Little Jewel of New Orleans: A Huge Rock of Flavor
I’ve been to New Orleans three times, and I plan on going back thirty more before my days are through. It’s a magical city bursting with vibrant culture, music, and yes food. I absolutely love it and have seriously considered moving there for a year or two just to have that experience under my belt.
Who knows maybe I will…
The first thing that I get when I am in New Orleans is a shrimp po’ boy. Don’t ask me why, I just do. It is my most prized comfort food of that part of the world. Yes, I love oysters – Fried. Grilled. Raw. I crave jambalaya, salivate over good gumbo and I would shank somebody for a perfectly prepared crawfish étouffée.
But the shrimp po’boy. That’s my son. My child.
And it has been killing me that I haven’t been able to connect with my boy on the regular. It just didn’t exist in my hood.
Welcome to the Little Jewel of New Orleans.
Nestled in Chinatown in DTLA on a small quiet street sits a new restaurant only two months old, but I already know that this will in time become one of DTLA’s beloved institutions.
To call Little Jewel of New Orleans a “little jewel” does the place a disservice. It is a huge, sparkling VS-1 rock of authentic Louisiana Creole flavor.
The shrimp are breaded and fried with classic Creole seasonings. The French bread is perfectly light and soft. The shredded cabbage, pickles, tomato and diced green onion… bon!
They even have Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce table side if you so desire, and I did. I loved eating it so much; it was like Mardi Gras was parading all up in my mouth.
I also ordered the hush puppies and the crawfish mac and cheese because, well because it was on the menu and I couldn’t pass these guys up.
The hush puppies were crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside and the flavor of corn meal really popped.
With the crawfish mac and cheese I would have liked to have seen some real chunks of crawfish in it, but the flavor of crawfish was all up in every morsel of the rotini or was it fusilli?
I get them confused.
Anyway, the dish made my ass moan so no complaints here.
Entering the restaurant is a trip. Part deli. Part grocer. You place your order on one end of the establishment, then walk past the market and squat down at the other end and pick your food up when it is called out by the owner, and Chef, Marcus Christina-Beniger.
Just hearing him call out what I was about to eat turned me on and and made me giddy like it was my first visit to a lingerie store.
I suggest walking around the market and checking out of the regional foods, seasonings and condiments while you wait. It is quite the education.
Additionally, be sure to take in and appreciate all the New Orleans decor and accents that Marcus has scattered about the establishment. The ambiance for me was almost as enjoyable as the food.
Well, that’s it. Cop a squat.
Take in your lunch haul.
And dive in.
If you are an Angeleno or just visiting Los Angeles, this is one place you don’t want to miss.
It’s a definite FlavorBoner experience.