(At Café du Monde in New Orleans)
We had just arrived in New Orleans after driving through Tenessee and Alabama. Instead of making a beeline for the boozy slush drink vendor we walked to Café Du Monde in the Fernch Market for their well known coffee and beignets. The café, which operates 24/7 except on Christmas and during the occasional hurricane, was booming with customers. The takeout lineup was daunting while all of the tables in the eat in section were taken with people looming nearby ready to snatch the next available - whether it was coated in the previous customers powdered sugar or not. With a little luck and determination we got a table and it wasn't that sticky and sugar coated. The boyfriend and I sat down, ready for our first taste of New Orleans.
It took a long time for the waitstaff to acknowledge us. After giving several waiters 'the eye' and several pathetic 'excuse me?'s we put our order in and eagerly waited this New Orleans delicacy. The beignets themselves are simple - fried square pieces of dough that have powdered sugar poured, not sprinkled, on top of them. The coffee, served plain or as a hot or cold café au lait is blended with chicory adding a chocolate flavour to the dark roast. Since it was hot and humid I ordered an iced café au lait and my own order of beignets (each order contains 3 beignets). When they arrived I was shocked at the amount of powdered sugar - maybe there was someone new making the beignets today and they didn't know how much sugar to put on. Maybe the container of sugar fell over on my beignets. Or maybe they were giving me sugar for my café au lait, just on my beignets. But no, this is how sugary they are supposed to be and part of the experience is walking away a little sticky and sugar coated.
I didn't like it. I didn't like the slow, inattentive service, I didn't like how sticky and dirty the café looked and I didn't like choking on powdered sugar while trying to have a midnight snack with the boyfriend. There are many other restaurants and café's to visit in New Orleans, save your money and avoid this hot tourist spot and try Louisiana's state doughnut elsewhere. Or get a boozy slush drink or two and have a fun walk back to the hotel.