Cala Cakes – Mike’s New Favorite Fried Food

Cala Cakes from The Coffee Pot

Cala Cakes from The Coffee Pot

When I was warned about the hearty food that New Orleans cooked, I figured it would be mostly because they just loved using butter and lard instead of the healthier ingredients of their Yankee cousins.  And while I’m sure this is still the case, I also discovered that by hearty, people actually do mean absolutely delicious and filling.  From the White Beans & Rice at The Gumbo Shop to the French Fried Potato Po’ Boy at Liuzza’s, we never walked away hungry.  But we also never walked away feeling like there was a weight sitting in our guts.  It was just the right amount of too much food.

While we were down there, I discovered my absolutely favorite new breakfast dish.  If Honey in Glen Ellyn added these to their menu, I’d be hopping a train down there every weekend.  People to the north of the Mason-Dixon line, let me share with you the two greatest words I discovered while in New Orleans: Cala Cakes.

We didn’t do a lot of prep work going into this trip.  We only knew that we needed to try Cafe Du Monde and The Gumbo Shop.  So when Katie asked if I was interested in checking out The Coffee Pot on Sunday morning, it was hard to say no.  And I’m glad I didn’t.  Because, and let me repeat these two words, I discovered Cala Cakes.

When I first bit into them, the taste reminded me of Burger King’s French Toast Sticks from long ago.  But the taste was more robust, and the cakes far more satisfying.  Covered in powdered sugar and syrup only made the experience better.  And adding a large side of grits to that made the experience mouth watering, even 4 days later.

While we were eating breakfast, another event took place that hammered home why people love New Orleans so much.  A family who must have been visiting after moving out of the city years ago stopped in to visit one of the waitresses.  The woman couldn’t believe her eyes.  She hugged the child, and then in a moment that made the entire restaurant stop, she put the child on her knee and started singing a hymn with a voice that filled the restaurant.  The place was silent save for her singing, and once she was done, everyone broke out into applause.  Seldom do  you get to see such a soulful, heartfelt act take place in today’s world.

It wasn’t until I was down there, eating the food, and seeing instances like that made me finally understand why people didn’t want to move away during Katrina.  I now see why people moved back as soon as they could.  It’s hard not to leave there without loving it just a little bit.

Even if the humidity and heat are actively trying to kill you.

Cala Cakes – Creole Deep Fried Rice Cakes (from RecipeZaar)

Serves 20 Cakes

1/2 cup rice, uncooked
3 cups water, boiling
1 tsp salt
1 1/8 tsp (1/2 package) yeast
1/2 cup water
3 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour, sifted
oil (for frying)

Cook the rice until very soft in the 3 cups of boiling water. Drain, mash, and cool to lukewarm. Add yeast, beat and let rise overnight. In the morning, add remaining ingredients. Beat again and let rise about 20 minutes in a warm place. Preheat oil to 365°F. Drop batter by tablespoons into oil and fry until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels and serve hot with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

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11 Responses to Cala Cakes – Mike’s New Favorite Fried Food

  1. Jim says:

    Well, it’s June 2012. Cala cakes are still delicious and singing was great. Went there everyday for breakfast after we tried the first time. On our list now for every time we get in the area! Enjoy

    • TwobitMe says:

      That’s such good news. We honestly miss that place at least once a week. Nothing has compared to going their for breakfast. The fact that the singing is still around only puts a big smile on my face.

  2. john harida says:

    This was our first trip to New Orleans and it won’t be our last.We also fell in love with the cala cakes and grits at the coffee pot along with the staff. They make you fill like at home.Went back on day two and we had the same breakfast calc cakes and grits.Wish their was a place in PA to get a breakfast as good as that but this is something to look forward to next trip.

  3. marsha ?????9 says:

    A friend told me bout this recipe, so if it’s as good as she says then I am hooked.

  4. david says:

    we have just return from nola—the coffee pot is a must when visiting new orleans!—the cala cakes are amazing!!—we went twice for breakfast—ordered them both times—pearl has been a beautiful part of the coffee pot and recommened that we try them–we heard she has been there over 40 years—shirley has been there some 15years—i bet she is the one who sang—she gave me the best 51st happy bithday song i could ever have ever heard—the whole experence is so gracious new orleans—i will be now be making cala cakes as a treat to my sunday brunches—thank you for the recipe

  5. sweetclafoutis says:

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful story about the waitress singing the hymn! When my husband and I visit New Orleans (he grew up there), we always go to the Coffee Pot for breakfast. Their oysters Rockefeller omelet is also great, but the calas cakes are unique. The first time we ate there, as we were ordering, I said to my husband, “Maybe I should try a brandy milk punch since I’ve never had one.” The waitress simply nodded and said, “Yeah you right.” Classic Nawlins!

  6. I lived my whole life in NOLA and never had a cala cake. What was I doing? Thanks for the recipe. I’ll definitely be making these.

  7. Jen Vegas says:

    Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!!!!!!!!!

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