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.

 ❤ Follow Lara on Twitter ❤

❤ TRAVEL TREASURE #6 ❤

❤ TRAVEL TREASURE ❤

 ❤

Advertisements

TRAVEL TREASURE #3 – Dodging Death in Death Valley

It’s an entry by yours truly this week and the third in our wonderful collection travel treasures – so be inspired and share your treasure too.

 Dodging Death in Death Valley

by Mostly Victoria

Listening to the rattle snakes in the distances, I couldn't help wonder how safe these girls were... probably no less safe than me!

© Mostly Victoria

Drive out of Las Vegas in a north westerly direction for around four hours and you’ll probably find yourself pretty darn close, if not slap bang in the middle of Death Valley National Park. It’s the northernmost part of the Mojave Desert, it’s hot and it’s dry – no surprise there; it’s the lowest point in North America. It’s got salt flats & sand dunes, badlands, moving rocks and hot springs, all entrapped by the mountain ranges that surround the valley.

I often puzzle over what it was about Death Valley that got so far under my skin. Here’s what I have figured…

If you’ve never been, the name of the park is, in itself, enough to set you on edge, with a fairly equal balance of curiosity and caution. The questions of ‘What deathly dangers await?’ and ‘Will I come out alive?’ are melodramatic and you know it, but they persist, and try as you might, you can’t quite silence them.

So you’re alert and ready, you’re braced, you’re on guard and dammit you’re prepared!  You have your water, your first aid kit and you have every kind of emergency supply known to man – (not to mention a truck load of candy).

But you’re not prepared at all. And you don’t even know it.  Sure – it’s definitely peppered with genuine dangers, but Death Valley is also a place of gobsmacking beauty, it’s like a karate chop coming at you from your blind spot.

As prepared as I thought I was, the last thing I expected was to be enamoured by the incredible natural beauty of the painted rocks and their contrasting colours that change by the millisecond at sunset, or for my breath taken away as I watched the salt crystals of bad water basin twinkling like diamonds in the midday sun.

I may have dodged death, but there’s absolutely no doubt about it – Death Valley definitely got me!

❤ Read about my Death Valley experience in full here ❤

 ❤ Follow Mostly Victoria on Twitter ❤

❤ TRAVEL TREASURE #2 ❤

❤ TRAVEL TREASURE ❤

 ❤