Posts Tagged ‘Mardi Gras’

Got King Cake? Get Your Mardi Gras On!

February 14, 2017



Order King Cake from Beck’s Cajun Café.

If you have been lucky enough to experience Mardi Gras in person, you’ve probably yelled, “Throw me some beads!” and enjoyed catching lots of treasure.   During this flamboyant, loud and fun-filled carnival atmosphere, one tradition that appeals to all ages: an extravagant and gaudy, multi-colored purple, green and gold dessert called King Cake.

The colors that make up the King Cake include purple for justice; green for faith and gold for power.

If you’ve never had a slice of King Cake, and are lucky enough to have the trinket in your slice of cake, you probably are wondering why is there a baby in your cake?   Tradition dictates the use of a small trinket, usually, a small plastic baby (representing the baby Jesus) which traditionally awards privileges and brings good fortune to whoever discovers it – in the past, it was made of porcelain or even gold.  It also brings obligations including hosting the next King Cake Party.

Quickly place your order for King Cake by calling Beck’s Cajun Café at the Reading Terminal Market (215) 592-0505 or the 30th Street Station (215) 282-2800.  (more…)

Mardi Gras’ Catholic Roots

February 4, 2016

Mardi GrasMardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday,” has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. Its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the “last hurrah” before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

What is less known about Mardi Gras is its relation to the Christmas season, through the ordinary-time interlude known in many Catholic cultures as Carnival. Ordinary time, in the Christian calendar, refers to the normal “ordering” of time outside of the Advent/Christmas or Lent/Easter seasons.

Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh.” Like many Catholic holidays and seasonal celebrations, it has its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons. As early as the middle of the second century, the Romans observed a Fast of 40 Days, which was preceded by a brief season of feasting, costumes and merrymaking.

The Carnival season kicks off with the Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, Three Kings’ Day and, in the Eastern churches, Theophany. Epiphany, which falls on January 6, 12 days after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. In cultures that celebrate Carnival, Epiphany kicks off a series of parties leading up to Mardi Gras.

Epiphany is also traditionally when celebrants serve King’s Cake, a custom that began in France in the 12th century. Legend has it that the cakes were made in a circle to represent the circular routes that the Wise Men took to find Jesus, in order to confuse King Herod and foil his plans of killing the Christ Child. In the early days, a coin or bean was hidden inside the cake, and whoever found the item was said to have good luck in the coming year. In Louisiana, bakers now put a small baby, representing the Christ Child, in the cake; the recipient is then expected to host the next King Cake party.

Mardi Gras came to the New World in 1699, when a French explorer arrived at the Mississippi River, about 60 miles south of present day New Orleans. He named the spot Point du Mardi Gras because he knew the holiday was being celebrated in his native country that day.

Eventually the French in New Orleans celebrated Mardi Gras with masked balls and parties, until the Spanish government took over in the mid-1700s and banned the celebrations. The ban continued even after the U.S. government acquired the land but the celebrations resumed in 1827. The official colors of Mardi Gras, with their roots in Catholicism, were chosen 10 years later: purple, a symbol of justice; green, representing faith; and gold, to signify power.

Why is there a baby in my cake?

February 2, 2016


King Cake2Mardi Gras wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without a sweet supply of king cakes. The popular dessert is a cross between a Danish and a cinnamon roll with a sweet filling. It’s topped with gaudy colors of purple, green and gold, representing justice, faith and power.

The cake contains a small trinket, usually a small plastic baby, said to represent the Baby Jesus. In the past, the baby was made of porcelain or even gold.  Tradition holds that the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket is traditionally awarded various privileges and obligations including hosting the next king cake party.

Beck’s is still taking orders for King Cakes, which may be had at $34.95 for a whole cake or $3.25 for individual portion. Get yours by calling 215-592-0505 or 215-382-2800. The cakes are available for pick up at either the Reading Terminal Market or at 30th Street Station through Mardi Gras on Tues., Feb. 9.

Get yours today, baby!


Mardi Gras King Cake Party @ Reading Terminal Market!

