After all was said and done on my trip to New Orleans, I think it’s safe to say that the most famously classic New Orleans dessert is the “beignet.” A beignet is a French donut topped with a load of powdered sugar. In my eyes, they’re very similar to zeppoles. However, it’s apparently essential to have a good beignet in New Orleans, and Cafe Du Monde is considered the absolute best. When we arrived, there was a long line outside the open-seated restaurant. However, there are a ton of tables, and the service is very quick and straightforward.
Cafe Du Monde is in the French Quarter on Decatur Street. It’s considered the most iconic New Orleans cafe, where it serves coffee and beignets. No, seriously — that’s all they serve. I mean, they have hot chocolate and a couple of other drink options. But if you’re looking for eggs, a biscuit, a croissant… you’re out of luck. I asked for a cup of hot tea, and the waitress laughed and immediately pointed out that it’s “not on the menu.” The menu is sweet (pun intended) and to the point, and right on the napkin holder. The simplicity of the menu appears to be very good for their business — they specialize in a couple of distinct items, and the seating is very come-and-go as a result.
So, lo and behold — my parents ordered coffee and I ordered hot chocolate (I don’t drink coffee). We ordered two sets of beignets, where 3 of the donuts come in each set. Honestly, we probably could’ve eaten three sets, but two is probably enough.
The beignets are very good — I wasn’t blown out of the water, but they are good. They’re puffy and inviting and are definitely very comforting. Cafe Du Monde puts enough powdered sugar on the beignets to make a whole snowman. I literally had to tap an avalanche of powdered sugar off my beignet, and there was still a ton left on the donut anyway. The beignets are very soft and dough-y, and they do go great with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. We had some beignets a couple of times during breakfast at our hotel, and they were good, but the beignets at Cafe Du Monde were substantially fluffier and fuller.
The method to the madness behind Cafe Du Monde is rather interesting and well-organized. In the back, there is essentially a self-serving assembly line for the servers, where they simply grab what they need to grab to serve customers, and keep the process going along smoothly. It’s a logical, clean, and straightforward system.
All in all, I’d say Cafe Du Monde is surely worth the trip. It’s probably the most famous cafe or restaurant in all of New Orleans, and it doesn’t take too long to get some good seats, chow down on a couple of beignets, and get on your merry way. There’s a gift shop where they sell beignet mix and coffee grounds, mugs, tumblers, etc. It was overall a positive experience that I’d surely go to again.