Tuesday, January 29, 2013
New Orleans, Day 2 - Beignets at Cafe du Monde
Day 2 in New Orleans didn't end with that 4-course meal for lunch. After we had eaten, we were each gifted with Poppy's book, Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook, that she had personalized and signed for each of us. If Poppy's recipes that she made at the New Orleans Cooking Experience are representative of the rest of the recipes in her cookbook, I'd recommend getting your own copy. Seriously, the dishes she made us were yummy (there's that word again - can't use it often enough). And she made everything look so easy to make.
We had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves and were back at the hotel by 3:30 pm or so. After that kind of eating, I honestly couldn't picture eating dinner that night. Instead I walked around the French Quarter for a little exploring and went down to Decatur Street. Although hunger was the last thing I was feeling, I did have a mission and that was to check off the top item on my foodie bucket list: eat beignets at Cafe du Monde. I probably didn't need to eat anymore deep-fried foods (or anything else) that day but in reviewing the itinerary for the rest of the trip, I knew this was my only chance. I hadn't come all the way to New Orleans NOT to go to Cafe du Monde so away I went. Part of our tour package included a voucher for an order of beignets and a drink (coffee, cafe au lait or hot chocolate).
There are a string of Cafe du Mondes in New Orleans due to their popularity. I, however, went to the original one - no little offshoots for me. Fortunately I went during an off-peak time, having already been forewarned by my "local, not native" New Orleans friend Jen not to go in the morning or during after-work hours. It's very informal at Cafe du Monde. You walk into the open-air seating area, take a table and one of the waitstaff comes to take your order. In the meantime, for atmosphere, a musician or two is serenading the crowd with some jazz numbers. You can't get much more New Orleans than that.
The beignets arrived under an avalanche of powdered sugar. Not just a light sprinkling which is what I prefer but a veritable blanket worthy of winter in the Alps. I pretty much had to tap them several times on the plate to get the excess sugar off. Nice and hot, they were fresh and tasty. I only wish I'd actually been hungry as I think I would've enjoyed them more. They were good but let's face it, I was pretty stuffed already. But still, they were beignets and I was at Cafe du Monde. Life was good.
I walked around some more after that until it got dark then went back to the hotel. Dinner was nowhere on my agenda (seriously, I couldn't eat anymore) so instead I hit the hotel gym and the treadmill for an hour to get some equilibrium back. Tomorrow was another eating day after all.