You can tell the regulars at the Café du Monde at the old French Market in New Orleans. They’re the ones who have mastered the art of eating beignets without getting powdered sugar all over their clothes.
Established in 1862 on the high ground of the old market where New Orleans was founded, the Café du Monde stays open around the clock, closing only on Christmas Day or when a hurricane keeps everyone off the streets. But Sunday mornings are special, as New Orleanians saunter into this coffee shop where change comes slowly. For generations, the cafe served only white and chocolate milk, freshly squeezed orange juice, pillowy beignets (a square raised doughnut), and coffee the way the original French residents preferred it: blended with chicory root and roasted very dark. In 1988 it added iced coffee and soft drinks, to which traditionalists turn up their noses. On Sunday morning, nothing will do but to linger over a café au lait (half hot milk, half coffee) and a plate of sweet and airy beignets, which are served in orders of three. Add a copy of the Times-Picayune and you’re good for the morning.