I love traveling! You get to see how people live in other parts of the country/world, experience different cultures, and best of all . . . eat amazing food.
Nabil and I get the amazing opportunity to travel multiple times this year, so we decided to start a blog series dedicated to restaurant/bakery reviews while we vacation. These reviews will cover all of the treats that we eat (i.e., the good and the “not so good”) to give you a better idea of what you can taste when you travel. All opinions in the reviews are my own (and maybe somewhat influenced by my husband’s opinions).
My husband had a conference in New Orleans. Since I have always wanted to visit, I decided to fly down for the weekend to explore the city with him. We were lucky enough to stay in the French Quarter (i.e., the city’s most historic neighborhood with Bourbon Street and the big Marti Gras celebration).
We missed Marti Gras by a few weeks, but that didn’t bother me too much. There would have been waaaay too many people for my liking if we were there for Fat Tuesday. The only downside was missing out on the goodies that are only sold during Marti Gras (e.g., king cake).
List of Reviewed Bakeries/Restaurants (alphabetized):
- Bakery Bar
- Bittersweet Confections
- Café Du Monde
- Croissant D’or Patisserie
- Leah’s Pralines
- Palace Café
- Willa Jean
Café Du Monde:
Café Du Monde is famous in the French Quarter for their beignets and cafés au lait. Pretty much every store in the French Quarter sells boxes of their beignet mix and our hotel even made their boxed beignets for breakfast in the lobby each morning. Prior to going to New Orleans, this was the only dessert that I knew was associated with the city, so this was the first place on my list of desserts to try.
- Beignets: Café Du Monde’s beignets are large, square, French-styled doughnuts that are fried and then generously covered in powdered sugar. If you like fried dough, you will definitely like these beignets. My husband and I both agreed that these tasted delicious, but we could have done with slightly smaller portions.
I wasn’t aware how popular pralines were in New Orleans until we were walking around the French Quarter and saw the many shops that sold them. Pralines are a confection that resembles fudge and is made of a combination of syrup, pecans, and cream. Leah’s Pralines is a small, family-owned candy shop located in the heart of the French Quarter. The store was super cute and the products looked amazing, but I’m not going to lie, I did not really like these. I don’t think I’m a “pralines kind of girl.” Nabil and I tried three different flavors.
- Traditional pralines: The flavor tasted mainly of sugar and the texture was slightly grainy (kind of like fudge). It was just ok. I would not buy it again. If you like fudge, you would probably like this treat.
- Creamy pralines: This one tasted like caramel and was the only praline that we finished. This praline tasted like the inside of a Fannie May Pixie. It was delicious.
Croissant D’or Patisserie:
For a breakfast over the weekend, we went to Croissant D’or Patisserie, a bakery that specializes in French pastries in the heart of the French Quarter. They had so many different choices and we went for their croissant options.
- Blueberry Croissant: This croissant was ok, but not mind blowing. It was a little light on the filling, and it left a slight bitter taste on my palate. It was also very soft and not as flaky as croissants typically are.
- Pain au chocolate: This was a very flaky and buttery breakfast pastry with very dark chocolate. I prefer a sweeter chocolate (even for breakfast), but I still thought it tasted pretty good.
- Almond Croissant: This was the best of all of the croissants we tried. It was sweet, had a light almond flavor, and a slight crunch from the almonds sprinkled on top. Delicious!
For a midday treat, we stopped at Bittersweet Confections to sample their truffles. They have so many options it was hard to choose three.
- Blood orange truffle: This truffle had a tart orange filling that paired very nicely with the dark chocolate coating.
- Salted caramel truffle: This truffle had a dark chocolate coating and thick salted caramel filling. It was a very satisfying bite.
- White chocolate and lemon truffle: This truffle had a white chocolate coating with a lemon filling. I was not a fan of this truffle. The filling tasted a little like artificial lemon flavor. I would suggest trying a different one if you get the chance.
To finish off our night, Nabil and I had a delicious dinner at the Palace Café, which was right by our hotel. While dinner tasted great, the best part of the meal (in my opinion) was the Bananas Foster drink and the bananas foster dessert.
