by Scott Gold
Swine-lovers might have to wait until March 29th to get their pig on at Hogs for the Cause, but those looking for a taste of Cajun country in advance of the event are in luck. Toby Rodriguez, the nationally-recognized Cajun cooking enthusiast, is bringing a one night-only menu of elevated Acadian dishes to Three Muses this coming Tuesday, March 25th.
While not a classically-trained chef (he works by day as an artist and furniture-maker), Rodriguez has appeared in a number of media as a proponent of traditional Cajun cooking. Most notably were recent guest spots on "Top Chef: New Orleans," as well as a lengthy segment on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations," in which he invited the celebrity chef to participate in a traditional Cajun boucherie.
Rodgriguez grew up in Poche Bridge, "a little area near Breaux Bridge. I grew up on a farm with pigs, sheep, chickens, and a little bit of cattle," he said. "I've done some Cajun pop-up events all over the country — in Brooklyn, in Homer, Alaska, in Montpelier, Vermont, and I've taught at a few cooking schools as well recently. But I'm really looking forward to coming to New Orleans. It's such a culinary mecca of Louisiana. The city is often confused with being Cajun, but it's not, really. So I'm really looking forward to bringing in some more traditional Cajun flavors."
Tuesday's menu at Three Muses will consist of five dishes ranging between $6 and $12. A first glance at the menu seems more than a little appetizing. Guests can look forward to everything from "Garlic stuffed duck leg, fried in a cornmeal, flour and cracklin' wet batter, drizzled with cane syrup" to "raw oysters stuffed with a horseradish duck pate, encrusted in a fried saltine cracker batter and topped with a dash of hot sauce."
Also on the menu will be a grilled blood boudin with Camembert cheese and fresh jalapeño, a beef tongue confit stuffed with garlic and chow chow stacked on top of buffalo mozzarella and and heirloom tomato, and a "Cracklin couche couche in evaporated milk, topped with fig preserves and garnished with hog cracklin'."
Said Rodriguez, "It's taking some very traditional dishes that I grew up with, and trying to elevate them a bit. The duck leg is a version of the fried chicken that I grew up with as a kid, but taking it to a whole new level. It's fried in half peanut oil and half hog lard. Things are always better with lard. I love the divine swine. So combining the two was a no-brainer."
Bayou Teche Brewing will offer two of their beers to pair with the menu, the LA31 Acadie and the LA31 LA31 Bière Noire. Entertainment will also be on hand, courtesy of Grammy-nominated musician Louis Michot (of Lost Bayou Ramblers), who will be performing with the Vermillionaires.
The event will take place at The Three Muses (536 Frenchmen St.), and will begin at 7:00 p.m. Reservations are not required, and will not be taken.