Eating in Louisiana can be, well, an experience. Last fall, when Julia and I first drove into Louisiana we stopped at a terrifying little truck stop just outside Shreveport. It was as if we walked onto the set of a Tarantino movie that was about to turn ugly. It was tiny and grimy, and every single person in there stared at us as if we came from another planet. Not the most comforting experience for two girls, new to the region. Our obese and slightly bearded waitress seemed as scared of us as we were of her. The greasy, mottled menu didn't exactly inspire confidence either. But there was no backing out now. Just to be on the safe side, we ordered the traditional red beans and rice, and I don't think we could have made a better choice. It was delicious. Of course, I am a fan of all things bean, but this was exceptional. And as we expressed our enthusiasm, our waitress overcame her shyness and showed us a glimpse of the famous Southern friendliness. As we continued on our trip, we had more deep fried truck stop food than we care to remember. A Southern diet is not recommended if you'd like to live past 60. But fried foods aside, Cajun cuisine is very comforting, and some of their dishes have stuck with me long after I returned. Luckily, I got to return to Louisiana a few weeks ago, prepared with a long list of places-to-be when it comes to Cajun food. On of the best spots in New Orleans is most definitely Cochon. This heavily pork-inspired restaurant serves all the Cajun classics. One of their own concoctions is the Fried Oyster and Bacon Sandwich. It combines all of Louisiana's favorite foodstuffs: oysters, pork, and all things fried. If served anywhere else, it might have made me throw up, but Cochon uses fresh oysters and meat cured in their own butcher shop - this makes for a very fancy heart attack. It certainly made it's way into my top ten of favorite sandwiches ever.
Want to make Cajun food at home? I got Cochon's cookbook and it does not disappoint. I made a mean jambalaya and an evil chocolate-condensed milk-coconut-pecan-birthday-cake from it and scored major points on both accounts.