TRAVEL TREASURE #7 – Cafe Du Monde NOLA

We’re back with more Travel Treasure and this week it’s one for all my fellow foodies…

Prepare to be inspired and why not share your treasure too?

Cafe du Monde NOLA

by Lara Platten

© Lara Platten

© Lara Platten

‘You must go to Cafe Du Monde’ ‘Oh I always go to Cafe Du Monde’ ‘You have to get beignets at Cafe Du Monde’

When the same place gets mentioned by seemingly every guidebook, list or person who’s been to a given city, you know you have to go. I’m covering a lot of cities on my trip across the US, but no eatery has been as consistently recommended as Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.

On my first full day, a Saturday, the queue is down the street. Now I’ve queued for coffee before (Monmouth Coffee, Borough Market, step forward – it’s well worth it) but this is something else. The outdoor covered terrace area is huge – this is no tiny third wave coffee haunt. Instead, I opt to try the jambalaya at a restaurant opposite and come back another day. I will plan. I will be prepared. I will come early.

On Monday morning I come back, it’s barely 10am. On the walk from my accommodation in the Arts District shops are still closed, New Orleans – as you’d expect from a party town – is still waking up. But there’s a long queue at Cafe Du Monde. After a few minutes, I ask ahead and find out it’s a queue for take-out, so it’s a free-for-all to grab a table, if you can find one. There’s a few lurkers doing the rounds, grabbing tables before they’ve even been cleared, still laden with dirty cups, crumpled serviettes and the remains of beignets that couldn’t be conquered. There’s icing sugar under each and every table.

I settle for one inside and pick the corner by the window for best people watching – an activity you do a lot of, traveling alone. A chirpy waitress takes my order of small black coffee and beignets, but I switch tables and a waitress who’s clearly been here a while (and I don’t mean just her shift) brings my order. She barely even looks at the guys on the next table and gazes out the window vacantly when she takes their order.

My beignets (a type of French dougnut) and coffee arrive, laden with so much icing sugar it forms peaks and resembles a mini-mountain range. I have to tap off the excess not just in a vain attempt to save my thighs but to reduce the risk of choking by inhaling at the wrong moment.

Just warm, soft, sweet with the tiniest hint of a crisp outer, these beignet are delicious. The coffee is not bad at all either (and this comes from a wannabe coffee snob who has a habit of asking US baristas for a custom order). From my window seat I can see New Orleans life pass by, observe the hustle and bustle inside… and all for just $5.30. A great way to pass an hour in NOLA.

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TRAVEL TREASURE #2 – Backpacking ASIA – The Good, The Bad & The (very) Ugly.

It’s been a great week at MostlyVictoria – The Travel Treasure Collection has been a real hit! So with excitement and anticipation, we have our second entry – be inspired and share your treasure too.

Sleeper Trains, Cockroaches and White Sandy Beaches

by Gabriella Sears

© Gabriella Sears

© Gabriella Sears

Bright blue seas. Tuk Tuks. Ping Pong shows. Mopeds. Buckets. Tubing. Temples. Elephant riding. Water Buffalo riding. 10 minutes of torrential rain directly followed by 40 degrees of scorching sunshine. I can only be talking about one place. Having spent 6 weeks travelling around Asia (Thailand Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos) I was lucky enough (or unlucky enough?!) to see the good, the bad and the (very) ugly parts of backpacking.

One major revelation was that I now know how much I have taken English Taxi Drivers for granted. Being able to hop in a taxi and know they won’t rip you off for all you have is a definite rarity in Asia. Another rarity? Toilets. Well, when I say toilets, I mean the toilets we are used to. A toilet with a seat that is. Oh and a flush. Asian toilets have neither. They are, in basic terms, a hole in the floor. There, on top of a mountain travelling from Vientiene to Vang Vieng in Laos, having just spent the last 4 hours dodging landslides, a seated (western-style) toilet made that trip worthwhile! It is also the only time when a toilet with a glass floor to ceiling window is acceptable! A loo with a view!

The complications and confusions when trying to organise tickets with very limited English spoken, the near death experiences when crossing roads in Vietnam (moped roulette it should be called) and the culinary delights of dog, cat, turtle, snake and rat being freely available in many road side huts, together with an incredible world wonder, Halong Bay, Tomb Raider temples in Angkor Wat, snorkelling with sharks in Shark bay, Koh Tau and lazing around on the beaches you could only imagine having in paradise, have all contributed to the trip of a lifetime.

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