I’ve made several visits to New Orleans in my life, and each time I’ve gone to Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter for beignets and coffee. I really wouldn’t dream of going to the Big Easy without indulging in the powdered sugar-covered fried-dough goodness. After all, Dallas didn’t have many options to get my beignet fix, and there were no dedicated beignet bakeries to speak of. Until now.
Le Bon Temps, a small space next to the Cookie Shop in Deep Ellum with an outside counter and two stools inside, has only been open for a few weeks but is already filling a big void in Dallas’ dessert scene by bringing hot, fresh New Orleans-style beignets to town. NOLA native Eric Khozindar, who lives in Richardson, opened the 600-square-foot space and hired executive chef Pierre Treviño because he missed the sweet treats made famous by his hometown.
When I walked in the salmon-colored door, surrounded by deep blue brick, on a recent rainy afternoon, the aroma of sugar and coffee assailed me in the best possible way. The tiny subway-tiled interior is plain, putting the focus on a backlit sign in the kitchen window that simply says, “Powder.”
The message was clear, so I requested a $4 order of the Classique beignets (the kind you’d get in the French Quarter) and an order of the Le Boneignet version for $6—proofed for three days and laminated with layers of butter for a croissant-like texture. Both were served in paper bags and doused with powdered sugar. One bite of the classic beignets, and I was back in New Orleans grooving to jazz and taking in the scenery. But it was the croissant-style pastries, thinner and more decadent from the butter, that hooked me. I had to eat another.
To cool down, I opted for the Creole cream cheese and bananas Foster ice creams, crafted by The Sweet House in Rowlett. The latter, an alcoholic version, had a whopping 15 percent abv and was a bit too boozy for me, though I might have felt different on a Saturday night (the bakery is open and apparently humming until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday). But the creole cream cheese, sweet with a little spice, was just right. I made a mental note to try the beignet ice cream sandwich next time, with either the chocolate or pecan praline flavors—the best of both worlds.
It wouldn’t have been a successful New Orleans-esque experience without a café au lait to wash everything down. Le Bon Temps uses regular and chicory coffee from White Rock Coffee, which I was happy to sip throughout the afternoon to keep the sugar high going.
As I went back to work, I realized that New Orleans’ French Quarter will always have a particular kind of magic that can’t be recreated elsewhere. But in Deep Ellum and this city, good beignets are no longer hard to find.