I Came, I Saw, I Consumed

bei•gnet ben'ya noun 1. a fritter. 2. a square of fried dough eaten hot sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

To say that beignets were the reason I went to New Orleans might be an exaggeration. But, then again—it's probably accurate.

Because of its Cajun and Creole grub, The Big Easy has been on my radar for some time. The gumbo, the catfish, the biscuits, the oysters, the cocktails, the shrimp ‘n' grits … I could go on, but if I do, I'll start drooling on my keyboard.

While I relish all that savory stuff, I have a serious sweet tooth. Part the drapes of Mardi Gras beads, and I'll make a beeline for the beignets first.

So, last month, after years of longing for this southern cousin of the donut, I find myself in Café du Monde in Jackson Square. I plop down at the nearest table, my eyes already gobbling up the powdered-sugar-piled delicacies on other patrons' tables. The server couldn't come soon enough.

"Beignets and a large café au lait," I say, all business.

Minutes pass slower than blackstrap molasses.

Finally, my glorious puffs of pâte-au-choux arrive. Still hot from the fryer, they're buried under snowdrifts of powdered sugar. Trembling, I stand. Steadying my hands, I summon the self control necessary to focus my camera and snap a photo. This done, I tear into the three pillow-y dough balls with wild, ravenous abandon. Powdered sugar flies. I realize I should not have worn black. Then, I realize I don't care.

I chase the beignet bliss with milky, sweet coffee. I dust myself off, I stagger into the street, and I think to myself, "I came, I saw, I consumed."

Need a beignet fix? If you can't swing a trip to the Crescent City, make these Almond-Raspberry Doughnuts at home.

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