The Biggest Little Gem of New Orleans
The only thing I travel for is food. I’ll spend months deeply investigating a single location and almost all it’s designated eateries within a ten mile distance. Any culinary experiences that happen at locations that fall outside those “designated” locations, are also very welcome in my itinerary. Once I’ve boarded the plane, me and my taste buds are pretty much game for anything.
Finding reminiscent dining experiences to those we have had overseas or even in other cities, can prove problematic once we hit home barring you’re not from New York City. Being a native myself, I occasionally have a few qualms about the amount of ethnic selections and hours of availability at dinners here in Los Angeles, but on the whole, the flavors found at the locations I do frequent, have my devout cult following.
With a myriad of choices for spiciest KBBQ, freshest Cali Fare and most authentic Taco Tuesdays (dos tortillas or naw?), one cant help but feel that the market has been somewhat saturated with delicious, though repeated concepts. It’s my personal theory that the rise of ‘fusion’ restaurants and food trucks stemmed from this realization, and attempts to bridge the gap between comfort concepts and edgier flavors are made, but ultimately does neither culture any justice. Sorry edemame egg salad taco, we’re just not feeling you.
The once slow seep of Asian influence specifically has gathered tremendous steam here is Los Angeles due to it hosting the largest population of Korean and Filipino Americans in the country, as well as many descendent generations of Chinese railroad workers from the 1860’s. I venture to Chinatown sporadically (mostly because the yellow brick road there is like climbing Everest on a bike) but I only go to handle business at The Little Gem of New Orleans.
This eatery (and I cannot stress this enough) is as self explanatory as it is accurate. As a tragic soul who has never had the pleasure of experiencing the legendary Louisiana city first hand, it has been left to fate and the determination of some really southern souls, that my first experience with the culture of New Orleans cooking happen right here at Little Gem.
A place that from the front, you could almost mistake for some old style bakery with it’s solid green and white striping and kitsch neon sign. Make no mistake, this rebellious little eatery, nestled quietly on the fringe of LA’s Chinatown, packs a potent punch of Creole history in every bite. Their outstanding menu, listed judiciously on one entire wall of the dig, boasts authentic meals like Muffulettas, Cajun Gator Chili and a lengthy list of Po’Boys that puts sandwich shops everywhere to shame. Order your Boy dressed with a classic remoulade or demand the ‘Crown’ and watch your hoagie go into full overdose mode with sharp cheddar and honey bacon
With their Breakfast and Beignets now gracing us daily from ten to two, an entire grocery addendum selling Creole and N’awlens products, and all the beers one might need to handle the heat, there really is no excuse not to spend the entirety of ones day there, lurking awkwardly about the slaughterhouse district until inspired to eat again.
Photography @ MacKenzie James Photo