Restaurant: Café Du Monde
Last visited: May 25, 2012
Location: Multiple in New Orleans, LA (French Quarter)
Address: 813 Decatur Street
Transit: Dumaine Station
Where I stayed: Le Richelieu Hotel (Walking distance)
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Since 1862
- Coffee & Beignets
- World famous doughnuts
- Award winning
- Local/tourist favourite
- Very limited menu
- Limited drink menu
- Plenty of seating
- Large outdoor patio
- Budget friendly/cheap eats
- Take out window
- Open 7 days a week 24/7
I feel like this is the post people would be looking forward to the most in Follow Me Foodie to New Orleans. Whether you’re a “foodie” or not you’ve most likely heard of the world famous French doughnut called the beignet and Cafe du Monde is world renowned for them. They’ve become almost synonymous with New Orleans and hold higher value than pralines. Lots of people can make a good praline, but not everyone can make a perfect beignet. Case and point were the many praline shops I saw, but almost no other beignet shops.
I would have thought New Orleans would have a bunch of places specializing in beignets. I was surprised that Café Du Monde would have no competition for this one menu item. I did some research and walked around the city and I only saw one other place in The French Quarter selling them. I was tempted to try a few to see what the difference was, but time didn’t permit and I couldn’t waste precious stomach space on a beignets series. If I lived there, it would be another story. However Café Du Monde seemed to be “the one”.
Cafe du Monde is beloved by locals and tourists alike and I would consider it a New Orleans attraction so it is a must try. I popped on the website for opening hours and it said “The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.” O.o Well then… that was good to know! It wasn’t hurricane season yet, so I was safe.
I remember passing by it in the taxi after dinner at Cochon and wanting to make a pit stop on the way back to the hotel, but it was already quite late. The cab driver also said “daayhhheemm I would only eat those in the morning and not before bed”, so I had pictured them being very rich and indulgent. On a side note, the cab driver was Vietnamese with a super ghetto accent which helped me laugh off dinner. Anyway I thought I had tried beignets before, but after trying these ones I don’t think I have until now.
There are multiple Café Du Monde locations throughout New Orleans, but I decided to visit the original one in The French Quarter. It was a stones throw away from Le Richelieu Hotel where I was staying. This could have been a dangerous sign, but there was much more food on my itinerary to be explored. I actually ended up trying the beignets for dessert after having “America’s best fried chicken” from Willy Mae’s Fried Chicken. Yup! I do like to balance my diet… savoury and then sweet.
On the table:
- Order of 3 French doughnuts (minimum) $1.82
- Café Au Lait S: $1.82 L: $3.19
- “Beignets were brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. These were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are served in orders of three.” – Cafe du Monde website.
- Order of 3 French doughnuts (minimum) $1.82
- As a beignet I would say this is 6/6 but I also don’t have much to compare.
- This will be my benchmark for beignets from now on, but as an overall dessert it was a 4/6 for me.
- They’re dirt cheap and if they were expensive (eg. $3 for one), I bet people would think twice.
- I don’t want to take away from them because they were very good, but just not what I expected.
- They were served hot and fresh from the fryer and generously sprinkled with icing sugar.
- They’re very messy to eat and every table was covered with sugar and napkins.
- They weren’t anything like traditional American doughnuts.
- I don’t know why people say they’re rich and indulgent because they’re totally not.
- I thought beignets were filled with pastry cream or custard, but apparently not.
- They were very light, airy, pillowy, and puffy and almost unsweetened doughnuts with no filling.
- The sweetness all came from the icing sugar on the outside so you constantly dip it in the icing sugar before each bite.
- They weren’t even buttery and they were made with milk and buttermilk and seemed to have either little or no vanilla, so the flavour was almost neutral.
- The flavour was reminiscent to those Chinese savoury doughnuts you eat with congee except these were not crispy or as savoury.
- For me the “wow factor” was in the texture more so than the flavour.
- The inside dough was moist, thin and membrane like and it was quite stretchy, squishy and chewy which was nice.
- It was made with some added barley flour and that with the combination of buttermilk powder made it very tender and ultra light.
- They were delicate French doughnuts you pull apart to eat and the texture was impressive as a doughnut.
- I was just expecting a sweet dessert with custard, and although I did enjoy it, it’s not something I was addicted to.
- It’s not something many could easily make or find elsewhere either, so it is still a FMF Must Try!
- S: $1.82 L: $3.19
- Cafe Du Monde Coffee is traditionally served Au Lait, mixed half and half with hot milk.
- The coffee here is known for having chicory flavour. It was an added ingredient when coffee was scarce during the civil war.
- Chicory is the root of an endive plant which is quite bitter so it helped develop a stronger coffee flavour.
- Since this was half milk I found the flavour very mild and bitterness almost undetectable.
- It didn’t seem that strong at all and it was unsweetened, but tasted a bit malted.
- It wasn’t really a highlight, but it was good and I enjoyed it with the beignets.