Most big cities are known for having a signature food. Philadelphia has the cheese steak, Chicago has the deep dish, and Texas has its delicious Mexican food. Then there are cities like New York and New Orleans that are melting pots and have an extreme variation of exotic cuisine. So, when traveling to a city it is important that you follow two important steps:
- Find a place to stay while you are there.
- Plan out what you want to eat.
Over my Christmas break I had the exciting opportunity to travel to New Orleans for the first time. With New Orleans having such a unique blend of cultures it was hard to pin point what to eat since I was only going to be there for one night and wanted to both explore and eat. There is of course the Po-boy made with fresh Gulf Coast shrimp or other seafood on a French baguette. There is also the Creole Gumbo made famous with the Louisiana spice. Then there are the beignets; the classic French doughnuts with powdered sugar. Being faced with this challenging decision forced me to resort back to my natural instincts: go for the sweets.
Beignets are square French-styled doughnuts that are fried and then lavishly dressed with powdered sugar. These delicious treats are usually served as an order of three and there is no doubt that they go best with a hot cup of coffee. There are many places all throughout New Orleans do get a beignet, but there is only one that is the best and that place is Café Du Monde.
Café Du Monde was established in 1862 and is considered the original coffee shop in the French Market. One thing that makes this coffee shop so convenient is that it is open 24/7 except on Christmas Day. So although the line for Café Du Monde might circle all the way around the front of the shop, no need to fret because you can get your beignets any time of day!
By pure luck, when my crew and I arrived there was absolutely no line to get inside so we were able to sit almost immediately. This prominent New Orleans coffee shop is unique for more reasons than just their delicious food and rich history. As soon as you are able to walk under the awning that surrounds the building you can begin scouting out an open table. Once you see an open table I suggest you go and snatch it because they go very quickly. Once you sit down at your bistro-esque table you can take a quick glance at the tables napkin holder for your menu but your decision should be made pretty quickly since the menu is pretty straightforward. There are the beignets and then you can choose if you want you sweets served with coffee, milk, or orange juice. Since Café Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop, I suggest trying a cup of their phenomenal coffee served Au Lait (mixed half and half with hot milk.) However, one thing you should know before binging on three orders of beignets, they only accept cash. So be sure to get out some cash or before you hit the streets because they will let you know before you order that they are cash only and you certainly don’t want to give up your table to run to an ATM.
Being one of the busiest establishments in the French Market the turn over rate is pretty quick. From the time we sat down at our table to the moment our order arrived was probably less than ten minutes. While that doesn’t leave much time to soak in your environment, I definitely suggest searching for a table near the outskirts of the shop. The setup of Café Du Monde definitely has that classic French-style feel to it. The layout of the building is very open with allows you to take in the complete view around you and enjoy all of the culture that New Orleans has to offer.
Going to New Orleans is not on my usual travel routine, so without knowing the next time I was going to be there I decided to get some Café Beignet mix while I was there. That way, I can take a little bit of New Orleans home with me and try out making my own Beignets! Be on the lookout for my sister blog that I am starting which will show some of the cooking and baking I do at my own home when I’m not out and about.