to Rose Haven Day Shelter for Women and Children – as well as the rest of the activities that took place­.

For those looking to eat, ISK offered heaps of roasted pig (which was up with the sun along with Chef Sarah Schafer that morning), kale salad, decadent mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, flaky biscuits topped with juicy barbequed pork, and more. As people poured in, so did the Hurricanes and whiskey cocktails concocted by bar man Jabriel Donohue and his crew. The traditional King Cake was doled out as well, with a vibrant purple, green, and gold pastry with hints of citrus, along with addictive caramel corn (the same corn that usually flows over ISK’s decadent butterscotch pudding) and chocolate HoHo-style cake wheels.

For sinful entertainment, party-goers flooded in and out of the photo booth, using vibrant feather boas, masks and sequined hats to liven to punctuate their Fat Tuesday snapshots. Local bands Pocket and Biscuits & Gravy filled the room and the dance floor with NOLA-style funk that made it impossible not to groove. Other wicked activities included tarot readings tucked behind curtained booths, Burlesque dancers, and a table side magician.

And what were party-goers planning to give up for Lent, post-Mardi Gras debauchery?

“I thought about pork, but that wasn’t gonna happen. So, probably carbs. It’s the easiest thing to give up as a chef.” – Executive Chef Sarah Schafer

“Nothing. I don’t give up anything for anybody.” – writer Kathleen Bauer

With the Mardi Gras spread at Irving Street, it’s hard to imagine giving anything up. Maybe next year.

~Kat Vetrano

*Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender

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