Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Morning Call Coffee Stand, open 24 hours, comes to City Park

     In City Park in New Orleans, LA there are trails for running and walking, roads to bicycle and a nearby bayou to paddle a canoe or kayak.  Now there is a place to savor a sweet and delicious New Orleans tradition: beignets and cafe au lait.
     Morning Call Coffee Stand opened about a month ago in the Casino Building, a beautifully restored Italianate structure with a red tile roof near the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA).  It's open 24 hours a day.  Relax and revive after an early morning jog with a steaming cup of chicory coffee served the New Orleans way with hot milk and a trio of fresh, hot beignets dusted white with powdered sugar.
     Because of the relative security of the location, it also offers a great place for that late, late night or very early morning coffee fix without having to put up with the hassle of the French Quarter.
     The Casino Building has been the home to several snack shops through the years, the last one offering ice cream and light lunches.  (There is no casino in the building.  It is just called that because there might have been a casino in it years ago.)
     Morning Call Coffee Stand has a storied history.  Begun in the late 19th century in the French Market, the business was moved to a suburban strip mall in Metairie 1974, where it thrives today.
     Inside the City Park location, only the second Morning Call to open, is a faithful reproduction of the Metarie store complete with the old-school center coffee counter and stools framed overhead by a massive dark wooden arch lined with bare, clear, low watt lightbulbs.  Tables inside and outside on the broad brick verandah overlooking a playground and Greek Revival bandstand, provide plenty of seating.
     Take a table and be served indoors or out or order to-go.  Only cash is accepted, no credit cards.   Free WiFi is available, or will be soon.  Cafe au lait and an order of three beignets is less than $5.  There is a limited lunch menu of red beans and rice, gumbo and alligator.  Ice cream, soft drinks, hot chocolate and beer.  A bicycle rack is outside.  The staff is refreshingly local, confident and experienced.  Singer/guitarist Walter Gonzalez ( performs Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon on the verandah.  I think he knows every song on the Beatles' Rubber Soul album.
     Three beignets and a tablespoon of confectionery sugar has about 450 calories and 10 grams of fat but you have earned a treat, haven't you?  Morning Call Coffee Stand (504) 885-4068.  GPS N 29 59' 07.3" W 90 05' 42.3"

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