Olivia Dish

Cafe Du Monde Mystery

In Local Flavor, New Orleans, Restaurant, Sweets on November 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm
Cafe Du Monde

What is it about this place?

Cafe Du Monde is a destination for any tourist in New Orleans. And yet, I go there. Keep going there.  I like it. Wouldn’t miss it.  How is that? How can that be?

Mysterious, don’t you think?

I realized on this last visit that I’ve been coming to Cafe Du Monde since I was 14, when I made my first trip to New Orleans with my high school French club. I had chocolate milk and beignets back then.

And I was hooked.

Cafe Du Monde beignet

The classic: cafe au lait and a plate de beignets

Hooked on the whole grab a  vinyl upholstered seat, and we’ll serve you when we get to you.  Determined to join the throng demanding fried dough and coffee with steamed milk.

The beignets were almost beside the point. I just liked the whole crazy scene.

Over the years, I’ve gone there in the afternoons. Stopped by in the evenings for dessert.  Staggered there in the wee hours after an all-night music, drinking, dancing kind of thing because I just wasn’t ready to go home.

One of its chief qualities is that Cafe Du Monde is open 24 hours. And that it always seems to be alive, that fried, sugared lumps of dough are good whenever you care to have them.

Cafe Du Monde

I'm not the only one photographing my food

This time around, I was at Cafe Du Monde in what my mother might call the appropriate time of day–morning, for breakfast, when something resembling doughnuts and coffee would make sense to her.  It was fun to watch the other tourists–the woman next to me taking a photo of her food before eating, the woman two tables over insisting that she needed artificial no-cal sweetener for her coffee, the brushing brushing brushing of powdered sugar by every person off every item of clothing. The white dust marks on the floor under chairs.

Cafe du Monde

The tell-tale spot...one of many

You order from a menu on the wall (also on the napkin dispenser). Eventually, your order materializes. You pay as soon as it arrives. And that’s it. Simple. Fried dough. Cafe au lait. Powdered sugar. You’re done.  The beignets, themselves, are okay….no better than other fried dough, best when eaten hot. Mine, actually, were a little tough and chewy.

Cafe Du Monde

The awning may not last forever but the charm endures...

And yet…the lure of Cafe Du Monde is undeniable.  At least for me.  And apparently for plenty of others. Go ahead, google it and see what you get. Someone even made a video of beignets being made there. Pretty simple stuff. What is it, I wonder, that makes it so irresistible. And would familiarity breed contempt?


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