"When the Saints Go Marching In," it will be time to throw on your beads and party masks, eat the rich and satisfying foods of New Orleans, listen to great jazz music and let the good times roll.
At least that's the philosophy of those who are throwing festive Maui-style Mardi Gras culinary events on and around Fat Tuesday from Kihei to Kaanapali.
For starters, New Orleans cuisine and jazz will highlight the 21st annual Valentine's Sweetheart Affair in West Maui. Also called "Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler," French for "let the good times roll," it will be a feast for the senses.
Mana‘o Radio will mark its 10th anniversary at Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei on Fat Tuesday next week. Hostess Jessica Mannor (left) and Sous chef Justin Tamura showcase some fun drinks.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lahaina, it will kick off at the Royal Lahaina Resort's oceanfront Villas Lawn in Kaanapali at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The resort's Executive Chef Bernardo Salazar will "kick it up a notch" by cooking New Orleans favorites such as gumbo, red beans and rice, etoufee, blackened catfish and jambalaya.
As icing on the cake, you may indulge in New Orleans-style beignets and Louisiana bread pudding.
Maui Gras lineup
* Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler: Royal Lahaina Resort in Kaanapali will "let the good times roll" at 6 p.m. Saturday. Proceeds will got to college scholarships via the Lahaina Rotary Club. Cost is $75 per person. You may visit www.royallahaina.com website or call 661-3611.
* Mardis Gra Party: Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei will throw a benefit bash for Mana'o Radio. Three-course Cajun dinner and music all night long is $50 per person. Listen to Willie K, Dr. Nat and Rio Ritmo, Mana'o Orchestra and much more. Call 874-3779.
* Carnival: Brigit & Bernard's Garden Cafe in Kahului will present Mardi Gras buffets Tuesday as well as Feb. 24 and 25 with live Dixieland music. Cost is $38. Call 877-6000.
The featured drink of the evening will be the famous Hurricane, a rum, grenadine and fruit juice concoction served in a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp. It was first created in World War II at the famous piano club, Pat O'Briens. It will be poured by Young's Market from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A cash bar for beer, wine, soft drinks and cocktails will be open all evening.
"The theme of 'let good times roll' will be enhanced by live music from the six-piece jazz and blues band, Slam, which packs them in at Stella Blues, and well-known Maui jazz vocalist Kelly Covington," says Liz Bell, who is with the resort and is the community chair for Lahaina Rotary. "You may also bid at silent auction."
The proceeds from the event will provide college scholarships for Lahaina students through the rotary.
Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei will also throw a heck of a party on the actual Fat Tuesday next week, as a benefit for Mana'o Radio, a noncommercial enterprise.
"Mana'o used to do Barry Fest every year and now they're doing this in lieu of that," says Cindy Eiting, managing partner at Stella Blues. "We'll have tons of music from 6 p.m. to midnight, a silent auction, a costume contest, and more fun and prizes. Come on down and support a good cause with local talent and great music."
In addition to Stella Blues regular menu items of Jambalaya Oh-Maya and skillet corn bread, Executive Chef Derlin Gijal has created a special menu.
The prix-fixe New Orleans-style dinner will include three courses, beginning with a cup of classic gumbo, followed by a Cajun platter with fried catfish, red beans and rice, hush puppies and cole slaw.
Beignets with powdered sugar will top it off as dessert. The drink specials include Louisiana iced tea packed with four different liqueurs, the New Orleans Hurricane with light and dark rums, and the Mardi Gras Rita with silver tequila.
Whether you call it Maui Gras, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Fastnacht or Carnival, you'll find three evenings of fun next week at Brigit & Bernard's Garden Cafe in the Kahului Industrial Area.
"In French, Mardi means 'Tuesday' and gras means 'fat,' " says restaurant owner Bernard Weber. "It's celebrated all over the world. It's called Carnival in Rio de Janeiro as well as in Switzerland, where I'm from. So that's why we'll feature not only favorite dishes from New Orleans, but from around the world."
Starting Fat Tuesday and also running on Feb. 24 and 25, Maui's own Carnival at the popular Brigit & Bernard's will feature the High Seas Dixieland Band as the performers during dinner. The buffet will start at 6 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. The band will start to perform at 6:30 p.m.
"The band has played together for over 20 years and has a varied repertoire," Weber says. "They do Dixieland jazz, with such favorites as 'When the Saints Go Marching In,' 'Bill Bailey,' 'Do you Know What it Means,' and many more."
Just like last year, Weber will bring in guest Chef Drew Watson from New Orleans to wow the party goers with jambalaya, gumbo, Andouille sausage, seafood etoufee, and Louisiana baby-back pork ribs with the sauce just right.
Weber will make classic Carnival dishes from his native Europe such as rich curry casimir, sauteed fresh mushrooms, and baked sauerkraut and wurst casserole. For dessert, make sure to save room for apple beignets and fastnachts kuechli.
And, "bring your masks, costumes, beads and bras!" says Weber.