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New Orleans, LA, 70119
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blog swirl & savor

Happiness is Pagoda Cafe

Beth Ribblett


Tucked under the trees on a corner spot off of Bayou Road, there's a cool little Pagoda that has become one of our favorite stops. And while might be the distinct architecture that draws your eye, it is the fresh food, great coffee and smiling faces that will pull you in and keep you coming back for more.

Proprietors Shana & Daniel
Swirl regulars Daniel Etheridge and Shana Sasson opened the newest neighborhood hot spot in this little gem of a building that was, you guessed it, a Chinese Laundry.  We go for their coffee every chance we get, leaving work in the car to get something that we could walk around the corner for.  There are very few coffee spots in the city that offer a truly quality cup of joe, in fact I can count them on one hand.  Because quality for me is measured by espresso.  If the espresso is done right, chances are the other coffees will follow suite as good drip coffee is somewhat easy to achieve as long as you have a clean machine and fresh beans from quality sources.

Espresso with the most delicious rum cake!
Italians are the masters of espresso.  The term "espresso" is derived from the Italian word for express since espresso is made for and served immediately to the customer.   And those clever Italians developed an alliteration for perfect espresso preparation called the 4"M's": the Macinazione is the correct grinding of a coffee blend, Miscela is the coffee blend, Macchina is the espresso machine, and Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.  When each factor of the four M's is precisely controlled, the espresso beverage that is produced is the ultimate coffee experience.  And I have to say that in coffee shops here in New Orleans, a few of the M's are usually missing from the equation.

Macchiato fantastico!
Not so here at Pagoda Cafe. They get "it" and the result is a great pour with no bitterness, the perfect crema with rich texture, flavor and aromatics.  The coffee menu here is simple, as it should be. No caramel brulee latte's or peppermint mocha's just espresso drinks and great drip coffee.  And this is why we get in the car and drive from the shop to Pagoda Cafe.


However, as those in the service industry know, a good product isn't always enough.  So add to that smiling, happy people who genuinely love what they are doing and are eager to share it with you.  Then throw in the fact they are sourcing as much as they can locally - breads are from Bellegarde, their seasonal veggies from Holly Grove and Grow Dat and coffee and teas from French Truck - and you've got the perfect mix for a great spot that you will want to frequent as often as you can.

Open faced chicken sandwich w/artichoke spread and fresh arugula.
We finally got to go for lunch yesterday and were so happy to have fresh, healthy and delicious food at great prices. You can choose from a few breakfast items, sandwiches, stews and a handful of dessert choices.  Besides the coffee drinks there are fresh brewed ice teas (the Earl Grey with Lavender was super!), Italian sodas, Mexican sparkling waters and bottled coca cola. They are open 7am - 4pm Tuesday through Saturday so be sure to check them out and show them some love!  And don't forget to tell them swirl sent you ;-)

1430 N. Dorgenois, New Orleans, Louisiana 70119
(504) 644-4178