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Bites: Take it Big Easy 

Reader, let me explain something to you: Mardi Gras is God’s way of saying, “Sorry about that whole adulthood thing. Here’s some food, music, and booze to wash down the sting of crushed dreams and midlife disappointment.”

It’s an unfortunate truth that we are far from Bourbon Street (2,082 miles from my Marsh Street basement dwelling, to be exact), but San Luis Obispo has proven it’s more than capable of embodying the Mardi Gras spirit (let’s not forget, people, that the Powers That Be won’t even let us officially celebrate it anymore … yeah … we kind of know how to party).

This year will still embody the spirit of New Orleans (obviously a more subdued, observant version, right? Right?) and there are a few events around town you won’t want to miss out on, on Feb. 12.

For you heathens out there who have no idea what Mardi Gras is, I’ll break it down for you. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, which is the Catholic granddaddy feast of them all. People traditionally eat all the fatty foods they can muster because the Wednesday that follows is Ash Wednesday when Lent begins and all good and observant Catholics start giving up some of their more … morally objectionable hobbies or habits (think chocolate and romance novels; I’m talking to you, lady reading Danielle Steele at the Jiffy Lube!) for the 46 days leading up to Easter. Mardi Gras has varying traditions and practices, but basically it comes down to having a really good time before you have to buckle down and get right with the big guy upstairs. People wear costumes, masks; some people like to mix up social conventions, and there’s always dancing, parades, and food.

Locally, you can check out the festivities and get a taste of the Mardi Gras spirit at several gatherings and churches (some with good causes!).

Bon Temps will once again be holding court at St. Benedict’s Church in Los Osos with a true Mardi Gras feast planned on Feb. 8. There will be appetizers and an authentic Creole dinner cooked up by Lorienne Schwenk of the Singing Kitchen. There will be music by Café Musique, and tickets are $50 (there are only 50 tickets available, so reserve your seat ASAP, or keep an eye out for it when next year rolls around). E-mail Maria Kelly for tickets at

There will also be a Mardi Gras Party Scholarship Fundraiser courtesy of the Atascadero branch of the American Association of University Women on Feb. 12 at the Carlton Hotel. Tickets are $55, and that buys you a traditional New Orleans dinner, wine, entertainment, and a shot at the silent auction (not to mention that warm, fuzzy feeling philanthropy brings to your heart). For tickets, contact the event coordinator, Linda Zirck at 460-0400.

And last, but certainly not least, head over to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 for a traditional Protestant Pancake Supper. Tickets are $6 and children younger than 12 get in for $3.

Calendar Editor Maeva Considine can be reached at

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