By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief
I went to Sweet Idea in Mandeville, La., in January knowing that the Asian-fusion restaurant was one of the places carrying the popular Mardi Gras king cakes from the Dong Phuong Bakery in New Orleans East.
I walked into Sweet Idea around 5 p.m. on a Wednesday planning to buy anything but a DP king cake, but convenience, immediacy and temptation won out.
A drive from my Gulfport, Miss., home to Mandeville, one of the cities on the New Orleans Northshore, seems faster than one to New Orleans East and Sweet Idea offered a decent selection of DP king cakes at the counter, even though all were priced beyond the $16-$17 face value.
I looked at the display for a few minutes before deciding to pony up more than $30 for a DP cream cheese king cake one year after my failed trip to the bakery on Chef Menteur, where I saw no baked goodies when I arrived about an hour before quitting time on a Monday.
Was $30-plus a delicious investment in a DP king cake? Is Francis the pope? You’ll have no problem guessing the answer.
This thing came in an attractive purple box full of heavy goodness.
It was one of five king cakes for me this Mardi Gras season. The others were from the Cheeky Monkey Cake Company in Biloxi, Paul’s Pastry Shop in Picayune, the Butter Krisp Diner in Covington, La., and my favorite bakery, Nonna Randazzo’s, just down the road from the Butter Krisp.
I like everything at Randazzo’s and my 7-year-old Northshore grandson says “yum” when he hears talk about the Highway 190 bakery, but the DP was the best of the five king cakes I had because it was packed with the richness and platonic sweetness of supreme icing, filling and baking and it just might be the tastiest king cake of all time.
For days, I feasted on slices for breakfast and dessert, and each time I finished eating one, I said to myself, “Let the good times dough.”