No Offense to Paczki, But How About King Cake? Howe's Bayou Does Mardi Gras
'It's just a big party' - Ferndale style, says owner of the popular Woodward Avenue bar/restaurant.
Who needs the Big Easy when you have Howe's Bayou?
Yeah, maybe the weather is warmer way down in the Gulf, but Howe's owner Michael Hennes does his part to keep the vibe of New Orleans kicking in Ferndale, way north of the Mason Dixon Line.
"It's just a big party," he said. "We have a party the week leading up to Fat Tuesday and then all day (Fat Tuesday)."
Hennes said the party includes live music, beads for all, King Cake, gift bags and gift certificates. "We give everyone a gift bag filled with all the stuff we get from vendors," he said. "We also give away a couple hundred dollars of gift certificates (to Howe's Bayou)."
All customers get a piece of King Cake, too.
King Cake, as Hennes explained it, is an old New Orleans tradition in which the host of a big Mardi Gras party will bake a cake and give a piece to all of his guests. Baked inside the cake is a tiny toy baby. The person who bites into the piece of cake that has the baby in it then has to host the party next year.
"We don't put babies in our cake 'cause we host the party every year," he said.
King Cake is generally a style of coffeecake, Hennes said. "Some have cinnamon or pecans, but generally it's very rich," he said.
Howe's Bayou has been hosting this Fat Tuesday party every year since its inception in 1999. Hennes isn't from New Orleans, he was born in Detroit, but he said he spent some time down there to make sure Howe's had the right feel and vibe.
"I wanted this place to have a more authentic feel, to concentrate on the basics of the food," he said. "When people from Louisiana come to places like this, they have strong memories of the food," he said. "They order the red beans, the collard greens, the gumbo ... that's the stuff you got to get right, everything else will follow."
Hennes said he anticipates a big crowd – as he does every year.
"It's our St. Patrick's Day," he said. "It's our day."
Maggie's Farm plays from 4-7 p.m. at Howe's followed by John Latini at 8:30 p.m.