Norma’s Sweet Shop ( 3221 Georgia Avenue, Kenner, LA, 504.467.4309) is a one-stop-shop for Cuban groceries, pastries, cakes, and surprisingly good sandwiches. The no-frills little shop manages to squeeze in a dairy case, two modest grocery aisles, a full bakery display case, as well as a few cafe tables and a flat-screen TV (usually tuned to soccer). On weekends, families with kids in tow patiently wait in line for brightly decorated birthday cakes, while other patrons head straight for the counter to order foot-long, pressed Cuban sandwichs. Others choose the chicken sandwich, a bollito roll stuffed with a chunky, spicy mix of chicken, olives, and tomatoes.
Of course, since Norma’s is primarily a bakery, it’s hard to buy just a sandwich without also picking up a dessert. Tres leches cake, sweet rolls, cheesecake….choices abound, but the star of the show is the pastele de guayaba, a glazed puff pastry pocket overflowing with guava jelly. Served warm from a glass case right next to the cash register, the guava pastries are the perfect accompaniment to Norma’s savory offerings. Pick up a canned tamarind juice drink for a mini tropical vacation without leaving Jefferson Parish.