Friday, August 15, 2008

New Orleans: Best Meal Year-to-Date

For the past two years my brothers, my father and I have headed down to New Orleans to go Fishing for the athletic Redfish that inhabit the salt marshes of the deep south, though I will mention the anticipation for the most recent  trip was equally strong for our return to Cochon. Cochon is quite simply, a culinary celebration of the pig (although they do many other Cajun specialties, mind blowingly well). They do masterful things with swine down there, and pretty much cook everything but the stink - Mmm Hmmm even the nasty bits make their way in, and itwouldn't be right if they didn't. 

One of my favorite menu offerings on the menu is the Boucherie plate. It's a handsome little plate full of all the great charcuterie that these southern  hog wizards conjur up on the premises. In the shot above you can see that we start with perfect little toast points and a substantial (delightful, actually) stone-ground mustard. From there you pick your various toppings including pork rilletes (which were awesome), perfectly smoked ham (dissolved on the tongue), a nice salty salami, what they called "homemade Slim Jims" which were great little jerky sticks, and some good old head cheese (I won't get in to too many details, but it's the nasty bits, and it's good!). Sometimes it's just better to eat and not think about it. Everything is made in house and was completely fantastic. You can also see the salad I ordered to start the night off - a perfectly fresh cucumber salad with fresh herbs and vinegar.

Our waitress actually brought out the above - wood roasted oysters because we had to wait a few minutes to be seated. The oysters were amazing, I was told (I'm allergic to shellfish), and the aroma alone made me glad we stuck it out a few extra minutes.

Next we'll get into my entree, which was a braised Ham Hock with a Cajun gremolata, lima beans and rice. It was utterly and completely to die for. Simply breathing in the vicinity of this perfect portion of pork would have shed the meat right off the bone. It was perfectly salty, smokey and all together rich. The beans and rice soaked up all the hearty braising jus, and it was totally outrageous - the perfect meal for a fisherman fresh off the saltwater; tired from pulling in the red beasts swimming in the shallows just beyond the Louisiana coastline.

I've also attached my brother, Pat's entree, which was the Louisiana Cochon - it was quite good, perfectly meaty, with a well seasoned yet sensual taste of pork. The cracklins that were served with were amazing.

If you find yourself in New Orleans anytime soon, I highly recommend you check it out. It's not in a touristy location and there is no Bourbon Street commotion to detract you from the great Cajun cuisine that they serve up. All you have to do is pour a nice cold Abita Bitter Beer and enjoy the warm aromas until you food arrives.

Happy Eating,


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