You don't have to be from New Orleans to appreciate a warm, powder sugar-dusted beignet. But it helps to know what it is.
At Jimmy's Pizza Cafe, on the far Northern tip of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood, they make beignets all year long.
"It's like a donut, but it's not. It's much lighter, it's crispier," said Jimmy's owner Jimmy Kang.
Kang researched his beignets in the Big Easy, and he feels confident his recipe comes close.
"I've been to Cafe du Monde and Morning Call, both when I was younger but Morning Call is the place that really stuck out in my mind," he said.
They begin with the dough, of course; the recipe a closely-guarded secret. It's guided through a sheeter a few times, to press it out and it get it to the proper thickness. Then it's cut out into squares, with the aid of a special roller. Those squares are tossed into hot oil, which fries them up within a minute or two. Finally, they each get a serious shower of powdered sugar.
"We have a lot of people coming from New Orleans who moved up here and they actually prefer mine so, I don't know, you're gonna have to try it," said Kang.
Kang says he gets orders all year long for his beignets, but this time of year, it gets particularly busy.
"During Fat Tuesday, we have a lot of people coming through, especially people who are transplants from New Orleans, they're actually taking a lot of orders out for, to go party or what not," he said.
The beignets need to be eaten fresh and hot. Do not get them to-go.
Jimmy's Pizza & Cafe
5159 N. Lincoln Ave.