High on the Hog
In a few weeks I’ll be visiting New Orleans for a conference. I haven’t been for a few years—since before Katrina—but I’ve been hearing a lot about the amazing work going on in both farmer’s market and restaurant recovery. I’m looking forward to visiting the Crescent City Farmers Market and hearing from Richard McCarthy at Market Umbrella, who is working to support local farmers and bring healthy food to New Orleans.
The hedonist in me, though, is dying to visit the much-ballyhooed Cochon. Far ahead of the recent salumi craze, Acadian-born (but San Francisco-trained) chef Donald Link established a boucherie in Cochon. (Boucherie is a Louisiana word for a community event when people come together to butcher a hog and share the spoils.) In his own Boucherie Link makes boudin, andouille and smoked bacon. He also offers suckling pig on the menu.
I have fantasies that one day I’ll host my own boucherie, but given time and space and a disapproving vegetarian husband, I probably won’t. Instead I’ll be trying to recreate the experience at some of the surprisingly many spots in the city where you can really go for, well, the whole hog.
Chinese, donuts and a whole barbecued pig—all at Wei Lee.
A couple of options: Wei Lee Chinese Food and Donuts (yes, you read that right: donuts; 700 Clement St, 415-668-6783) will make you an entire barbecued pig (between $138 and $188) if you order a day or two in advance. So will Yee’s Restaurant (1131 Grant Ave. (415) 576-1818, also starting at $138) with two days notice and the New Moon Restaurant (1247 Stockton St, 415-434-1128; $4.85/lb and three days notice). Oliveto in the East Bay offers a wildly popular whole hog menu once a year in February, as does Incanto, in June. If you’re brave enough to roast your own pig, Sebastopol chef Mark Malicki of Café Saint Rose suggests buying from Clark Summit Farms. Malicki is also available to do whole roasted hog catering.