Holiday Sampler

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Tasty tidings of comfort and joy

nol-dec07_medres_page_42_image_0001.jpgIt’s that time of year again, when we’re all craving delightful things to make us feel warm, fuzzy and jolly inside. For many, mirth comes in the form of food and drink. Even after we plow our way through feast after glorious feast, we’ll still be looking for indulgences between meals, like coffee during a reprieve from afternoon shopping, a nightcap after taking in the beautiful Christmas decorations on display, or a holiday tea that caters to children and creates memories to last a lifetime. Whatever the excuse for excess and festive eating, New Orleans doesn’t lack for choices. Here are a few of our favorite places for experiencing holiday comfort and joy.

MORNING CALL COFFEE STAND

Including this 24-hour Metairie institution in a list of places to take a refreshing break is stating the obvious. Generations of New Orleanians have relied on Morning Call as the quintessential spot for congregating after any and all events, from casual Christmas caroling to black-tie galas. And while a breakfast comprised of hot coffee and chicory and square-shaped French Market beignets is the perfect fuel for a day of shopping, late nights are great nights spent at Morning Call. And don’t worry, the powdered sugar that gets imbedded in your blue jeans or your black velvet jacket is a calling card for those “in the know.”

MONTE THE LION’S CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY TEA
The historic Hotel Monteleone’s favorite furry mascot, Monte the Lion, is hosting a series of special holiday teas for children each Saturday in December from 10 a.m. to noon. Monte promises tons of fun and entertainment for all in attendance, and his guests include Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves and Rudolf, Monte’s best friend, all of whom promise to deliver a roaring good time for kids. Charge up that digital camera for the plentiful photo ops and grab your children and head to the French Quarter for storytelling, Christmas caroling and games. There’ll be beaucoup treats for all, and Monte will gift every child with his or her own souvenir stuffed “Monte” to take home and enjoy.

THE POLO CLUB LOUNGE
Christened by Zagat as the “Top Spot” for a drink in New Orleans, the Windsor Court Hotel’s Polo Club Lounge is an excellent choice for imbibing. With offerings of expertly chosen wines, Champagne, specialty martinis, ports and cognacs, this gorgeously appointed, inviting and comfortable lounge area outfitted with super-plush sofas is the perfect place to kick up your heels and relax. “No buzz” beverages, such as a Blueberry Mojito and the Sunset Swirl, hit the spot. Opt for a hot toddy or an Irish coffee on cooler evenings, or enjoy this year’s seasonal hot drink, the Windsor Court Spirited Hot Apple Cider, which is guaranteed to warm the soul.

ANGELO BROCATO’S ITALIAN ICE CREAM PARLOR

Who says ice cream isn’t best eaten during the winter? Certainly not those in the know, and that includes the folks at Angelo Brocato’s. This venerable Mid-City outpost for scrumptious homemade Italian ice creams, ices and gelatos made with fresh, pure ingredients serves its frosty treats in a nostalgic environment. Its cannoli, a crunchy shell stuffed with sugar, chocolate and/or vanilla ice cream and ricotta cheese, then dipped in pistachios, is not to be missed. Coffees, from cafe lattes to cappuccinos, abound and are the perfect complement to Brocato’s large assortment of freshly baked pastries and cookies, from éclairs and tiramisu to chewy macaroons and Italian fig cookies. Buonissimo!

KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS
Admit it, you are a closeted Krispy Kreme addict. You’re more bedazzled by these sweet, deep-fried circular lumps than the entire collection of Christmas lights at City Park. You can scarf hot, sugary, melting objects faster than they can come off the conveyor belt, and with more deft than a brown pelican downing a mullet. Dare to come out of the closet this holiday season. Drive on over to Metairie and make yourself smile with one or maybe two original glazed doughnuts at this lively doughnut factory. Wash ’em down with a specialty beverage, such as the Kaffe Kreme, an espresso drink balanced with the delicious flavor of the Hot Original Glazed Doughnut. Then lose all control, march back to the register, order a dozen or two more and dash home with the stash. Gulp! You can make up for the damage you’ve done at the first of the new year!