The owners of Cochon, Chef Donald Link and Chef Stephen Stryjewski, have opened a new "swine bar" in New Orleans on Andrew Higgins St. It is an upscale boucherie called simply "Butcher." I was like a kid in a candy store drooling over the pretty foods in the display cases. Wonderful Cajun and Creole delicacies like their in-house made Andouille, Boudin, Tasso, as well as international favorites like Soprasetta and Genoa salamis.
I could barely contain my excitement enough to soak-in all the sights and smells in the trendy, bistro-like cafe. Such items like Duck Pastrami, Head Cheese, and Stuffed Chickens were some of the other foods that were also available. I took home the awesome soprasetta, homemade andouille, and the aforementioned head cheese. All were awesome. Surprisingly, the andouille was nearly the size of a Coke can. It was my first encounter with head cheese. I took some back to the ship to Chef Jorg Schneider, who said it was the closest he'd had to that made in his homeland of Germany.
I believe, though the most unusual item was something I had only dreamed about, something that I thought would only exist in some mystical, wonderful, fairy-tale land, and what is this food that gives me cold chills, and turns my knees to custard at the same time??? Ready??? BACON PRALINES. Yes, you heard me. Lovely brown sugar carmelized with cream, butter, and pecans. Then, the magic happens. Huge chunks of cooked, smokey, bacon. Not flavored bacon bits, but respectable chunks of fried, savory bacon. It was poured into a 3/4 inch thick slab, which the counter person would break off to sell. I broke my low-carb diet for the day to have this bacon-y treat. I highly recommend it.
I also got to meet Chef Link. To me it's like meeting a celebrity or sports star. Link (on left) and his partner Stryjewski (on right) are two of the top super chefs in town. Their Cochon Restaurant is remarkable and is in MY top 3 in town. Link was very friendly and must be working very hard to keep all his businesses on top. Be sure to check out Cochon and Butcher while in New Orleans. They are near the Convention Center on Andrew Higgins near NOLA Grocery, one of my other favorites. Cochon is on the corner at Tchopotulous, Butcher is directly behind it.