Cochon Butcher - New Orleans
If you read The Lonely Planet guidebook for New Orleans, it will suggest that you add Cochon Butcher to your itinerary. It is not wrong.
This deli counter and sandwich shop in the middle of an industrial district is attached to Cochon, one of Donald Link's places. If you don't know who Donald Link is, perhaps you've heard of his restaurants Herbsaint and Peche, both of which won several prestigious awards I won't begin to list here. Or maybe you've seen the guy eating crawfish with Anthony Bourdain in New Orleans on his CNN show.
But the real reason I would second Lonely Planet's recommendation to visit Cochon Butcher is the fact that this deli is a bonafide charcuterie. It makes all the meats it sticks into the sandwiches.
As the name would suggest, most everything is pig-based. The kitchen even makes a sandwich called Le Pig Mac, which looks exactly like a Big Mac--two patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese on a sesame seed bun--except made with pork, and supposedly way better.
I didn't try the Le Pig Mac, but I mention it because it shows Link's sense of humor. There's also this: he's got a big Star Wars fetish. As soon as you walk in, there's a life-sized Chewbacca wearing sunglasses. A 3D model of The Death Star appears to have crashed into one of the walls. And in the men's restroom, there's Chewbacca again on the wallpaper, watching you pee.
The most popular thing to order here is probably the muffaletta--the quintessential sandwich of this area after the po' boy.
And it was a behemoth--packed with layers upon layers of salame, ham, bacon and a few other porcine-based products I could not begin to identify. All of this was tucked between a gigantic dome of a sesame-seeded crusty loaf of a bun that crackled just slightly when I bit into it. And slathered between it and the melted cheese was just enough olive spread to counteract the pork. One order was big enough for the two of us. The kitchen knew it since it's cut into quarters.
Apart from being the first muffaleta I've eaten in New Orleans, it was the best pork sandwich I've ever had. And if it could speak, I imagine it would say "May the Pork be with you!"
930 Tchoupitoulas St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
P.S. This post is the second of three that chronicles the best food we had during a recent trip to New Orleans. Stay tuned for a post on the best meal we had in The Big Easy!
THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
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