If there’s one city that knows how to party, it’s New Orleans — where food bloggers Alessandra and Maggie of Babes and Beignets thrive in all things dining and drinking. Whether it’s navigating the busy streets of the French Quarter, finding the perfect jazz bar, or searching for the best beignet in the city, these two are right in tune — and in taste — with New Orleans.
Want to bring a little bit of the Big Easy to your next brunch? We sat down with Maggie and Alessandra for tips on hosting a New Orleans-inspired jazz brunch that will dazzle and delight guests.
First, it’s essential that you set the right mood for your brunch. “You have to design a playlist that will set the tone of the whole event,” Alessandra explains. “We like to include a mix of trendy and electronic music, mixed with classic New Orleans jazz.” Need some inspiration? Check out the Spotify jazz brunch playlist that Alessandra and Maggie designed just for Chila fans.
What else sets the right tone as soon as guests arrive at your doorstep? A good drink, of course.
“Make sure to have at least two or three cocktails ready beforehand so there are options for everyone,” Maggie says. “I like to have something light and simple like a mimosa, a coffee-based cocktail, and maybe a third drink that’s exotic and fun.” (Pro tip: We think the Chila Chai Latte is perfect for the occasion.)
As for the menu, these two dining divas recommend having a mix of sweet and savory dishes to satisfy guests’ appetites. “You want to pick recipes that are easy to make for large groups, can be prepared in advance, and served at room temperature,” Alessandra explains. One of the bloggers’ go-to brunch recipes is New Orleans chef Alon Shaya’s shrimp shakshuka, which features the signature spice and seafood the city is known for.
“I like to serve brunch buffet-style,” Alessandra suggests. “That way people can help themselves as they come and go, and it makes the event feel less formal. Not to mention, it’s less work for the hosts!”
To balance out the sweet side of things, Alessandra and Maggie recommend making a batch of a simple but indulgent pancakes, waffles, or French toast (keep scrolling for a recipe!).
And don’t be afraid to give guests an extra treat as they linger around after the meal winds down. Offering up beignets or a famous New Orleans king cake from a spot like Sucré will keep the party going well into the afternoon — which is totally acceptable, if not expected, in New Orleans.
Ready to start planning your perfect jazz brunch? Our Chila-infused French toast recipe is a good place to get started. Make this easy recipe and enjoy a Big Easy-themed brunch!