I’d skipped dessert at Galatoire’s earlier in the day because I knew I’d be spending part of the afternoon eating beignets at Café Du Monde. You have to eat beignets at Café Du Monde when you’re in New Orleans.
Beignets are deep-fried, pillow-like pastries, served hot and covered with powdered sugar. They’re eaten by hand. Etiquette note: Traditionally, you hold a beignet in one hand, while simultaneously using the other hand in a frantic and futile attempt to brush the powdered sugar off the front of your shirt. It won’t work, but people will be impressed when they see you’re making the effort.
The original Café Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862,* the year that the Union Army seized and occupied New Orleans, which somewhat ironically saved the city from much of the destruction that occurred in other Confederate locales.
Café Du Monde seats 400 and is open 24/7, except on Christmas Day and during the more severe New Orleans hurricanes. It shut down for seven weeks of cleaning and physical upgrades after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, for instance.
Best thing about it, other than the delightful setting and beignets themselves, is the price. Café Du Monde is one of those rare tourist “Must-Do” sites that doesn’t gouge its visitors. That serving of three delicious beignets costs less than $4.
*That’s 158 years ago. I did the math.