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

We live in a city famous for its food. Just ask people from other places.

They’ll tell you all about gumbo and beignets and the latest restaurant to be on a food TV reality show.

But what gives that reputation any legs? What keeps the food scene vital? What makes it worthwhile for us as New Orleanians and not just a pitch for tourist dollars?

Old cookbooks filled with recipes and stories fill a table at the Kitchen Witch store in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

When it comes to Christmas gift giving, a cookbook is often an easy call. The subjects are palatable, and usually noncontroversial. Getting a cookbook, or even giving one, at least conjures the fantasy of having enough time to actually use it.

But how to pick one from the blizzard of releases that fill the stores? My own answer, evolved over time, is to start by looking in my own kitchen cabinet.

Ian McNulty

One reason I love pursuing New Orleans food is that you never can tell where you’ll find the next experience to turn your head, upend your expectations and get you talking about it to your friends. Well friends, I’m here to tell you about the latest such place for me.

PeeWee CrabCakes on the Go makes crabcakes to go. There’s truth in advertising for you.

Deutsches Haus has a long history in New Orleans and a new home on Bayou St. John.
Ian McNulty

Beer is flowing from the taps, bratwurst is cooking in the kitchen and Deutsches Haus is back in a permanent home again, this time on Bayou St. John.

The questions started rolling in a few weeks ago, all seeking the same annual advice. Hey, you’re a food writer, what restaurant should I pick for Thanksgiving dinner?

My response: it should be a restaurant you know well and, ideally, where they know you too.

Seasonal produce at the Crescent City Farmers Market in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

I know you heard it. It was the simultaneous sound of air conditioners being snapped off for the first time in months, and the sigh of relief that involuntarily follows. 

It’s a sound New Orleans waits for all through the long, hot, spirit-testing summer here. It’s a harbinger of the fall, and other sounds help tell the tale, including some that speak directly to New Orleans appetites.            

Halloween is one New Orleans' favorite holidays.
Ian McNulty

I’ll never forget my first Halloween in New Orleans, because it was filled with shame.

When the Saints are playing, New Orleans is eating.
Ian McNulty

We all know that the way a Saints game ends can affect the tone of New Orleans life. Turns out the start of the game can have an impact too, and we’re seeing play out on the plate.

Ian McNulty

With fall in the air, the New Orleans tourism season is revving up after its long summer lull. It’s the happy time for the hospitality sector here.

It's also a good time to acknowledge that while the tourists bring their wallets, they also carry double-edged swords. Simply put: the more New Orleans restaurants rely on them, the less these restaurants need New Orleans people.

Fried chicken from McHardy's Chicken & Fixin' in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

Sometimes a good festival can put a focus on just why we get so fired up about certain foods.

This weekend, fried chicken gets its turn, as the Fried Chicken Festival returns to Woldenberg Park along the French Quarter riverfront. 

This event is a gathering of the tribes of fried chicken lovers, and they are many.