March 27, 2011

Chicory journey part V: Morning Call

If you’re looking at this you’ve arrived. The center of the (very small) chicory universe. I couldn’t believe our luck. This was amazing.

Like everything on this journey there’s a history lesson here too. Morning Call was right around the corner from Du Monde in a huge building. They started a decade or so before Du Monde, yet apparently Du Monde claims they’re older. The big difference is that in the 60s (0r 70s?) Morning Call moved to the sub-burbs. I don’t know exactly, but I’m guessing this was when everybody was fleeing urban centers. The other difference is that Du Monde started pushing wholesale, which they do a lot of now. Morning Call didn’t.

So now we get to visit a 150 year old coffee “stand” that’s in a strip-mall outside of the city center. But when they moved the moved everything. And unlike Du Monde, instead of hurried Vietnamese waiters who were or were not being paid minimum wage, we found ourselves talking to the owner.

OK, here’s where it gets interesting. They have their own way of making coffee.First, there’s a giant column. Looks like a stove pipe. And it has a huge sock in it. This sock is filled with coffee grounds. Following so far? I’m including some pictures below to illustrate. These kind folks actually let us walk into their kitchen to check it all out. Amazing. And Beautiful. Just fantastic.

They ladle boiling water over the stovepipe. One ladle full at a time. So the entire process might take an hour or so. Very long brew.

The milk is cooked, and I say cooked not “heated” on purpose. The milk is cooked on a dedicated burner. Probably scalded first, then cooked for a long time until it takes on a slightly tan look. The sugars caramelize and everything. It’s very sweet and flavorful. I’ve never seen anything like it. Now we finally understand why Du Monde’s milk is slightly brown in color. They cook this stuff, and cook it, and cook it. It’s a big part of the final product.

Oh, and of course they served the most ridiculous beignet I’ve ever had. Just absurd. Really really different than what we ate at Du Monde.

Last picture. Check out that marble. It’s a bit hard to see. I did my best to capture it in the picture. But that’s where cups have been placed since 1870. How many cups served? I have no idea. But look at that wear. Isn’t that fantastic?

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