I was truly overwhelmed by New Orleans—by the people, the energy and, of course, the food. It would take 4 lifetimes to experience everything this gastronomic center has to offer. This was especially evident when I asked fellow food extraordinaire and former New Orleans resident The Vicarious Food Whore for a couple dining recommendations. She responded with a list of a dozen places that all sounded magnificent, but couldn’t possibly all be reached in the 24 hours I had in the city. So I was forced to pick and choose, something I’m not a fan of doing. Because I want IT ALL.

TVFW seemed particularly emphatic about Cochon, a Cajun bistro on an unpronounceable street in the Warehouse District. I’ll be clear on this up front, this is not the most vegetarian-friendly place. It’s not like they’ll be egged upon entry, but meat is the truly star of the show here. Without even planning it, I ended up with an almost entirely pork-ified meal.

A peek at the cocktail menu gave me goosebumps, and I zeroed in on a drink appropriately named The Swinekiller. Gin, rhubarb, limeade. Dear Lord, it was goooooood.

And then the free food came out. Hogs headcheese, spicy whole grain mustard and pickled banana peppers. Yes, I did say FREE, simply because I was sitting at the chef’s counter overlooking the kitchen. Hint, HINT.

Pork serving #3 came in the form of pork and black bean gumbo, which was absolutely phenomenal. It was smoky and spicy. The intense flavors were a welcomed smack in the face, and I wanted to go back for more abuse.

The grand pork finale was braised pork cheek with sauerkraut potato cakes, goat feta and pears. The richness of the tender cheek was cut by the sourness of the sauerkraut and tangy goat feta. It was truly a perfect dish and was the final nail in my food coma coffin. I was now at peace.

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