New Orleans is one of the most exciting culinary cities in the U.S, and one of the most difficult if you are trying to keep some kind of kosher. Yes yes – Café Du Monde is certified kosher – fantastic. But other than that, the kosher options in New Orleans are limited, and eating kosher-style can be a real challenge.
Nevertheless, if you have a sweet tooth like me NOLA is a true dessert-lovers heaven. My husband and I just returned from celebrating Mardi Gras with some New Orleans natives, and I sure ate my weight in dessert.
Our first stop Friday morning, before the tourists really started pouring in was indeed the iconic Café Du Monde for café au lait and beignets, which followed closely with a second sweet breakfast of King Cake.
Our first King Cake of the Mardi Gras holiday was a goat cheese and pear King Cake from the Cake Cafe. I described the taste of this treat as “like, the best Entemanns ever!” This particular King Cake was sweet, moist and a truly unique treat, far surpassing the rest of the King Cakes I sampled throughout our long weekend.
And if you’re wondering, what do the Jews do during Mardi Gras? Well they celebrate right alongside the rest of the city, and I had one of my many tastes of King Cake at a celebration hosted by Touro Synagogue in the heart of it all on St. Charles Avenue.
Our first dinner found us at the Uptown eatery, Boucherie, where the table sampled a variety of desserts including everyone’s favorite, the Krispy Kreme bread pudding – a dessert Paula Deen would surely squeal over. However, my personal favorite was the Thai Chili Chocolate Chess Pie – sweet and spicy without being overly saccharin.
I’m a notorious early riser, and Sunday morning found me parked at Laurel Street Bakery with a cup of coffee, magazine and a sweet cinnamon bun.
Lunchtime came, and it was time to visit Camellia Grill. Camelia Grill is best known for their omelets, hamburgers and the hilarious antics from the chefs and servers, but what I savored most at the legendary New Orleans-style diner was the Chocolate Freeze – a chocolate milk shake, thick enough so you know its not good for you, but not too thick that you need a spoon to eat it. Another favorite at Camellia Grill is the chocolate cherry freeze.
Most visits to New Orleans finds me at the downtown Café Adelaide, where the white chocolate bread pudding is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. This visit I wasn’t able to make it, but I wouldn’t leave it off my list of my favorite desserts. If you make it to Cafe Adelaide, you must either try their signature Swizzle Stick drink, or their Bloody Mary, which is garnished with enough pickled okra, string beans and olives to qualify as its own meal.
While I didn’t get my usual white chocolate bread pudding, I did get to try the homemade pop tarts at Velvet Espresso Bar, a tiny coffee shop and café in Uptown New Orleans. I was lucky to snag the last pop tart on Monday morning and boy am I glad that I did – the pastry was absolutely perfection, with a strawberry filling and sugary glaze. Gourmet comfort food at its finest, Velvet is also pumping out homemade scones and “tea cakes.”
Our last stop this trip was Clancys, where the dessert menu sounded so tempting, I almost ordered three! We settled on the peppermint ice cream brownie sundae, and the biggest dessert winner of all, the Budino – a butterscotch bread pudding with caramel sauce, sea salt and fresh whipped cream.
I can’t wait for our next trip down and the culinary treats that await. Hope you can find yourself down there as well to taste, if nothing else, the sweetest parts of New Orleans.
Pronounced: KOH-sher, Origin: Hebrew, adhering to kashrut, the traditional Jewish dietary laws.