When in the French Quarter you simply have to start the day with a visit to Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand located in the heart of the French Quarter. It was the original French Market coffee stand established in 1862 across from Jackson Square and is still owned by the Fernandez family who purchased it in 1942.
Their simple menu consists of dark roasted coffee and chicory, beignets, white milk, chocolate milk, fresh squeezed orange Juice, iced coffee, and soft drinks. The coffee is traditonally served Au Lait which means it is mixed half and half with hot milk. Chicory is the root of the endive plant, a lettuce, which is roasted and ground before being added to the coffee. It gives the coffee an almost chocolate flavor. You can get black coffee or decaf if you prefer. Beignets are puffy square French-style doughnuts deep fried and then covered with powdered sugar. They come three to a serving.
Our very first morning in the Quarter I rose early to enjoy a fresh brewed cup of store bought coffee in the courtyard where we were staying. Doug was still sleeping so Kirby I walked to Cafe Du Monde which was about four blocks away. Once we arrived I had two options - sit at a table in the cafe which is rather noisy or get a to-go purchase which is what I chose to do.
We did have to wait in line for slightly more than twenty minutes but I very much appreciated that the beignets aren't cooked until an order is placed. Everyone in line was quite friendly and chatty so the time felt like it passed quickly. All that rally practice paid off because Kirby behaved as a southern gentleman should. Finally we reached the window where it was my turn to place my order! For $7.95 I purchased a small cafe au lait, a small orange juice, and an order of fresh beignets.
We then headed across the street to Jackson Square, a lovely park filled with magnificient trees, statues, flowers, and birds. To my dismay I discovered dogs were not allowed inside the park which of course contained the only green grass for maybe miles (that's another story) so we settled on a shaded bench right outside.
I leisurely enjoyed my surroundings as I sipped on my cafe au lait enveloped by the aroma and flavor, and the piping hot beignets were literally dripping in powdered sugar. I had been warned to wear white! I don't have words to describe how melt in your mouth delicious they were. I offered Kirby a piece of a beignet but the silly boy turned his nose up. He did however enjoy every drop of his freshly squeezed orange juice! It was a zen kind of morning as we listened to the birds chattering in the trees and watching people walk by, some stopping a moment to say hello. Kirby amused himself with the large pigeons (I swear some were half his size) walking about on the ground. At first several would come close enough for him to want to attempt to catch them. He quickly learned these were seasoned birds he couldn't possibly catch so he settled for watching them scurry about looking for food.
Image by neworleansonline.com
- 800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 1-504-525-4544
- Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except Christmas Day or whenever a Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans
- Dog friendly covered seating (ceiling fans keep it cool)
- Located at one end of the French Market
- Reasonable prices
- Amazing coffee and freshly made beignets
- Fun place for people watching
- Jackson Square Park is across the street
- The Mississippi River is right behind the cafe (beware birds have been known to swoop down for food)
- Service is slow - plan to wait
- It's very loud in the cafe
- The beignet is the state doughnut of Louisiana.
- A New Orleans tradition since 1862.
- Recipe for making cafe au lait on their website. However, some details are missing.
- Recipe for make beignets on their website. Again, instructions are sparse.
- You can purchase everything you need or want in the French Market which runs for several blocks.
If only I lived just around the corner! Mmm, maybe I could open a franchise in Mississippi?