Ian McNulty


Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat. 

Ian is also a staff writer for the daily newspaper the New Orleans Advocate, covering the culture, personality and trends behind the city’s famous dining scene.

He is the author of two books - “Louisiana Rambles: Exploring America’s Cajun and Creole Heartland,” a travel narrative about south Louisiana culture, and “A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina,” an account of the first months in the city after Hurricane Katrina.

He has been a contributor to WWNO since 2009.

Ian McNulty

Confession time: I’m Irish, I obsess over food and I have long envied the relationship my Italian friends have with their culinary heritage. This always comes to a boil in March, with St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day essentially running together.

Boiled seafood is a tradition in Louisiana with many of its own rituals.
Ian McNulty / WWNO

Here’s one thing about the seasons in New Orleans: they don’t heed the weather.

Muffuletta Fest

The sound of the drum line marching closer isn’t the only rumbling you hear during Carnival in New Orleans. Getting to Fat Tuesday is hungry work. You need to eat.

Sure, some designated vendors stake out the parade routes, selling funnel cake and meat on a stick. But that’s a narrow sideline to what keeps Mardi Gras fed.

Ian McNulty

Think about all those warm, fuzzy memories you have around food, those flavor associations with family and home and tradition. How often does a whiff of 87 octane from the gas pumps figure into them, with a hint of hot grease in the background?

Ian McNulty

King cake can be a symbol of home. Just ask anyone who grew up with the Carnival treat as a natural part of their own New Orleans culture.

Or maybe, ask someone making a home here, blending different cultures along the way.

Ian McNulty

Ever since the debacle in the Dome, comfort food has taken on new meaning for New Orleans. Forget chips and dip, this is food with a chip on its shoulder.

With a spectacularly sardonic Super Bowl weekend now shaping up in this town, I’m betting we’ll get a lot more of it.

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Say beignet to anyone who has visited New Orleans and you can practically watch them start reliving the trip.
But say beignet in New Orleans, to people who live here, and you’re tapping something deeper. It goes beyond taste memory, speaking to ideas of home. It turns out there’s more than just powdered sugar riding on this fried dough.

Ian McNulty

Voice activation is said to be the next big tech trend for shopping. Just announce what you want, call it out into the ether, and if you have the right device set up you just bought it.

Sounds nifty, if maybe fraught with peril for the impulse buy.

 Well here’s the way I do voice activated ordering.

Ian McNulty

What happens when purple, green and gold morphs with black and gold? New Orleans is now witnessing the phenomenon and one of the ways it shows up is king cake.

Oysters line the stand-up oyster bar at Mr. Ed's in Metairie.
Ian McNulty

This is an ode to the oyster bar, and not just any oyster bar. Today I raise a toast to the stand-up oyster bar. 

A stand-up oyster bar simply means it has no seats. But this one difference profoundly changes a beloved New Orleans food ritual, and after slurping a lot of dozens standing up at them I’ve starting to appreciate why.