The beloved Saint Louis Mardi Gras parade, the music and food, drinks with friends... all things college students will be dearly missing this year. However necessary a bottomless mimosa brunch or group outing to the parade may feel, taking a pause on Mardi Gras public events might not be the worst thing. Staying safe while still having fun with your closest friends could turn your weekend into the best Mardi Gras yet. It may not be as extravagant, but it can definitely be just as, if not more, delicious. Here are my top five food and beverage suggestions for your COVID-style Mardi Gras weekend. 

1. Turn 

To start the morning off right, go for a loaded, yet healthy, brunch. Chef David Kirkland at Turn is inspired by the power music and food has to bring people together. He translates this passion into his farm to table style cooking. The brunch menu is original and exciting- perfect for a Mardi-morning. You can choose to order to-go or make a reservation. If you want to partake in their killer morning cocktails then you'll have to opt for dine-in, but the takeout menu does offer other options such as coffee, ginger ale, and a variety of nonalcoholic drinks. 

2. Minibar

Minibar is probably my favorite new app discovery. They deliver anything from top shelf liquors to good ol' ready-to-drink fruity margaritas. Minibar can even deliver a variety of snacks, mixers, and other party essentials. If I'm being honest, ice cream and margaritas delivered to my door sounds a whole lot better than sipping bad beer while pushing through the crowd at a dingy frat house pre-game. Just saying.

#spoontip: If you're interested in delivery, check their website or app in advance because some items are only available for shipping rather than delivery. There are, however, plenty of options that can be delivered in under an hour! 

3. Mission Taco

Do you even live in Saint Louis if you aren't a dedicated Mission Taco fan? This place is completely set with to-go options. They have taco kits that can feed a small group, and quart-sized takeout cocktails to wash the tacos down. They have curbside pickup and delivery via Postmates or DoorDash. Mission Taco is the perfect quick and easy option if you're looking to cover food and drinks at the same time! 

4. Intoxicology 

If you're feeling a little more refined, check out Intoxicology. Located on Manchester Avenue, this store carries everything you could ever need if you hope to be your own bartender. With carefully curated liquors, beautiful bar sets, cocktail ice and recipe books, you simply can’t go wrong. By the end of your shopping, you'll know which gin is more juniper forward and what bitters will work with your favorite cocktail. Heads up, you might want to split the bill with your roommate.  It’s not exactly a “college student on a budget” type of place... but who says you can’t splurge every once and a while! It is Mardi Gras after all. 

5. Retreat Gastropub

A restaurant that's also best suited for a splurge weekend, Retreat Gastropub is a must try. They have whacky yet delicious cocktails to-go. Not to mention, they have delicious appetizers and deeply satisfying entrees. Retreat Gastropub is re-opening on February 10th, so keep your eyes peeled for their menu options. Bonus: they are located on Laclede, right by SLU's main campus. 

Whether you choose to order from one of these spots, or all five, you can whip up a scrumptious at-home Mardi Gras celebration. From mimosas to tacos, this list covers all the bases. Take my suggestion and start planning now so you can sit back and relax the whole weekend. Now all I hope is that your Mardi Gras is spent with a delicious drink in your hand and killer food in your mouth ALL. DAY. LONG. From my couch to yours, cheers and happy Mardi Gras!