Lundi Gras is always a pivotal date on the Mardi Gras calendar. Celebrants need a remedy for the previous weekend’s revelry and fortitude for the final lap. The ingenious answer, conceived of five years ago by food historian and stylist Rick Ellis and his husband, interior designer Thomas Jayne, is “Bourbon and Biscuits.” In their stylish French Quarter apartment, the couple puts on a chic version of a Hardee’s breakfast bar—with the crucial addition of alcohol—that is now a neighborhood tradition.
Though New York-based, Ellis and Jayne bought the apartment in 2005, largely due to their deep love of carnival. “The party started as a result of us looking for a time during the Mardi Gras festivities when we knew folks would be available,” Ellis says. “We realized Lundi Gras morning was perfect. People would probably be hung over and partied-out from the weekend. And it would be a relaxed respite before the big day.”
Ellis keeps the menu simple. Yummy milk punch is served in a punch bowl with a ring of ice; homemade biscuits are accompanied by sliced ham, flavorful sausage patties (a non-New Orleans addition from Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina, where Ellis grew up), butter (of course), and preserves (including local kumquat). “Let’s face it,” he says. “Nothing is better than a breakfast biscuit and booze.” His guests, for whom the shindig has become a beloved annual institution, could not agree more.