10.03.2016

Eat the Guide: Angelo Brocato's

Hello and welcome to the NOiG series Eat the Guide!  In this series, I explore the scores of restaurants included in the NOIG Guide to Vegan-Friendly Restaurants.  You can follow along in the guide or right here on the blog, or both of course.  See previous posts here, and enjoy!

This weekend I visited one of my favorite spots in the city: Angelo Brocato's on Carrollton.  The shop was originally located in the French Quarter but relocated to Mid-City in the 1970's.  (You can still see the separate ladies' and men's entrances tiled on Ursulines Street.)  The focus of Brocato's is its Sicilian pastries and gelato, but there are vegan treats hidden here.

Appearance and Atmosphere:  Brocato's is positively charming, or maybe it just strikes me that way because it is such a favorite spot of my family.  This is certainly casual, but go ahead and take a fancy date here after dinner for a little whimsy. 

Hours of Operation: Easiest said with a picture...

Service Style:  Be prepared to stand in line for a little while to order your goodies at the counter; this is a very popular spot.  Don't let the Catholic school girls who almost exclusively staff the store pass you by - flag them down if they accidentally skip you.  Order your cookies and/or Italian Ice (see below) and collect them at the register.  Then take a seat at a cafe-style round table with darling heart shaped wire chairs.

Available Vegan Options:  Brocato's vegan options are limited but, in my opinion, worthwhile.  First of all, there are always at least three flavors of Italian Ice on hand: lemon, raspberry, and a seasonal flavor.  These are made in house and are always delicious.  Then there are a variety of hard cookies that you can take home to enjoy with your morning coffee, including Biscotti Regina (mild and covered in sesame seeds, my mother's favorite), chocolate pastines (these melt in your mouth a bit), Biscotti Inglese (slightly orange), and Scadalina (very hard and flavored of clove, also called dead man's bones).  Check the packaged foods for accidentally vegan delicacies like marzipan.  And don't skip the Roman Candy, which is always on the counter.

Alcohol or Espresso:  There is a fancy old-fashioned espresso machine here, but only dairy milk to temper the drinks with.

Price Range:  Cookies start at around fifty cents each and a scoop of Italian Ice will run you about three dollars - this is a cheap treat.

My Experience:  I just love being in the space that Brocato's is.  It makes me feel connected to my Sicilian New Orleans heritage - my grandfather loved this shop and could easily have been distant cousins with the family that has always run it.

Final Thoughts:  Go to Brocato's for a uniquely New Orleans experience.  Look at the gorgeous pastry and imagine a world where we'll have a case that looks like that full of vegan treats.  Wait in line, maybe even outside the store, because this place is iconic and extraordinarily popular.  Expect some hollering kids having a wonderful time on the family outing.  Swipe the last available table that just happens to be the one nestled by the front window.  Savor the Italian Ice, and bring home a little bag of cookies to dip in your coffee for the next few mornings.  And if you happen to be around, go by on March 19th for St. Joseph's Day and get you a lucky bean.

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