January 20, 2016



Mardi Gras comes early this year at the Reading Terminal Market. Join two-time James Beard guest chef Bill Beck for a King Cake party on Sun., Feb. 7, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sample classic Nawlins’ dishes, participate in a king cake decorating contest and meet Philadelphia’s Marilyn Russell, host of Mornings with Marilyn on 95.7 BEN-FM and Tony Luke Jr., cheese steak magnate and host of Food Mashups. A $5 donation is requested to support MANNA.

“Let the good times roll with us right here in the Reading Terminal Market,” said chef Beck. “It’s a great way to kick-of Mardi Gras and support an organization that nourishes people’s bodies and spirits.”

The event will kick-off with a cooking demonstration in the market’s City Kitchen. Chef Bill will prepare traditional items such as oyster bisque and smoked collards with ham hocks and Tabasco. He will also introduce new creations like Eggs St. Rita, a take on eggs Benedict with grilled corn bread, shrimp and andouille scrapple, spinach and Creole Hollandaise.

A celebrity judged king-cake decorating contest follows at 12:30. Donors to MANNA will pair off to create their own masterpiece using a special “mystery” kit. Marilyn Russell, Tony Luke Jr., blogger Kass of Philly Food Girl and Jeff Belonger of will number among the judges.

Beck’s Cajun Café has become known for King Cakes in recent years, providing the sweet and colorful pastry for Mardi Gras. The cake named for the biblical story of the three kings, is a ring of braided brioche topped with icing and sugar in purple, green and gold, representing justice, faith and power.

The cake usually contains a small plastic baby, said to represent the Baby Jesus. Tradition holds that the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket is traditionally awarded various privileges and obligations including hosting the next king cake party. Those wanting to order a King Cake are encouraged to call Beck’s Cajun Café at 215-592-0505 or 215-382-2800.

Beck’s Cajun Cafe is known for its exotic and spicy Creole cuisine made with ingredients from the Big Easy. With locations at Philadelphia’s historic Reading Terminal Market and Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, Beck’s offers authentic dishes including gumbos, jambalaya, muffaletta and bread pudding. Beck’s is the home of the Train Wreck, a culinary creation where po boy meets cheese steak with a name the pays homage to the reading terminal markets train shed history.

Find more about Beck’s Cajun Café at:

A Taste of Fat Tuesday!

February 28, 2014

ImageOur own Chef William Beck was quoted in a great article by Kelly Roncace of the South Jersey Times.titled A Taste of Fat Tuesday. 
Bill should know since Beck’s offers plenty of Mardi Gras foods at Reading Terminal Market and 30th Street Station including King Cakes, Muffalata, Po’ Boys, jambalaya and more.  

Read on! 

Get a recipe for Beck’s Jambalaya!

Join Beck’s and Allons Danser for a Zydeco Dinner Dance with Andre Thierry, Sat. , Mar. 8

January 24, 2014

Join Beck's and Allons Danser for a Zydeco Dinner Dance with Andre Thierry, Sat. , Mar. 8

Beck’s Cajun Cafe is thrilled to be catering dinner for Allons Danser as they host a zydeco dance with Grammy nominee Andre Thierry and Zydeco magic!!

@ Holy Saviour Club
436 E. Main St., Norristown, PA
Dinner & Dance lesson: 7:30PM • Dance: 8:30 PM
New dancers welcome! No partners necessary.
Includes dinner provided
live music and dance
Sat. MAR. 8 • 215-402-7017 • For more Cajun/Zydeco events
Wear your best Mardi Gras costume.

Beck’s Pralines Featured on

February 16, 2013
Mardi Gras recipe round-up
POSTED: Monday, February 11, 2013, 2:54 PM

Not going to make it to Mardi Gras this year? You don’t need to go to New Orleans fora taste of this

Imagecelebration. We rounded up some Mardi Gras recipes you can try at home.


From Beck’s Cajun in Reading Terminal Market and 30th Street Station

2 tbsp. canola oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups light brown sugar

1 cup half-and-half

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 cups pecan pieces

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Set 3 sheets of waxed paper on a work surface and brush with the oil.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugars, half-and-half and butter and heat, without stirring, over medium heat to 235˚F on a candy thermometer, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in the pecans and vanilla. Working quickly, before the mixture hardens, drop by heaping tablespoon onto the oiled wax paper. Allow pralines to cool until completely set, about 30 minutes. (If the pralines flatten too much when you drop them, give the mixture 4 to 5 vigorous stirs with a wooden spoon to thicken.) Makes about 50 pralines.

