Eats: Cafe du Monde

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A few weeks ago, I traveled with a group of my best girl friends to New Orleans for one of their bachelorette weekends. This was a group consisting of some of my greatest friends in the world who I only get the chance to see a few times a year due to our unique and adventurous lifestyles - I'm very lucky to have best friends who not only support my sometimes wacky life choices, but each carve their own unique path of life. Something I like to call being "yes" people. That being said, this weekend was a special one. It's impossible to get together and have more than a minute's pause from laughter other than when we're sleeping.

While in the Big Easy, we hit the goldmine of B's

the Bride.
Bourbon St.

...from none other than the historic and wildly popular Cafe du Monde in the heart of the French Quarter.

It's nearly impossible to discuss a New Orleans trip without a mention of Cafe du Monde. While it's open 24 hours a day, the line often winds down the street in the busy and touristy Jackson Square, which can be a little daunting. Long lines + big groups + August heat index = sounds pretty miserable for some glorified bread covered in sugar right? WRONG. 

Not only did the monstrous looking line not take nearly as long as we thought (we waited 30 minutes, if even), those dough babies were worth every second. It first opened as a coffee stand in 1862, and have stuck true to the philosophy "If it 'aint broke don't fix it" - even with the crowds and the tables and the gift shop, it still very much functions as if it was a mere coffee stand.

Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square is caddy corner to Cafe du Monde. Not a  bad spot, eh?


1. When you reach the front of the line, pay attention. You'll most likely be flagged down by an employee cleaning off a table that was given up seconds ago, urging you to come take your seat. This location consists of round bistro-style tables underneath a large covered area with plenty of fans to keep you cool. If you're in a big group you are welcome to push tables together once they are available.

2. They sell beignets, coffee, and water. The end. Which makes ordering pretty simple! The only decisions you need to make is if you want your coffee black, au lait, or iced, and how many beignets you want (they come in orders of 3). 

3. You order everything all at once and when your waiter/waitress comes back with all of your food, you pay before it is served to you. I can't remember the exact price of each product, but I know that for seven hungry gals, the total was under $60. Definitely can't complain there! 

4. Snap a pic for Instagram and dive right in. Fair warning: you will get powdered sugar all over the place – go with it.

We each went with our own personal order of beignets (when in Rome, ya know), I went with an iced Cafe Au Lait which is not my normal go-to plain black coffee, but I was in desperate need of something cold, and man did it hit the spot. Creamy without being too milky, the coffee was not too bold nor too light. 

Oh, you want to know about the beignets? The perfect golden rectangle of snow-covered dough that was crisp without being too crunchy, soft without being soggy, sweet without giving you a headache, perfectly complimented by their coffee. What more could you ask for?

A Plea to the Packing Pros

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My move from Texas to England is right around the corner - it's thrilling and terrifying all mixed into one! But mostly thrilling :)

Getting here has been no easy feat. Months of of paperwork, accepting that I won't get to watch college football, regular nightmares about being refused at customs and being shipped right back home (I can't be the only one, right?), and of course, preparing to say "see ya later" to my friends, family, and dog.

The challenge still looming however, is deciding how much and what to pack.

It's no secret to those who know me that I am a terrible packer. There's always a "what if" scenario playing through my mind when I'm choosing which bits to throw into a suitcase, leaving me with boulder-sized bags. The longest trip I've ever had to pack for was a month-long summer study abroad program across Europe where I managed to squeeze everything into one full-sized suitcase and a backpack thanks to space-saver bags. In my opinion it was pretty impressive considering we explored our way through 7 different cities with varying climates. (Farewell London rain, hello Roman heat wave).

The duration of my program is one-year, and after that I'll be faced with deciding where I'd like to get a job - I know that this next year will bring a lot of changes to my life and really shape the mold for the future so there's no point in worrying about what will happen 13 months from now. I'll be coming home in December for Christmas and a best friend's wedding, so for right now I'm focusing on facing the challenge of packing enough to get me through 3 months. I'll tackle packing for the whole of 2015 when it gets here (and cross my fingers that my family will kindly ship me things). 

I'm sticking firm to not allowing myself to pack any more than I can carry on my own. That means I'm leaning towards ONE big rolling suitcase and ONE carry-on. I've yet to decide if that carry on is simply going to be a backpack or a smaller rolling suitcase. I have an ongoing list of everyday things that are getting left here in Texas, but that I need to purchase after I arrive (electronics or other items with plugs thanks to the voltage difference, basic toiletries, a U.K. cellphone...) to help me decide what gets the boot and what gets a spot during the packing process. 

So, U.K. gals, fellow expats, and pro-packers - this is where you come in.

Any tips or advice you have for me? What I should/should not bring, how to use space efficiently, luggage rules for things like trains? (See the above picture where my friends and I learned to never assume that trains can fit all of your giant luggage).

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