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We have been heading down to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail since 2009 and each year we have wanted to eat at Cochon. But, the ever-popular restaurant is always booked and we were never organized enough to make a reservation in advance. But, not this year! When you’re down in NOLA there is one thing you can’t deny, good old southern cooking. And, if you’re in the mood for southern comfort food with a kick of Cajun, then Cochon is a necessary stop.  Chef and Owner Stephen Stryjewski, Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation's “Best Chef South”, and Louisiana native Chef Donald Link, Winner of the 2007 James Beard Foundation's “Best Chef South”, opened Cochon in 2007, which was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation “Best New Restaurant”. Makes sense why it's hard to get a reservation!
Last year on our final night in New Orleans, we happened upon a small bistro in the French Quarter, just off of Bourbon Street, and thought it looked like a quiet, charming place to eat. After a week of over-indulging in food and drink, we were looking for something simple. We were in for a big surprise as we had stumbled upon a hidden gem. As we planned our return trip to New Orleans this year, the first thing we did after booking our flights was make a reservation for dinner at Louisiana Bistro. We decided to book it for our first night in town when we knew we would have the biggest appetite. At Louisiana Bistro, Chef Mars offers a contemporary twist on classic Creole cuisine. Featuring delicious local seafood and seasonal fruits and vegetables, this menu is as fresh as it gets in NOLA. With around only a dozen tables, the setting is intimate and exclusive - reservations are recommended and most often required to snag a seat.
The owners, Neal Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal, of Cure and Bellocq in New Orleans, opened their newest spot Cane and Table, just in time for Tales of the Cocktail. And, we are thankful they did so. Of course, it was a bit difficult to find with the nondescript entrance, especially with the line for another restaurant blocking the door- But, we found it.