New Orleans is no stranger to celebration and regularly revels in its music, culture, and food. This year is a big first for the Crescent City, which will host the inaugural Beignet Festival on October 8th in Lafayette Square. For those of you who have been living under a rock made of kale, these fried pieces of dough covered in sugar are our official state donut.
So what could be better than doing your civic duty by stuffing your face with beignets? Stuffing your face for a good cause. Sherwood and Amy Collins have organized the festival as a way to raise awareness and support for their charity, Tres Doux Foundation, which benefits organizations that support children on the autism spectrum. The festival includes more than 15 vendors, five musical acts including Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and a ton of activities for kids.
NOLA’s favorite bakers are cooking up something special, from extra-sweet Oreo beignets to super-savory crawfish and oysters and boudin twists on the dish. Here’s what not to miss at New Orleans’ first ever beignet Fest:
Loretta’s PralinesAddress and Info
The Big Easy is known for two desserts: beignets and pralines. The two are so delicious on their own, but bringing them together is a foodie’s paradise. Loretta S. Harrison founded her namesake company over 35 years ago using a secret family recipe. Loretta’s Pralines are among the top the city has to offer, and when she mixes them with beignets, it’s a little cloud of heaven.
Luca EatsAddress and Info
Oreos, like beignets, are versatile, coming in different flavors, sizes, and stuffings. They can both be made thick or thin, plain or double-stuffed. But perhaps the best rendition yet is when Oreos are stuffed inside the crispy sweetness of a beignet by New Orleans’ popular breakfast spot, Luca Eats. Imagine biting into a crispy pastry and being greeted with an Oreo surprise inside.
Café au lait & beignets ice cream cone
New Orleans Ice Cream CompanyAddress and Info
If pie can be à la mode, then why not beignets as well? New Orleans Ice Cream Company creates delicious frozen goodness with all-natural ingredients and inspiration from local fare. Flavors include Creole Cream Cheese, Mardi Gras Pie, and Coffee & Chicory, so it’s only fitting that they have a beignet flavor. Order a scoopful at the festival.
Chocolate beignet bites
New Orleans Coffee and Beignet CompanyAddress and Info
Beignets plus chocolate might equal pure joy. The originators of the chocolate beignet, New Orleans Coffee and Beignet Company, will be onsite serving up their delectable mouthfuls of fried dough and chocolate. We dare you to just have one bite.
Girls Gone Vegan BakeryAddress and Info
No need to worry, gluten-free and vegan friends! Local pastry shop Girls Gone Vegan specializes in making gluten-free and vegan pastries such as cinnamon rolls, king cakes, and even donuts. At the festival they will be offering an array of donuts from chocolate cake, maple, birthday cake, and more. This bakery’s masterful goods are every bit as scrumptious as those that include wheat and dairy.
Legacy KitchenAddress and Info
While beignets are famous for their sweetness, the fried dough also makes for great savory dishes, as proven by Legacy Kitchen’s crawfish beignets. When crawfish are served like this, there is no need to “pinch the tail and suck the head,” just eat the whole thing up and don’t look back.
Royal HouseAddress and Info
Royal House’s specialty is its oysters, so it’s no surprise that for Beignet Fest, Royal House presents oyster-stuffed beignets. Festival goers will bite into these scrumptious pillows where the crispy texture of the salty beignet is the perfect balance to the softness of the oyster.
Café MasperoAddress and Info
Whoever said good things come in small packages is proven right by Café Maspero’s beignet fries. The famous local establishment almost always has a line out the door, but once seated, guests who have worked up an appetite are given ample portions of hearty food, including fried fish and alligator po-boys. This restaurant knows a thing or two about deep-fried food, and for the Beignet Fest they’re making sweet French fries by taking that delicious beignet dough, slicing it thin, and frying it up for a sweet handful of happiness.
Bananas Foster beignets
The Ruby SlipperAddress and Info
The Ruby Slipper Café opened after Katrina, serving a little slice of love with its many delicious dishes and receiving much recognition for its breakfast in local newspapers like Gambit and The Times-Picayune. One of their most popular desserts is their Bananas Foster, so for the festival they will pack this Crescent City specialty into a crisp beignet.
Bacon cheddar beignets with chipotle cream
The Howlin’ WolfAddress and Info
Cheddar might make everything better, but bacon makes everything amazing. Together, the two are quite the food power duo. For the festival, music venue The Howlin’ Wolf Den strings cheddar and bacon together in perfect harmony. This stuffed beignet will have foodie fans screaming as if they were at a Howlin’ Wolf concert.
