A must-visit for all sandwich lovers passing through New Orleans, Cochon Butcher is Cajun chef Donald Link's artisanal butcher shop/sandwich joint/wine bar, located right next door to the more upscale Cochon. It's a meat lover's dream: Cured hams hang from the rafters, and refrigerator cases are filled with silky terrines and pâtés, as well as—true to the restaurant's name—an entire roasted suckling pig.
During my visit, I sampled the extraordinary Muffuletta—Cochon's hot version of the cold sandwich famously served up at French Quarter mainstay Central Grocery—as well as the Pork Belly ($10), an exemplary take on this oh-so-trendy ingredient. The meat is rubbed generously with whole spices and is crispy on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside, as pork belly should be. The white toast it's served on gets a smear of chili-lime aioli, and it's topped with a pile of cool, refreshing cucumber mint salad.
"It tastes like a porky mojito!" my dining companion exclaimed; I couldn't agree more.
About the author: Lauren Rothman is a Serious Eats intern, a freelance catering chef, and an obsessive chronicler of all things culinary. Try the original recipes on her blog, For the Love of Food, and follow her on Twitter @Lochina186.