Paczki, pancakes and Cajun cooking are local favorites for celebrating Fat Tuesday in the Traverse City area. The day before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, was traditionally the last day to clear pantries of fats and sugars to prepare for the solemn season of Lent. What better way to prepare for forty days of self-denial than to indulge in rich foods and celebrate with a party? Fat Tuesday falls on March 8th this year.
Paczki (“poonch-key”) have become synonymous with Fat Tuesday and are a Polish tradition. These sweet treats are fruit-filled pastries much like doughnuts. Most local grocery stores sell their own rendition of paczki, but Potter’s Bakery does a particularly brisk business in the days leading up to Lent. Potter’s offers the traditional prune filling as well as apple, cherry, blueberry, lemon and several other fruit flavors. There are 11 varieties in all, including the popular cream-filled and custard-filled in both glazed and powdered sugar. Potter’s employee Marie stated that on Fat Tuesday customers are standing in a line that is out-the-door. Potter’s sells approximately one thousand dozen of the sweet treats from the Thursday before until the end of the work day on Fat Tuesday. Information on locations and hours at http:/www.pottersbakery.com.
Pancakes are another Shrove Tuesday tradition. Mabel’s restaurant in Traverse City is known for it’s delicious, home-style breakfasts. Try the stuffed hash browns with a side of buttermilk pancakes. See the full menu at http://www.mabelsrestaurant.com. Another local favorite for breakfast is the Omelette Shoppe. Treat yourself to an order of blueberry cheesecake pancakes at either Traverse City Location. See all five pancake varieties at http:/www.omeletteshoppe.com. Several local churches also host Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday dinners as parish fellowship events. Contact your church office for more information.
A New Orleans-style Fat Tuesday celebration complete with Cajun and Creole cooking and a party atmosphere can be found at Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen in Elk Rapids. The Mardi Gras celebration at Pearl’s culminates with a Fat Tuesday party on March 8th. Food and drink specials will be available all evening including the famous New Orleans cocktail the Hurricane. A sure bet is the fork-tender beef brisket with cheddar mashed potatoes. Fat Tuesday entertainment at Pearl’s includes face painting, balloon artist Twister Joe, dancing and live music featuring New Orleans Funk, Zydeco and Blues band “The Saucecats”. Details at http:/www.magnumhospitality.com/pearls