Doing the Tourist Thing: Cafe du Monde in New Orleans
Sometimes you just have to do that tourist thing. Like, when you’re in New Orleans, you’ve GOT to go to Café du Monde, THE Café du Monde, the one in the French Quarter. Here’s why you have to go:
The Original Café Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Café is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane [note the capital H] passes too close to New Orleans.
The Original Café Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop. Its menu consists of dark roasted Coffee and Chicory, Beignets, White and Chocolate Milk, and fresh squeezed Orange Juice. The coffee is served Black or Au Lait. Au Lait means that it is mixed half and half with hot milk. Beignets are square French-style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar. In 1988 Iced Coffee was introduced to the café. Soft drinks also made their debut that year.
Great story, great menu.
Of course, every other tourist in town also wants to go to the original Café du Monde. So they all line up, patiently waiting to be seated in the café. But there’s a secret at the Café du Monde. It’s called the to-go line. You might not see the to-go line at first because you’re overwhelmed by the powered sugar haze in the air and the length of the café seating line. But walk around the café, to the back of the building, and there’s a to-go window. There are tables, separated from the café tables by a metal fence. The tables practically touch. There’s a slate wall to perch upon. When the to-go line gets longer than ten people long, a guy comes out to take your order. He tells you to sit down on the wall and he’ll bring your order right out. And he does that. You’re sitting five feet away from the people who waited in line for an hour and then waited longer for their order, chowing on your beignets and slurping your coffee and trying not to gloat. And, bonus, you get a half pound of powered sugar to take home with you in your to-go bag.