Voodoo Cafe: Beignets and Coffee on Wheels

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About five years ago, Faith and Mark Lansdon decided they would open a coffee shop. It would have a motorcycle theme.

But with the overhead of opening a shop over head and pressing down, they decided to scale their plans back and go with a food truck. And now a motorcycle-themed food truck didn't quite make sense.

Then the Lansdons took a trip to New Orleans. And, like everybody, they went to Cafe du Monde and, afterwards, their idea for their coffee shop food truck began to gel. The Voodoo Cafe food truck launched in early may.

The truck serves coffees from all over — Cuban, Turkish, Vietnamese iced, etc. And and and, they serve beignets shaped like voodoo dolls (!) in such flavors as Sweet Juju (named after a neighbor) with sweet cream and cinnamon, the Black Magic with Nutella, and the Muddy Zombie with peanut butter, chocolate, and caramel sauce.
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Mark found an old ’50s delivery truck and refurbished it from top to bottom, putting solar panels on top so the truck gets only half its energy from generators. He taught himself how to make the coffees — this one needed to be boiled three times, that one needed to sit for 24 hours, etc.

Faith was in charge of the beignets and enlisted a (very lucky) friend to help with the flavors. They initially offered plain beignets with powdered sugar and chocolate and raspberry sauces on the side. The sauces weren't a hit, however. Then, Faith thought, "beignet sundae," and scoured her kitchen for what might work. One final bit of inspiration came with the red appetizer pick stuck in the middle of each beignet man. It's been a hit with those who like to play with their food.

Mark says he had to re-work some of the coffees for American tastes and for practical reasons (Cuban coffee is served in tiny cups). The Lansdons also figured out to keep the voodoo doll-shaped beignets voodoo doll-shaped while making them. It involves multiple steps and flash freezing. Leftover dough is made into little voodoo dolls and given as dog treats (they may sell them later).

The Voodoo Cafe logo is of a voodoo doll in a business suit. According to the Lansdons, it's their way of saying they stayed clear of the corporate world and they are sticking it to the man.

The Voodoo Cafe truck will be at Germantown Hardware on Saturday, 8 a.m. On most Sundays, they are at Walnut Grove and Houston Levee from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


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