Sunday, April 8, 2007

(iced) Cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe Du Monde - New Orleans, LA USA

I've been thinking about what item to start this blog with thinking it had to be spectacular and amazing, some really unique and delicious food item in a great place, all the pressure was too much. So I thought I would start with something I experienced recently for the first time, well known, classic, and very delicious (especially on a sunny Friday morning when you are suffering from a hangover from a long night on Bourbon Street as I happened to be at the time). The Cafe Du Monde website has more info the chicory coffee they use in the Cafe Au Lait, which is a drink made with half coffee and half hot milk (or in my case, cold since I ordered the iced version). Basically chicory was added to coffee to give it body and flavor when coffee was scarce and it also adds a smoothness to the bitter taste of dark roasted coffee. Being a Pacific Northwesterner I like to think I know coffee and this is good coffee. I bought a can at my wife's request so that we can enjoy the cafe au lait at home, and I'm sure it will be tasty but it cannot compare to sitting on the outdoor patio at Cafe Du Monde drinking one with some fresh hot beignets. And what is a beignet? It's a fried piece of dough covered with powdered sugar, very basic and simple and very very good. As I found when I tried to get some to go earlier in the trip and eat them back at my hotel, these are best enjoyed hot. They are covered in a very generous amount of powdered sugar which will cover your hands and clothes no matter how carefully you eat them, but you really won't care because they are so good. There is a sweet crispness on the outside and doughy goodness inside, wash down with the cafe au lait and you have a perfect afternoon treat....or breakfast...or dessert. Cafe Du Monde is on a busy corner in the middle of the French Quarter and definitely a tourist mecca so it's not exactly a quiet out of the way spot but well worth dealing with rude and annoying tourists to experience the coffee, beignets and a little New Orleans history.
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