To see the rest visit The Philly Insider

Beck’s @ 30th Street Featured by Daily Pennsylvanian’s 34th St.

February 16, 2013

Special thanks to Faryn at University of Pennsylvania for this great review!

Beck’s Cajun Cafe: Cajun (Food) Court

Skip the 28–hour train: Beck’s Cajun Cafe takes you to Louisiana in minutes


Shayla Cole

Becks-Cajun-Cafe-Shayla-Cole-21-300x275It’s strange to get such fine food in a food court. But that’s where the excellent Beck’s Cajun Cafe lies—right between a KFC and a nameless take–out Chinese stand. Of course, most people won’t have the luxury of sitting down and savoring Beck’s Louisiana–style offerings. They’ll be catching a train, grabbing gumbo on the go. That’s right: Beck’s is in the middle of 30th Street Station. While the venue might not scream “some of the best Cajun cooking in Philadelphia,” the food does.

And it’s the food that matters to chef and owner Bill Beck, who owned a Latin restaurant before starting the first Beck’s Cajun in Reading Terminal Market. A chef by trade, he was always attracted to Cajun cooking, an amalgamation of Latin, French and Southern cuisine. In talking to Beck, it was clear that he was passionate about bringing this style of cooking to Philadelphia and about the food he was serving.

So let’s get to the food. Namely, Beck serves alligator, and it is delicious. Honestly, my comrades and I were a little (read: completely) terrified when the Gator Gumbo ($6.95) came out. One bite and we were converts.

Becks-Cajun-Cafe-Shayla-Cole-300x200Alligator meat is surprisingly lean and flavorful, like chicken but more savory. Add that exotic meat (which, by the way, is authentic— they ship it from Louisiana) to a spicy and richly flavored gumbo stock and you have yourself a meal that’s truly crave–worthy. For favorites, the mini–cornbread loaves ($1.25) were a close second. Golden and crispy on the outside, warm and airy on the inside, they were the kind of pastry you read about in Martha Stewart magazines, but can never seem to recreate on your own. Also of note were the beignets ($3.95), a classic Louisiana–style doughnut smothered with fine confectioner’s powder (which got all over my pants but was otherwise totally worth it), and the Train Wreck Po Boy ($7.95), a hulking mass of steak and pork covered in cheese and sandwiched between crispy French bread—an alternate cheesesteak to rival Pat’s and Geno’s. The only disappointment was the Jambalaya Bowl ($6.95), the quintessential Cajun dish. It just didn’t have the spiciness or ingenuity of the other dishes; even the added kick of Beck’s own 3 Devils Hot Sauce ($6.99, part of their new retail line) couldn’t elevate it to the others’ level.

I know it’s no fun to read a gushingly positive review. But with incredible authentic Cajun cuisine—seriously, alligator—and the friendliest service around, it’s hard to find anything bad to say about Beck’s Cajun Cafe. Next time you need to go to 30th Street Station, give yourself a 30–minute head start and check out Beck’s. It will be worth the trip.


Shayla Cole | 34th Street

Beck’s Cajun Cafe at 30th Street Station Reviewed by Drexel Triangle!

February 12, 2013

Chef Bill BeckBeck’s Cajun Cafe at 30th Street Station was recently reviewed by The Triangle, Drexel University’s newspaper. Thanks to reviewer Jared Ely for the shout-oust about our Cajun Express Delivery service to homes, offices and dorms in University City and Center City and about our delicious King Cakes. Read on… 

Beck’s Cajun Cafe adds unusual kick to traditional bayou recipes

by Jared.Ely on February 8, 2013 in Arts & EntertainmentRestaurant Reviews

Have you ever had the urge to eat something out of the ordinary? That longing that emanates from deep within the pit of your stomach, the one that moans and cries out in agony for a delicacy it knows it wants but just can’t seem to find? The one that begs not only for sustenance but also a certain degree of pizzazz?

