consumption of beignets sat squarely atop our list of tourist-musts for our New Orleans adventure. our very first stop on Friday morning, after a breezy but pleasant walk from our hotel next to the convention center into the French Quarter, was the Cafe du Monde – perhaps the best known source of beignets in the city.
situated diagonally across the street from Jackson Square, Cafe du Monde has operated since the 1860s, originally a part of the French Market. capitalizing on the popularity of their signature treat, at one time Cafe du Monde locations ranged all over Louisiana and as far away as Atlanta. today, there are just under a dozen locations around the greater New Orleans area. the French Market cafe is open 24 hours a day year round, with the exception of Christmas day and whenever hurricanes threaten enough to necessitate closure. the cafe closed on August 27, 2005, in advance of Katrina and, though the venue was only slightly damaged by the storm, the property owners took two months following the storm to refurbish the cafe while visitor numbers were down.
we arrived about 10:00 a.m. on a Friday to stand in line. while the line moved quickly, getting us under the awning in about 10 or 15 minutes, the same couldn’t be said for getting our tasty fried treats and chicory-flavored cafe au lait. when the beignets arrived, they proved mostly worth the wait, though by the end of my order they seemed to be losing a crucial degree of their warmth, if not their tasty, fried (and sugar-drenched) sweetness. not the best beignets I had on our trip, but still mighty tasty.