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Food Porn Friday: Buongiorno, y'all!

The muffaletta at Cochon Butcher

When I speak lovingly of New Orleans food with my yankee friends, they're mostly keen to hear about gumbo and crawfish, huge gulf shrimp, oysters, jambalaya, and all of the Cajun and Creole fair unique to our beloved corner of the country.  What they're surprised to realize on their first visit here, however -- and something I'm always eager to point out -- is that the same restaurants where you'll find the best dressed seafood po-boys and fried crab claws are just as likely to also feature spaghetti with meatballs and lasagna on their menus.

The Crescent City, we all know, has a rich and delicious Italian heritage.  And there's a  good reason that many of us speak with an accent that's more Brooklyn or Boston than Atlanta or Austin: the same immigrants escaping the poorer areas of southern Italy like Naples or Sicily arrived at the port of New Orleans in numbers similar, and often greater than, more famous ports of entry in the Northeast.

Naturally, this is most evident on our plates.  When it comes to the "Eye-talian" food of the Big Easy, my favorite (and I'm certainly not alone here) is the classic muffaletta.  Not long ago, I discovered, with not a small bit of skepticism, that Cochon Butcher offers a muffy that I'd put on par with the Central Grocery.  Big words, I know, but I stand by them.  I mean, seriously...just look at this thing!  It's the stuff dreams are made of.

And what about you?  When you're craving the red sauce where's your favorite place in town to feed your face?


Native New Orleans food writer Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, has written for Gourmet, The New Orleans Advocate, Gambit, ThrillistEdible Brooklyn, Tasting Table, The Faster Times, and other publications. His Food Porn Friday column for NolaVie offers a weekly mouth-watering photo essay designed to start culinary conversations in the Big Easy. Find him on Twitter @scottgold.