There's been another salvo fired in the ongoing New Orleans beignet war (a war covered assiduously by Ian McNulty).
Instead of Cafe Du Monde v. Morning Call, however, this is a battle of cities: David Landsel, a writer for Food & Wine, has planted a powdered-sugar-dusted flag and declared "The Best Beignets in New Orleans Are in Baton Rouge."
Morning Call Coffee Stand has been homeless for more than two months now, after losing its former City Park location to longtime competitor Ca…
Landsel has come to praise Coffee Call, "in Louisiana’s capital city, Baton Rouge, in an otherwise very average strip mall on the southwestern edge of the town." The restaurant, which opened in 1976, serves both traditional beignets and "beignet fingers."
In a very Jay McInerney second-person, comma-chameleon style, Landsel writes: For a coffee, which comes with a free refill if you are staying, and you ought to, just to get everything that’s coming to you, along with a small portion of fried dough, which is not so small at all, you will pay something just over five dollars, and there will be no tourists around you, and at certain times of the day only a few other patrons sneaking in for a treat, and you will wonder, why is everyone not here, why is this not the most famous place for coffee and donuts in New Orleans, except that if you are here, you already know the answer to that."
Those better be pretty damn good beignets.
The Old Coffee Pot is getting a new lease on life from a familiar name in French Quarter food.
Landsel's also got plenty of hiss and diss for New Orleans' beignet purveyors: of Cafe Beignet's pastries and beignets in the French Quarter, he writes, "There’s no kind way to say this — both were awful."
Cafe Du Monde? "Sometimes the beignets come out flaccid, obviously raw in the middle. Other times they are bewilderingly dry, with sawdust notes, and could it be that they’ve gotten smaller and smaller, as the years go by?"
I’ve no opinion on any of this, except that I don't think I'd fight Baton Rouge traffic to eat a beignet and I'm not sure I've ever detected "sawdust notes" in a beignet. Not so Landsel, who writes, "I'm happy to make the quick trip up to Baton Rouge, where the experience at Coffee Call is typically as good, often better than previous experiences at Morning Call."
Are New Orleans' beignets resting on their powdered sugar laurels? Is Baton Rouge ready to assume the mantle of America's Best Beignets? Is Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome ready to challenge Mayor LaToya Cantrell to a duel of beignet fingers?