- Bananas Foster: This dessert originated in New Orleans, so we definitely needed to try it while we were there. At this restaurant, the dish is cooked at the side of the table on a little cart. They start by melting the butter and brown sugar with a splash of banana liqueur. When it is a sauce consistency, they added the banana slices. After a short amount of time, dark rum is added and lit on fire. The whole mixture is then served with vanilla ice cream. This was an exciting show and the dessert was sweet and “rummy”. I thought it was a perfect ending to a meal.
My husband and I went to brunch at Willa Jean on the last day we were in New Orleans. This restaurant had a Brooklyn vibe, but specialized in southern food.
- Monkey Bread: We started breakfast with their monkey bread, which was phenomenal. It came to the table warm and was made up of 8 pieces of pull apart bread that tasted of toffee and cinnamon. I would eat this bread again in a heartbeat. The waiter told us that the monkey bread is only available during brunch so I would highly suggest going to eat at this restaurant for brunch.
- Biscuits with Country Fried Pork: For anyone who knows me, you know that one of my favorite restaurant breakfast meals is biscuits and gravy. The biscuits at Willa Jean are square-shaped (an unusual shape for biscuits) and they have a light, fluffy, and buttery texture. The gravy served with the biscuits was tick and creamy with slightly spicy sausage. What a good tasting breakfast!
This was the last bakery that we went to over the weekend and I almost decided not to go because I was tired from an hour long walking tour in the rain through the Garden district. Passing on this bakery would have been a huge mistake. This was my absolute favorite place that we went in all of New Orleans.
Bakery Bar is the store-front for Debbie Does Doberge. They specialize in doberge (pronounced “doh-bash”) cake, a multi-layered dessert made up of thin layers of cake with pudding between the layers. Traditionally, the cake consists of 6 or more layers with chocolate, lemon, or caramel flavors. Debbie Does Doberge has a ton of different flavors that all taste AMAZING!! My husband and I tried four different treats:
- Rainbow cake slice: This consists of an almond cake layered in all the colors of the rainbow. Between each cake layer was a silky almond pudding and the outside was covered in an almond poured-ftondant icing. Not only was this cake delicious, but it was beautiful! We loved the almond flavor and even though there was almond in every cake component, the flavor was not overwhelming. The pudding kept the cake super moist and the poured fondant tasted soooo much better than normal fondant.
- Strawberry Cheesecake Dobite1: This bite is a layer of vanilla cake, then a layer of cream cheese pudding, graham cracker crumbs, another layer of vanilla cake, strawberry pudding, strawberry jam, and a final layer of vanilla cake. The whole bite was covered in cream cheese poured fondant icing. This bite clearly has a lot of components, but all of them work together so well. Nabil and I forgot to take pictures of the Dobites as we were eating them because we couldn’t focus on anything except how good they were.
- Peanut Butter Cup Dobite: This bite consists of vanilla cake, peanut butter pudding, and chocolate poured fondant icing. It tasted just like Reese’s peanut butter cup, but in cake form. Yum!
- Fig, White Chocolate, and Goat Cheese Dobite: This bite consists of vanilla cake with fig pudding, and goat cheese poured fondant icing. I normally wouldn’t have tried this flavor, because I don’t like goat cheese, but my husband wanted to try it since it was a little unusual. This bite was surprisingly good. The goat cheese didn’t have the normal sharp flavor (that I really dislike) and it paired beautifully with the fig pudding. It was so good that I would order it again.
Overall, I would rate these cakes a 10/10. I have told my husband multiple times that I would go back to New Orleans just to eat these cakes. That is how much I like them. They unfortunately do not have a cookbook (although one of the owners told me that they were thinking about writing one) nor do they ship their cakes across the country. If you are planning to go to New Orleans, I would highly suggest stopping by and trying one (or more) of their delicious treats.
Hopefully you liked this post and found it a little useful. I would love to hear if you tried any of these treats or if you have eaten any other treats that people should try when they are in New Orleans.
- Dobites are doberge petit fours. They still have multiple cake layers with pudding between the layers and the whole bite is covered in poured fondant, but they are bite-sized. My husband and I preferred the dobites slightly over the cake slice.