Cochon in NOLA: Worthy of a Repeat

I arrived in New Orleans on Thursday to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC). The last time I attended this conference was three years ago when it was held in Seattle. This is my fourth trip to New Orleans and I had a few new spots to try, but the one restaurant that I was putting on repeat was Cochon. Cochon is a Cajun restaurant with a focus on fresh and local ingredients.

During a break in the IFBC, I took a leisurely lunch and headed over to Cochon. Technically, I was on vacation, so I started with a glass of rosé at the bar.  This was a 2016 Izadi Rioja Rosé from Spain. It had floral and fruit notes that I found refreshing for the humidity in New Orleans. 

I totally forgot about the homemade buns that Cochon serves, but as soon as they were placed in front of me, the sight evoked a pleasant memory. As I pulled apart the fresh soft buns, steam was released. I spread some butter on the bun, which melted quickly and they disappeared almost as quickly. Eating these really made me appreciate fresh homemade bread and how much better it is than store bought.

I ordered the chicken and andouille gumbo. As I consumed each spoonful, I was reminded that I was indeed in New Orleans. I welcomed the intense smokey flavor which I found comforting.
When I was looking at the side dishes, the twice baked stuffed potato was calling my name. The potato was reassembled with a mixture of spices, green onions, and cheese. The cracked black pepper gave it a good kick.  
I normally don’t have dessert at lunch, but again I was on vacation. I ordered the raspberry mint sorbet which was served with a cute Cochon mascot shaped cookie. I never have thought of raspberry and mint as a flavor match, but it worked and served well as a palette cleanser to end my meal. 
I was happy I made another visit to Cochon and can continue to recommend it as a place to dine when visiting New Orleans.


New Orleans: Gulf Coast Oysters

I just returned from a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. I spent a previous trip to New Orleans discovering all the great places for beignets. Not intentionally, this trip seemed to have been focused on oysters. Not shrimp or crawfish, but oysters. Louisiana produces approximately a third of the country’s oysters.

With so many restaurants on my lists and only 72 hours, I had to figure out how to make the most of it. My visit to Drago’s Seafood Restaurant was straight to the bar to have their famous charbroiled oysters.

These oysters are cooked in a mixture of butter, garlic, pepper, and oregano. After being charbroiled, they are topped with Parmesan and Romano cheese as well as chopped parsley. I liked the smokiness and the flavor, but it was a bit too rich for me. However, it was nice to have rolls to soak up the delicious juices.

As starters at Kenton’s and Peche Seafood, I enjoyed some of the raw variety. These oysters on the half shell were harvested from “Area 3”.

The oysters at Kenton’s came with a wedge of lemon and a mignonette sauce. They were medium sized, meaty, and low in salinity.

Although the oysters at Peche came from the same harvest area, I enjoyed the experience here better. The oyster shucker at Peche didn’t allow the oysters to lose its natural juices and they came out much cleaner. Peche also served the oysters with lemon and a mignonette sauce, but had an added “cocktail sauce for oysters.” Our waiter provided saltine crackers to compliment the oysters. It is common for oysters to be scooped out and eaten on top of the cracker.

My favorite oysters I ate were from Cochon. They were offering wood fired oysters cooked with chili, garlic, and butter. The creaminess and the heat made these oysters sing.

After this trip, I have a new fondness for Gulf Coast oysters!