This week Ian McNulty visits Mid City's Latin American deli that fronts as a bakery, Norma's Sweets Bakery, to be exact. Mcnulty piles on the love, drooling over "huge cartons of carne asada and tortillas cooked on the griddle as you watch... tart ceviche of shrimp, drum and scallops stored in iced tubs by the cash register." Norma's (it's an offshoot of the original in Kenner, brah) doubles as a small grocery store with pinatas hanging from the ceiling, but look closer:
You'll find stewed chicken and ribs coated with a dark mixture of spices and grill char, all with meat sliding off the bone into a rust-colored liquid to ladle over yellow rice. One day there might be vigoron, a Nicaraguan dish of boiled yuca and chicharones, on another day there's roasted corn sprinkled with crema and white cheese, and there are always a few different tamales. These dense, moist, meat-studded bundles of masa are bound in banana leaves, foil and twine and stay warm for hours.
There's also sheet cakes galore, and Mexican pastries. Plus a "tidy" dining area, since you probably won't be able to wait to eat the "best Cuban sandwich in town." [Gambit]
Tom Fitzmorris returns to his Three Star MADNESS this week with a review of Metairie lunch and dinner favorite Giorlando's. The restaurant was opened in 1973 as a self-service po' boy shop, but expanded to a full-fledged restaurant after Katrina with gigantic portions of fried seafood, red beans, and basically a menu that's "comparable to great neighborhood eateries such as Mandina's." One thing that bugs Tommy boy is the dang pasta though. He says, "If they would toss the pasta with its sauce, the many dishes involving spaghetti would be twice as good." In terms of Hipness, Fitzmorris hands Giorlando's a wretched -2 bonus points. [City Business, subscription required]