When people hear mention of the beignet, immediate thoughts of Café du Monde in the French Quarter come to mind. However, one doesn’t have to venture to New Orleans to experience the sweet delights of café au lait and beignets.
But, what is a beignet, you ask? A beignet is many things, but for me, it is fried dough in a square shape served hot and covered in powdered sugar. Many theories of its origin include a breakfast treat brought to Louisiana by the Acadians or a pastry brought from France to New Orleans by the Ursaline Nuns. Today we refer to beignets as a French Market donut, but it is served in different ways all over south Louisiana.
Before I tasted a beignet at Café du Monde in New Orleans, I only knew the beignets of Coffee Call in Baton Rouge. On special Saturday mornings in my childhood, my mother would bring my brother and I for this treat. These visits were usually reserved when my aunt and grandmother would come for a visit. As I reached high school, Coffee Call was the place where a few of us would venture, imagining we were mature enough to hang out with the college crowd that could be found there. When I married and moved in with my husband, our condo was on College Drive, just a few blocks away. I’m sure the proximity of this cafe attributed to the large amount of weight I gained while I was pregnant with my first baby.
Coffee Call has always been Emergency Services friendly, meaning police officers, EMS workers, and fire department personnel in uniform always got the hookup. Many nights when I was working at the fire department, I was given porter duties, meaning I was the gopher. My supervisor would send me to Coffee Call to procure sustenance in the form of caffeine and beignets for our entire crew. I would end up spending a much longer time than intended due to my philosophical conversations with Eddie D. Eddie is the icon of Coffee Call and when I would enter the building he would exclaim loudly “Fire Chief! Where ya been?” Eddie has a way of making patrons of Coffee Call feel special. I will admit, many of the late night frequenters of Coffee Call can be deemed special in that weird one sock wearing crazy hair way.
Coffee Call has since moved from those days (thanks, Wal-Mart) and is still in the same block, but no longer has that gritty feel. Yesterday, after one of my latest procedures, my mom felt I deserved a bit of sweetness, so she brought me to Coffee Call. We each had an order of beignets while mom sipped on a café au lait, and I partook of Eddie’s special concoction of half café au lait, half hot chocolate. It sure did taste good and we didn’t even care that we were both wearing black.
Here’s a video of Eddie from a customer’s YouTube page.
3132 College Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808-3180
For more information or to plan a visit to Louisiana’s capitol, check out www.visitbatonrouge.com.