On February 13, 2018—this year’s date for Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras—two Louisiana natives are launching a heck of a good annual party at the irresistible Over Yonder restaurant in Valle Crucis.

Over Yonder’s Andy Long is helping longtime High Country resident Bucky Black kick-start RRIDGE, an innovative waste stream recovery non-profit, while having a blast with their mutual heritage.

The High Country is cordially invited to arrive at Over Yonder incognito, wearing Carnival costumes inspired by the party’s theme, “A Little Light Goes a Long Way.” “You don’t have to dress up, but if you do, you’ll be rewarded with special beads,” says Black.

Following the old traditions, a mysterious Royal Couple has been elected to lead the Mystic Krewe’s party. Long and Black, both chefs, have designed a special $49 six-course meal featuring everything from butter-torched oyster canapés to authentic gumbos to crawfish etouffé to a bodacious Bonne Bouche finale. (Full menu at www.overyondernc.com.)

For those not familiar with Mardi Gras traditions, a Krewe (pronounced ‘crew’) is a group that sponsors a Carnival parade or float, and sometimes a ball, too. Mardi Gras is the last day of the carnival season that starts with Epiphany and ends with Ash Wednesday and Lent, the traditional season of fasting. What do you do before you fast? Gobble up everything good, of course, and throw a party.

“According to the old Cajun tradition, during the Courir de Mardi Gras—Fat Tuesday run—people in rural towns would ride from house to house, dressed in costumes, to beg food for enormous collaborative feasts,” says Black.

“Andy and I cook together for fun sometimes and last year, right before Mardi Gras, my friend Boone Stadtfeld and I were coming back from restoring my parents’ house after the big flood in Baton Rouge. We picked up a couple of hundred pounds of crawfish on the way out of Louisiana and called Andy about doing a boil. Being Andy, he took it to the next level with some modern twists, we all invited friends, and boom, we had a new tradition.

“Lagniappe is a little something extra, a bonus, a treat to create goodwill. So our Krewe’s name, The Mystic Krewe to Create Lagniappe in The High Country, came pretty easily.”

So did the goodwill. RRIDGE stands for Renewable Resource Innovative Design Group Enterprise. RRIDGE is dedicated to economic development in The High Country through waste stream resource recovery, innovation and collaboration. Proceeds benefiting RRIDGE will go to food waste recovery projects used in on-site energy generation and to bring a makerspace to the High Country.

So “laissez les bons temps rouler, y’all,” says Black.

What: Five course prix-fixe menu, $49. Please call ahead to arrange for gluten-free or vegetarian options. Cash bar, including traditional New Orleans cocktails. Full menu at www.overyondernc.com.
When: Feb. 13, 2018, 6:30 PM.
Where: Over Yonder Restaurant, 3608 Hwy 194, Valle Crucis, NC 828-963-6301
Why: Mardi Gras celebration and fundraiser for the RRIDGE non-profit.