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1. Loretta's Pralines2101 N Rampart St, New Orleans
2. Luca Eats7329 Cohn St, New Orleans
3. New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co.4141 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans
4. Legacy Kitchen700 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
5. Royal House Oyster Bar441 Royal St, New Orleans
6. Café Maspero601 Decatur St, New Orleans
7. Ruby Slipper Cafe2001 Burgundy St, New Orleans
8. The Howlin' Wolf907 S Peters St, New Orleans
Possibly the best pralines and beignets in New Orleans can be found at this adorable corner bake shop founded in the 1980s by Loretta Harrison, whom you'll discover is just as sweet as her creations when she greets you inside. Whether you're stuffing your face with one after another or eating them in Loretta's king cake, you're not leaving here without having an obscene amount of her sugary, pecan-filled pralines. Made from a family recipe, they're perfectly crisp and not overloaded with nuts. Save room for some of the heavenly, melt-in-your-mouth beignets, too. Or, leave both of these confections for dessert and have lunch at one of the dozen tables first -- Loretta's also serves a handful of Southern dishes like shrimp & grits.
Sure, fresh-pressed sandwiches and colorful salads are up for grabs at this popular, industrial-chic breakfast-and-lunch cafe in Uptown, but ask anyone what they're really coming here for and they'll tell you "the Oreo beignets." Stuffed inside these already magical, puffy confections is a blast of sweet flavor in the form of a crumbly Oreo. We won't even judge if you make that your entire meal. If you'd rather not feel the crushing guilt of that decision, though, go for the chorizo & eggs sandwich for breakfast, or the Cubano sandwich with slow-cooked pork for lunch. There's also a tasty chicken Cobb salad if you really want to feel healthy.
If you're on the hunt for exceptional beignets, avoid the tourist mayhem of Cafe du Monde and head to this friendly Uptown coffee shop instead, which is tucked behind New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood like a true hidden gem. The dining room, outfitted with beautiful hardwood floors and crown molding, is stylish yet comfortable, attracting a nice crowd of locals who know this cafe's freshly made, powdered sugar-laden beignets are the real deal. Pair these airy treats (tip: go for the chocolate beignets) with a café au lait and you'll quickly become a regular.
Located in the heart of New Orlean’s vibrant arts district, The Legacy Kitchen is all American, all day. They sell art by the plate and it features American cuisine with a distinctly southern flavor—the chicken and waffles is a crowd favorite. They boast a wide variety of cocktails, classic and unique, made with America’s best-made booze. Embodying the rustic Americana aesthetic, they pull local craft pints and only play songs by musicians who left a mark on American pop culture.
Whether chargrilled, on the half-shell, royale, or Rockafeller, the oysters at this French Quarter mainstay are absolutely delicious. Royal House is a popular haunt for shellfish enthusiasts, but the menu boasts all sorts of Creole-inspired seafood dishes like jumbo lump crab cakes, crawfish étoufée, po-boys, and surf-and-turf. The brick-walled dining room strikes the perfect balance of refined and relaxed, and the second floor balcony overlooking lively Bourbon Street makes for great people-watching.
Even if you’re not a New Orleanian, you have probably heard of the French Quarter and probably know that it gets the most tourist traffic in the city not only because it’s a historic landmark but also because of the drool-worthy local eats. Café Maspero has been a French Quarter staple for over 40 years and their sandwiches haven’t slimmed down since they opened. They are known for having outrageously cheap, piled-high Louisiana-style food that doesn’t pander to tourism. The Muffuletta and Creole Jambalaya are unbeatable local favorites.
The Ruby Slipper is one of your only mid-day options in the Triangle, and good thing too. Try its version of the BLT, featuring both fresh and fried green tomatoes and served on challah.
Home of the eccentric 'Big Easy' style known to the New Orleans arts community, The Howlin’ Wolf opened in the Warehouse District in 1988 and was named for Chester Burnett, a legendary bluesman. The Howlin’ wolf still carries on this unique New Orleans tradition serving creole food in it’s underground-style, blues-tastic space that makes you feel cool just by sitting at the bar in front of their extensive wall of beers on tap. They host stars like jazz king Harry Connick Jr. and the Foo Fighters.