Beck’s Cajun Cafe, has become popular in the Philadelphia community for its vast selection of Creole cuisine. Beck’s is also located at Reading Terminal Market, which opened in 2009.

I am, of course, speaking rhetorically. Obviously you’ve had that feeling. Anyone with a functioning pulse has had that feeling. It’s the feeling that drives us to take the subway out into the heart of Center City at odd hours of the night to obtain that one exceptional pizza, that one incomparable cheesesteak, that one special cup of coffee that can placate our raging thirst for cuisine.

We’re lucky to be in University City. We’re lucky to have all types of food from Mediterranean to just about every type of Asian cuisine, not to mention the American staples and frozen yogurt, no more than a mile or so away from us. But with Beck’s Cajun Cafe now at 30th Street Station, we hit the jackpot.

Having operated out of Reading Terminal Market since 2009, Beck’s has become exceptionally popular, and justifiably so. They offer a wide selection of Creole cuisine, such as Po Boys and Jambalaya, and it’s all authentic. Renowned chef Bill Beck, a Philadelphia native who earned such accolades as being the guest chef at the famous James Beard House and three “Best of Philly” awards, truly loves preparing and serving the best Cajun dishes he can make.  Needless to say, his enthusiasm really shines through. When I met with him, it was obvious that he’s incredibly passionate about giving his customers the most authentic Cajun food he can make, not only because he wants the customer to enjoy their meal but also to make sure that the food he serves is true to its roots. He goes as far as importing the shrimp, Community Coffee, Zapp’s Chips and alligator (yes, they actually put alligator in a few of their dishes) all the way from Louisiana to make the food as authentic as possible.

This authenticity is clearly visible in the food, too. It’s not as though the imported foods are similar to what most people are used to; on the contrary, these colorful foods add a special degree of excitement to the dish. For instance, the Community Coffee that Beck’s serves is nothing at all like normal, everyday coffee. Instead of the typical, bitter bite of coffee, this Louisiana blend contains chicory root, giving it a much smoother feel and earthier taste that resolves into just a hint of chocolate after a moment. At first taste I was taken aback, but half a cup later I fell in love with the drink.

In addition to their authenticity, Beck’s has real staying power from the quality that extends throughout its menu. While there I sampled the Beignets and the Train Wreck, a Po Boy sandwich paying homage to the Philly cheesesteak. The Beignets were incredible; they resemble doughnuts with powdered sugar on top, but inside lay a vast network of almost imperceptibly gooey dough, almost akin to an extremely thick funnel cake. With each bite I became more and more aware of how often I’ll be visiting Beck’s in the near future. The Train Wreck was amazing as well, packed full to bursting with a plethora of meats and dripping with a mix of satisfying au jus, the flavor of which most certainly proved the sandwich’s faithfulness to the Philly cheesesteak.

It is Beck’s new delivery system that really puts the restaurant over the edge. Now, any time you have the desire for Creole cuisine, it’s only a phone call away. Its location, within the bustling 30th Street Station, experiences mass commuter traffic and thus is convenient for both University City students as well as frequent travelers. When discussing this new service, the proprietors were excited to finally reach out to the University City area and give students the chance to try some real comfort food.

Overall, Beck’s is a shining example of what restaurants should strive to become. I cannot express how obvious it is that at Beck’s, the customer comes first and the business follows behind. It was not only refreshing to see the servers talking to customers about their dishes, letting them try the food and getting the customer’s opinion of it, but it also showed me just how much Beck’s is about serving the best, most authentic Creole cuisine possible and having the most satisfied customers. If there’s one thing I can guarantee, it’s that you can expect quality, friendly service, and most importantly, a great meal when you go to Beck’s. So next time you’re in the mood for Cajun, be it at 30th Street Station, Reading Terminal Market or pretty much anywhere else, don’t hesitate to try Beck’s. You won’t be disappointed.

Send Your Mardi Gras Pictures to Beck’s

February 6, 2013

Mardi Gras Woman Green HairHey kids, are you celebrating Mardi Gras? Well, whether you’re in New Orleans or Philadelphia, Beantown or the Bowery, send us your Fat Tuesday photos. We’ll post them on our Facebook page. If yours is the best, you’ll win a free po’ boy! 

You can submit until Fri., Feb. 19 to