Tag: doughnuts

New Orleans Food Tour: Cafe du Monde

A Taste of the South: Notes from a Trip to Louisiana

Wherein we confirm that beignets are just not our thing.

The Cafe du Monde is one of the America’s oldest – and most famous – cafes, serving chicory coffee and beignets since 1862. This open air cafe is located at one end of the French market in the French quarter and attracts endless lines of tourists. While our visit to Cafe Beignet had pretty much convinced us that we didn’t like beignets, any visit to New Orleans demands a visit to Cafe du Monde. Alas, rather than face the crowds myself, I sent Mike to get us beignets. I didn’t burden him with getting chicory coffee, as I was pretty sure I would not like it. Chicory has been used as a coffee extender for ages, and while it has become quite popular in New Orleans, there is a reason why that popularity hasn’t travelled (I guess this is just as true for beignets). Plus our hotel had normal coffee available for guests.

The beignets come in paper bags, three to an order ($3.85)

They had irregular shapes, they were probably rectangular to being with but they deformed in the hot oil. I liked them better than those at Cafe Beignet because they were slightly lighter and less dense, but only slightly. These were still heavy, chewy and just not that tasty. Again, regular doughnuts are far superior.

Still, I’m glad we tried them.

Besides its location at the French Market, Café du Monde has several locations throughout New Orleans, including one at the airport. So, if unlike us, you do like beignets, you can pick some up right before you fly back home.

Cafe du Monde
800 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA
(504) 587-0833
Su-Th: 7:15AM-11PM
F-Sa: 7:15AM-12AM

New Orleans Food Tour

New Orleans Food Tour: Café Beignet

A Taste of the South: Notes from a Trip to Louisiana

It turns out beignets are not for us.

New Orleans is famous many dishes, with savory and sweet, but among the latter beignets reign supreme – at least, among tourists. I can only imagine that it’s the fun of eating a pastry that is guaranteed to cover you and everything around you with powdered sugar that makes them so appealing. And fun they are, even if they otherwise were rather disappointing.

Among the establishments serving beignets in the French Quarter, the two most prominent ones are Cafe du Monde, which has been selling beignets since 1862, and Café Beignet, a mere 30 year old restaurant which makes up for its youth by having actually four different branches in the city. We visited the one on Decatur St. for breakfast our first morning in New Orleans, though we twice stopped at the one on Bourbon Street to rest our feet and listen to some live Jazz. The garden at the latter site is glorious.

The Café Beignet branch on Decatur Street has a fun dining room, somewhat evocative of la Belle  Époque. The wooden bar is beautiful. Outdoors, there are only a couple of tables on the sidewalk by the restaurant. It’s not particularly picturesque, but it allows you to people watch as you eat.

You order at the counter, and food is brought to your table. The menu consists of omelettes, sandwiches, breakfast items and Creole specialties like jambalaya and crawfish etouffee. And, of course, beignets and other pastries. They have a bunch of coffee dishes, but not fresh orange juice.

I’m not a breakfast eater myself, so I ordered the beignets ($4.50 for 3). These were relatively large squares of fried dough covered with powdered sugar. As the powdered sugar is the same everywhere, it was all about the fried dough. And this fried dough was not great. It was dense and chewy and not particularly flavorful on its own (thus the need for powdered sugar). Basically, they were heavy – and the last thing you want in the morning is a heavy piece of fried dough. I ate a beignet and sort of nibbled on the second one. Mike took a bite, and was done.

Apparently, the problem with New Orleans beignets is that they are made from a leavened dough instead of the choux pastry used in France. The latter makes them far lighter and enjoyable.

Mike ordered the Andouille sausage omelette ($12), which came with grits and a slice of French bread. Miked liked it. The sausage was very tasty, spicy and flavorful, and it was well mixed with the omelette. The omelette was on the small side, but it wasn’t very expensive. The grits and herbed toasted bread was a disconcerting choice – Mike would have preferred a biscuit.

Café Beignet
600 Decatur Street
New Orleans, Louisiana
M-Th 8am-6pm
F-Su 8am-8pm

New Orleans Food Tour

San Leandro Bites: Mochinuts

Crispy Corndogs and Mochi Donuts, what is not to like?

Mochinut is a newish chain fast food restaurant/bakery that serves just four products: Korean-style corn dogs, mochi doughnuts, canned drinks and soft serve ice cream. Their concept reminds me of Hot Dog on a Stick, a chain of food stands serving corndogs and fried cheese that was very popular at malls in California when I was a teenager. Mochinut already has over two dozen stores in seven states and continues to expand. It opened in San Leandro a few months ago.

I hadn’t been super-impressed the first time I got donuts from them, but decided to give it another try and try their hot dogs as well.

Their hot dogs look similar to corndogs, which is why I’m tempted of calling them that, but they are encased in a batter made from Korean rice flour. This results in an extremely crispy exterior – though it also means the dogs are very high in carbs, about twice as much as what you can expect a regular corndog to have.

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We got both an original hot dog ($5) and a half-and-half ($5.50) one. The latter was half hot dog and half cheese (rather than hot dog surrounded by cheese). The cheese wasn’t very flavorful, but the hot dog itself was tasty. I’d order them again. In addition to these rather plain dogs, they also have some covered with crunch cereal, hot cheetos, takis and even ramen. You can get just a fried mozzarella stick, but they also seem to have a hotdog with cheddar that I might try next time.

Of course, Mochinut is mostly famous for its mochi doughnuts, and my reviews of these are pretty mixed.

I love how elastic the dough is, which gives them a pleasant, light chewiness. But they are overwhelmingly sweet. The churro donut was, perhaps, my favorite simply because it wasn’t as sweet as the others – but I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon and it’s messy to eat. Both the original glaced and the mango one were too sweet for my taste.

That said, I do look forward to trying other flavors, thought for about $10 for a box of three, this is a very occasional treat. They are served beautifully, though.

Pelton Shopping Center
185 Pelton Center Way
San Leandro, CA
(510) 969-7247
M-Su 12-7 PM

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