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Mardi Foie Gras 

Upscale indie restaurants heat up the B-Side with a taste of the Big Easy.

Take an imaginary trip to the French Quarter tonight, when the 80-member Cleveland Independents — a group of Cleveland mom-and-pop restaurants — cater the Creole-themed Nawlins Night. Party band Buckwheat Zydeco will help create the mood with their brand of 12-bar blues. "We have had requests from area foodies to put on an event where we could display the creativity of our group," says Myra Orenstein, the agency's director. "The opportunity came up to do something with music, and we thought it would be a nice tie-in."Here's the menu's breakdown: Boulevard Blue will plate up fried oysters and tomatoes chimichurri; Fire will stir up some chicken-and-sausage gumbo; Fat Fish Blue pitches in with its version of seafood jambalaya; Bistro 185 makes a case with servings of crab cake rémoulade; Sergio's creates "heart-attack crayfish," with sausage, crab, shrimp, oysters, and pasta; the Leopard is in the house with okra fried in buttermilk; and the J. Pistone Market rounds out the offerings with banana-bread pudding and bourbon pecan bars. "Some restaurants are ethnic, some are very trendy, and some are both. They are basically the flavors of the neighborhood. Independents are fairly small, and they are unable to compete with the marketing and buying power that a chain restaurant would have. They kinda get pushed aside or hidden, because they can't get on TV or radio or advertise in newspapers," says Orenstein. "Our goal is to put them in the forefront." Fais do-do from 6 to 8 tonight at the B-Side Liquor Lounge, 2533 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $50. Call 216-932-3322 or visit
Sun., June 1, 6-8 p.m., 2008

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