710 Dr. Michael DeBakey Dr. • Lake Charles • 337-602-6415
A few weeks ago, my mother, Rosalind Fontenot, called me up. During our conversation, she told me about this cute little market she went to that served some amazing sandwiches.
She was referring to the City Market and Deli, and she really liked Chef Luis. She spoke so highly of this place and the food there that I had to go check it out. I’ve heard good things about the place, and a couple of people I know had tried the sandwiches, but I’m hardly ever on that side of town, so I just haven’t made it by.
When you walk in the door of City Market, you find a very cute neighborhood market, with a butcher and a chef on site. There is a section where you can get fresh deli meats and cheeses, as well as aged beef.
I spoke with Chef Luis, and I found out that he spent a very long time in Chicago working as a chef. His wife’s brother married a girl from Lake Charles. The opportunity came up to open a spot here, so he and his wife made the move to SWLA.
The first sandwich I tried was the Italian, which had sliced ham, salami and pepperoni, topped with Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and Giardiniera peppers on Amoroso bread.
The kicker to the entire sandwich, for me, was the flavor of Louis’ Italian seasoned oil — boy, does it bring the sandwich together. You get the boldness of the meats, and the Italian seasoning gets stronger the longer it sits in that oil. I would love to have a bottle of my own to dip some bread into.
I was supposed to go with Chelsea the first time I checked this place out, but I cheated and went rogue. I made it up to her the next day, and we went together. This time I went for the Chicago-style hot Italian beef sandwich, which is served on a wet bun. Luis took meat that had been sitting in its own juice, generously applied that juice to the bread, and topped it with his homemade Giardiniera peppers.
This is a wet and messy sandwich, but if you can keep from eating your fingers as you shove this “beast-mode Jones” sandwich in your mouth, you have come out on top.
Chelsea got the Blue Roast Beef with roast beef, bleu cheese, Swiss cheese, red onion and spinach, with a horseradish mayo, served on Amoroso bread.
Chelsea and I went in again, this time with my brother, Marco, and my sister, Tricia, as neither of them had even heard of the place.
My sister got the Blue Roast Beef, and Marco got the Chicago. They both loved their sandwiches. Marco and I both liked the spiciness of the Giardiniera because my dad’s peppers had that same flavor to them.
Chelsea and I shared the turkey and bacon sandwich, as well as a cup of Chef Luis’ homemade roasted chicken soup. This was the best chicken soup I have ever had — and I love soups, so I have tried a few in my day. The sandwich had very good applewood bacon on it, with cheddar cheese, avocado, and a kick-ass chipotle mayo on a ciabatta bread. It was very light tasting, but filled to the brim with flavor.
This market supports local vendors like Pops and Rockets, Crying Eagle and Acadian Coffee, and uses produce grown locally. This is the type of market I think all neighborhoods need. Everyone is friendly and helpful, and it feels so much more personable than the big box grocery stores. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of the bigger stores just because they have a greater buying power and you can get things the smaller places can’t really afford to bring in. But there is, for sure, a need for both types of experiences.
I love Luis’ sandwiches, and I will be telling everyone to stop in and support local, just like City Market and Deli is.
On a very personal note, I would like to say goodbye to my mother, Rosalind Smith Fontenot. The last conversation we ever had was about this place, and how impressed she was with it. She told me I would love it, and she couldn’t have been more right.
My mom was an amazing chef in her own right, and we grew up eating all her creations. She learned how to make egg rolls in Moss Bluff from Blane Rush’s mother, who, I believe, was from Vietnam. Once Mom learned how to make them, it was as if she had made them her entire life.
I found my love of raw biscuit dough from sneaking in on Saturday mornings and taking a pinch out of the bowl as she was cooking breakfast.
My mother loved to bake cakes, pies, cookies, and almost any kind of sweet you could imagine. I’m surprised that I was never inclined to become a pastry chef. I guess I realized along the way that pastry chefs have to be perfect —you can’t fix a mistake with pastry as easily as you can with conventional cooking.
My siblings and I were exposed to all kinds of different food backgrounds while growing up, and while there were a few things that I refused to eat, I was far from picky, and I owe that to my mom. She got us out of our comfort zones. I’m sure she’s the biggest reason Marco and I love food.
Good-bye, Mom. You will be forever remembered, and you are in a better place now.
My mother left behind a man named Nelson Fontenot, and I must say he is one of the most wonderful men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The love he had for my mother was beautiful. Nelson, thank you for making my mother’s last years some of her best. You brought a ray of sunshine into her life, and shared a love that she was fortunate to have experienced. I could never thank you enough for that.