Café Du Monde: A never-ending love affair…

After the Krewe du Vieux parade was over, John and I were trekking back through the Quarter down Decatur Street when I suddenly remembered something…I didn’t have any dessert for my cheat! No matter, I knew the perfect place to go.

Since my first visit to New Orleans, I have been in love with Café Du Monde. I love the crowded cafe overflowing with lines of sticky topped tables. I love the waiters in white hats and aprons bearing over-laden trays while weaving through the masses. I love the mammoth, green awning shading visitors from the harsh sun, but allowing the river breezes. I love the creamy, rich café au laits made with their special blend of coffee and chicory and most of all, above everything else, I love their beignets.

Who could possibly resist these fluffy, crispy pillows of happiness brought out fresh from the deep fryer for every single order and blessed with towering heaps of powdered sugar? Most definitely not I.

When John and I arrived late that Saturday night, the cafe was packed with parade revelers, but we managed to score a table amidst the hullabaloo with little difficulty. We sat and people-watched until a waiter came and took our order of two café au laits and a plate of beignets.

Tourists were flashing fake boobs for pictures while we waited, causing a bit of a row, but soon our order arrived and we set to with a will. The coffee was perfect, requiring only a bit of sugar for my extra-sweet tooth and the beignets were as beautiful as they always are. Piping hot, we munched them down amid a flurry of powdered sugar and gooey grins.

As I washed the sweet remnants from my lips with a slurp of delicious coffee, I couldn’t help feeling warm and wonderful inside. It was yet another reminder that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

So good you could go nuts…

One of the biggest surprises I encountered while working downtown was the inability to find a great doughnut shop.  Isn’t there a corporate law somewhere stating that doughnuts are mandatory for good employee morale and longevity?  Admittedly, I was certainly not one to turn down a slice of doberge cake leftover from some one’s birthday celebration or some delicate petit fours, a lagniappe offered from time to time at the sandwich shop on Julia around the corner, but it just isn’t the same as a great doughnut.  There isn’t even a Krispy Kreme in Orleans Parish although you’ll find one right across the street from a Tastee in Metairie on Clearview!  Not that I like Krispy Kreme either (gasp!), but at least it would be something.

“What do you mean there are no doughnuts in New Orleans?” scoffs the man covered in powdered sugar.  Don’t get me wrong, I love beignets…but let’s be honest, they are made to be eaten pipping hot, fresh from the fryer to your belly with a short space in between for a confectioners mountainous blessing.

But we all know (admit it!), beignets don’t travel well at all.  By the time you get a bag of beignets back to the office, the sugar is a gooey, sticky mess caked onto damp, deflated pillows moist from confinement in a paper bag.  As Alton Brown would say…that’s not good eats.  Plus, how many office meetings have you attended where everyone is decorated in powdered sugar?

This obvious lack could be some savvy baker’s pot of gold! Open up a drive-thru doughnut shop downtown and just watch the profits pour in.  With a nice little burst of local advertising and a quality product, a great doughnut shop could make a killing!  I can even think of the perfect spot, that empty gas station on Lee Circle?