Photos: Chinatown's New Orleans-Style Deli And Market Now Whipping Up Po' Boys
Chinatown's got a new gem of a New Orleans-style deli and market that's cooking up fried oyster po' boys, fried catfish and house-made sausages.
The Little Jewel of New Orleans opened up its market last month and just recently started serving food—and it has pretty extensive menu. Inside, you can find a cozy and casual market that sells things that feel very much from the Bayou: Zapp's chips, seasonings for crawfish boils, and chicory coffee (and Community Coffee). But they also have the feel of a neighborhood market where you can get the little things in life that you might find at a 7-Eleven.
There are dining tables around the store, atop of a black-and-white checkered floor. Vintage movie posters hang on the wall such as Elvis Presley's King Creole, and oldies music plays in the background.
They don't skimp on the the fillings of their gigantic 10-inch po'boys, and if you get their Irish Channel Roast Beef Po'Boy, just know that you'll need some extra napkins—maybe even a bib. Save room for dessert: when we got there we got to try their delicious and dense New Orleans Style Bread Pudding With Whiskey Sauce.
However, expect items on their menu to change around from time to time. Chef Marcus Christiana-Beniger, who co-owns Little Jewel with his partner Eunah Kang, tells LAist that when he first planned for this venture, he wrote down a list of all the things he could easily make at his deli and lost count after he got to 150 items.
Christiana-Beniger was born and raised in New Orleans, and spent much of his time there working in restaurants and bars in and around the French Quarter. He learned much of his cooking from his Italian grandmother, and after switching gears and working in visual arts and production for years in Los Angeles, he later went to L.A. Trade Tech to hone in on his cooking skills—with a particular interest in food science and sausage making.
He teamed up with one of his L.A. Trade Tech teachers, Jerry Vachon, and they started making sausage recipes together that they felt represented New Orleans—from the Andouille to Boudin links and Tasso (the seasoning used in the southern Louisiana-style ham). All their sausages are made in-house and smoked over pecan wood, just like in New Orleans.
Christiana-Beniger wanted to bring New Orleans into this food, and that included using Blue Plate mayo, which he says has a denser texture than what you'd normally find in other brands. He also imports his french bread for the po'boys from his home state because he says you can taste the difference.
And in keeping with the Bayou tradition, he's serving red beans and rice every Monday. Eventually, he hopes to serve jambalaya on Thursdays and chicken and Andouille gumbo on Fridays.
He's taking his time on those until he perfects the recipes. "I think the good thing about having this rich milieu to explore is that we have a big menu of things here to grow out and try and see what L.A. likes, what they don't like," Christiana-Beniger says. "Kind of grow it organically. I'm not in a hurry. I know a lot of people all want me to do a hundred things at once, but I'm a Southern person and I'm going to go my own speed."
Little Jewel of New Orleans is located at 207 Ord St. in Chinatown, (213) 620-0461. The market opens at 7 a.m., the deli opens at 10:30 a.m., and they close at 9 p.m. The hours may change, so check with the store.