Outside New Orleans, a New Mardi Gras Experience: The King Cake Drive-Thru
A tire shop parking lot has become a popular destination for those craving the beloved treat. The only problem: Which variety to choose?
Tiffany Langlinais opened the drive-through business with her fiancé, offering the delicacy of the Carnival season in flavors ranging from cream cheese to crawfish.Credit…Emily Kask for The New York Times
By Rick Rojas
Reporting from Metairie, La., and the kitchen of Joyce’s Sweets in Ponchatoula, where he sampled a praline-filled cake fresh from the oven.
Of course Mardi Gras is about boundless revelry: the weeks of balls and the parades that shower the streets of New Orleans with beads. But beneath all that, it is also a period of metamorphosis.
A midwinter Tuesday transforms from the most mundane of days into a festival of frivolity and vice. People shed the cocoons of their regular lives and emerge plumed in feathers and sequins.
And this year, just outside New Orleans, a tire shop that for as long as anyone can remember sold only car parts has become a bustling marketplace offering king cakes, the delicacy of the Carnival season, in just about any conceivable flavor.
All you have to do is drive up.
“Any idea of what you want?” Tiffany Langlinais asked a customer who pulled up on a Friday afternoon.
It is a daunting question at the King Cake Drive-Thru. Flaky or fluffy? Filled with cream cheese? What about strawberries, ice cream, even crawfish — or nothing more than the traditional plastic baby? Cakes from more than a dozen bakeries are on offer.
Others have had the idea to sell king cakes culled from various local bakeries, at one location, like King Cake Hub in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans. But the innovation of the King Cake Drive-Thru, which Ms. Langlinais opened in January with her fiancé, Mike Graves, is the added convenience of accessing that bounty of options without even needing to get out of the car.
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