Illiana Interrupted: New Orleans Beignets

Where have you beignet all my life? 

Pronounced “ben-yay,” these french doughnuts are nothing to overlook… when you’re in New Orleans that is. Over the Cinco-de-mayo weekend, I took a girls trip to NOLA where I had tried some of the best food in my life, including the famous beignets from Cafe Du Monde. This cafe has been around since 1862 and is open 24/7!

cafe-cup.jpg

Cut to the cheesy pizza Bagel Bites’ commercial from the 90s…”Beignets in the morning, beignets in the evening, beignets at supper time, when beignets are available 24/7, you can have beignets anytime.”

Their menu is super simple- coffee, milk, juice, water and of course the beignets. Now if you have never had one before, don’t think about doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme…this will be a whole new experience and a lot simpler than the glazed, filled, twisted, and sprinkled sweets you’re used to.

Served warm with 10 pounds of powdered sugar on top (okay more like 1/2 cup worth of powdered sugar but you get the point), it is a light, flaky, melt in your mouth, fried square piece of dough…and you get 3 per order (only $2.73)!

The simplicity of this dessert (or fun-time snack) is a perfect pairing with a cup of coffee, or even a pairing of another order of beignets because they are just that good! Now of course leaving New Orleans to the O’Hare airport, I asked myself, “Where can I get amazing beignets in Illiana?” So I looked to Luella’s Gospel Bird off Damen Ave in Chicago. They have awesome fried chicken and biscuits, and beignets are on the menu…so why not give it a try?

Instead of going there as I have in the past for a meal, I decided to order through Grubhub and have them delivered to my place of work on my lunch break. They were served nice and hot and I was super excited to try them…4 to an order (5 bucks), 10 pounds of powdered sugar (getting even more excited now)…took my first bite and…

Disappointed.

While Luella’s fried chicken and biscuits are worth a conversation and worth multiple trips back, their beignets are nothing compared to Cafe Du Monde’s in NOLA. The dough was stiff at the bottom, almost hollow in the middle, and they did not melt in my mouth.

Sorry Illiana.

New Orleans game point on beignets: 1.

Illiana game point: 0.

I will not give up the search though! So my Illiana readers, if you think you’ve found the best Illiana beignets…shoot me a message or comment and I’ll come check it out. But I gotta tell you, New Orleans sets a pretty high bar.

Writer’s Spin on Beignets

None. There is no spin. Just book a trip to New Orleans, go to Cafe Du Monde in the French Market and go get yourself some yummy.

Now if you’re in the mood for some hand breaded fried chicken, biscuits, and some house-made french toast and waffles…go to Luella’s Gospel Bird at 2009 N. Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647- you will not be disappointed! Check out their hours and website below:

Luella’s Gospel Bird

Monday thru Friday 12-9pm
Saturday and Sunday
Brunch 10-3pm
Dinner 4-9pm

 

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