Sarah fell in love with beignets during a trip to NOLA many years ago. She bought a box of the doughnut mix to bring home. But a batch of beignet is an effort and fries up a lot in one go. So, if she’s going to put in the time and churn out a lot of doughnuts, she’ll need a lot of people nearby to help her eat them. And thus, Sarah’s annual beignet party was born.
This coincided with my San Diego trip, and after eating a few savories elsewhere, we trundled over to Hillcrest for a dessert of powdered sugar beignets and coffee.
Sarah was hard at work most of the night, rolling the dough, cutting pastries, frying in small batches, and such. I did my part by walking the floor handing out the hot fried dough to guests. A few fell into my mouth as well.
While Sarah was mostly at the helm of prep work, she did provide a few tips on optimal beignet production. First, do not roll and reshape the dough, or the doughnuts will lose their fluffy puffy texture. Use the pastry knife to cut shapes quickly and if there are odd cuts, this is preferred to a poorly textured beignet.
Second, do not over pack the fryer with dough. They need room to puff and float around the oil. And more importantly, the oil needs to stay a consistent temperature. Adding too many pieces at once drops the temperature too rapidly.
The slow prep process does mean only a few beignets make it out to to the guests at a time, so we often had to consume our New Orleans style doughnuts alone, but there were plenty of other snacks to keep our mouths occupied. Like the baguette with cheese and guava paste, topped with a sliver of spring onion. Or goat cheese and crackers.
Or a hot mug of Pero, a traditional Swiss drink with chicory, topped with a small dollop of ice cream.
We spent the evening mingling, drinking, eating, and watching how the Honey Badger don’t care.
A friend of mine once asked me: what’s the difference between a regular breakfast and a really good breakfast?
The answer: about 5 bucks.
That’s right. For an extra five dollars, you can move from ordinary breakfast to extraordinary. Take that, Law of Diminishing Returns!
The question about good breakfasts came about because of Tupelo Junction. They are more expensive, but oh, the breakfast you will get.
The purist will scoff at the beignets and insist that the real ones only come from Cafe du Monde under half a pound of powdered sugar. Sure, okay. Or…try a variation with creme anglaise with a subtle hint of mint? That’s at Tupelo Junction.
I ordered the wild mushroom, asparagus and truffle scramble. It also came with choice of bread (banana, corn, biscuit and toasted baguette) and a small salad, $13. Very delicious and generously portioned.
This is the only breakfast menu I’ve seen that offers “Firsts” and “Seconds.” We had a giggle over that and rolled our eyes, but we did order both.