On Royal Street, there are some truisms:
1. stuff is expensive.
2. shade is unlikely
3. good public places to sit are taken quickly by musicians and audiences.
So, every time a new place that seems like it might balance one, two or all of the above, I make a beeline for it. The latest is Antoine’s Annex, the coffeehouse brought to us by our oldest restaurant. Just as the Hermes Bar has been such a hit (their newish bar with street entrance which has available Antoine’s appetizers on their menu), it’s likely this Royal Street annex will be too.
I have gone three times since it opened, and I will say the early excitement from the staff seems to have waned. They spent loads of time explaining the pastries back in the day and proudly showing the place itself. Of course, it was a bit much to take when one just wants an espresso and a seat but it was still appreciated.
The pastry case has gotten lighter or has less choices. I mean I didn’t count them, but I remember 2-3 things the first few times I thought looked interesting (and bought one once I remember) but the last 2 times nothing appealed from the case. And I believe it’s all done in-house too so I hope they continue to push the boundaries on pastries- especially with Croissant d’Or’s new owners disappointing so many locals who used to get their croissants, Napoleons and baguettes on Ursulines.
Please Antoine’s Annex, go a little crazy and wow us on the desserts.
The coffee was good; it’s true that cafe au lait is a tough mistress to master in New Orleans, as locals have so many memories and places with which to compare it. I am always unhappy when coffee is served from airpots, as it means it is meant to stay hot longer than it stays fresh in those things. I did see a nice steam but again, am not sure baristas can tell by eyes only when the temperature is perfect as the milk needs to be just below boiling for locals. Their espresso is also fine or good enough (I wonder about the quality of the beans they use), and in all cases the cups used are right and lovely and not just heavy generic coffeehouse stock. And the many flavors offered for espresso was a nice touch.
As for the gelato, they looked okay, but I so appreciate the La Divina local fruit gelato or Brocato’s ice cream, that I have a hard time accepting their small selection as the best they can do. But I promise to come back on a hot evening this month and try one fair and square.
The real treat is the decor and work put into the place. Beautiful. As Royal is as good a place as any to people watch, sit and do that.
Their patio is fine too although it would be nice if the staff would take 5 steps to the street to accept their mobile phone calls and leave the small outside area for sitting and face-to-face level conversations.
But I say let’s keep going and simply ask for more from our Antoine’s. They can handle it.