Experiencing Mardi Gras in New Orleans is on most people's bucket lists. The parades, the costumes, and the all-or-nothing attitude towards drinking screams of a fun and unforgettable time. Even though the drinks may take the spotlight, there are plenty of traditional Louisiana-inspired dishes that deserve some attention this Mardi Gras season. 

No matter how much we may want to be in the thick of one of the craziest celebrations in America, some of us just can't make it to NOLA in order to honor the holiday properly. So if you're like me and desperately want a taste of Mardi Gras, read on to find out how you can celebrate appropriately in our nation's capital. 

1. King Cake from Baked and Wired

Who wouldn't want a cinnamon sugar cake with icing, sprinkles and a surprise baby toy in one of the pieces? If your piece has the baby in it then you get to bring the cake to the next Mardi Gras party. This year you can get King Cake and King Cake cupcakes at Baked and Wired, but if you want one you'll have to call and place an order so they have it ready to go. 

2. Bayou Bakery and Cafe

Beignets, King Cake and delicious granola that they've dubbed Gras-NOLA – what more could you ask of a place repping the Bayou name and endless representations of NOLA culture. Not only did their whole menu make my mouth water, but everything about it makes you feel as if you're in the South. 

3. Acadiana

If you want more than an endless supply of King Cake, try this traditional Louisiana-style seafood restaurant. In honor of Mardi Gras they have a special prix fixe menu with live jazz performances starting on Sunday and going all the way until Fat Tuesday. 

4. Bayou

Another placed named Bayou has made the list, and here you can find even more traditional NOLA snacks, jazz and laid back Southern vibes. On Tuesday they have an all-you-can-eat buffet spread and live music to carry you into the night. 

5. Mardi Gras Extravaganza at Union Market

Eat amazing Southern food and support charities. If you head to Union Market on Tuesday from 5-10 PM you'll find a collection of DC's best Southern restauranteurs, mixologists and breweries out in celebration of Mardi Gras and in support of DC Central Kitchen and St. Bernard Project. 

6. Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken

If King Cake and King Cake cupcakes weren't enough, then I introduce to you the King Cake doughnut (no baby included). Astro Doughnuts is selling these special doughnuts only on Tuesday so be sure to snag one while you can. 

7. Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade

Carla Velarde

Even if you can't be at the real parade in NOLA, there will be a strong replacement taking place Tuesday in Arlington at 7 PM. With more live music and a large supply of purple and yellow beads, this parade may be your best shot at having a true New Orleans Fat Tuesday. 

So this year, you won't have to fly all the way to New Orleans to get your Mardi Gras fix. DC has plenty of great options – so eat up, throw some beads on, and get ready to party.