Where Y'Eat

New Orleans writer Ian McNulty hosts Where Y'Eat, a weekly exploration and celebration of food culture in the Crescent City and south Louisiana.

Ian gives listeners the low-down on the hottest new restaurants, old local favorites, and hidden hole-in-the-wall joints alike, and he profiles the new trends, the cherished traditions, and the people and personalities keeping America's most distinctive food scene cooking.

 

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Ian McNulty

Go big or go home? In the French Quarter these days I’ve been thinking precisely the opposite, and feeling right at home at a clutch of spots that run small to tiny.

These are little bars and cafes and restaurants - and the sweet spot somewhere between bar and restaurant. And they’ve been some of my very favorite places lately.

By Ken Hawkins via Wikimedia Commons

We know people are prone to flock to the newest restaurant to open up. In New Orleans, we also know people tend to pack an old favorite that's closing down. They want one last visit.

It can be memorable. It can be profitable for a business on the way out. And I wonder why sometimes people never get a chance to do it. Recent experience around New Orleans shows this phase of a restaurant’s life needs more attention.

Ian McNulty

The tomato sandwich is a summertime classic you can make in seconds, eat almost as fast and argue about forever.

Dr. John performs at the Link Stryjewski Foundation's Bal Masque in New Orleans in 2017.
Ian McNulty

It’s starting to sink in. The back-to-back deaths of Leah Chase and Dr. John feels like waking up to find that a pair of mountain peaks have vanished from the range of New Orleans culture.

The question now is whether New Orleans can still produce the legends it minted a generation ago. That is the gauntlet these greats lay at our feet.

Chef Leah Chase was an icon of New Orleans food and an inspiration for her city.
WWNO File

The idea that food brings people together is now one of the cornerstones of food culture. It’s the access point for finding common ground. This was not always agreed upon as a good thing.

A sign for coffee at Louisiana Products, a tiny deli in downtown New Orleans that closed in 2018.
Ian McNulty


Think about the restaurants that make you happiest. They might not necessarily be the biggest places with the most acclaim. But I bet they’re places steeped in the pleasure of great cooking and the fellowship of people who share it. I bet some of them are hole in the wall joints.

An assortment of boudin from Bourree at Bourcherie, a New Orleans butcher shop for the Cajun classic.
Ian McNulty

Some essential ingredients for a road trip: good tunes, to peel back the miles; a phone charger, of course; and, if this road trip is in south Louisiana, a good old fashioned ice chest, for souvenirs of the edible variety.

A drive around these parts will not bring you sweeping views of mountains and valleys. But it will bring you close to wonders of the Louisiana food world, namely boudin, the rice and pork sausage link that can be a snack on the way or the whole purpose of the trip.

Ian McNulty

Crawfish fanatics put more than just spice in their boils. They put time, effort, attention and maybe even personality and pride. It’s no surprise then that once they find a signature approach they’re bound to stick to it, and defend it.

But as a crawfish lover, as someone who is always hovering over the boiling pot and ready to wedge into a crawfish table, I’m fascinated by different techniques that give different results.



McNulty family photo

As another Mother’s Day rolls around, we hear a lot about restaurant brunches and special menus, like it’s some big combination of Easter and New Year’s Eve. Mother’s Day is indeed just that big for restaurants.

But when I think about Mother’s Day the food I think about is quite different. I think about frozen food, specifically the stuff that was home cooked by my own mother on the weekends and stashed away to get us through the week.

Ian McNulty

The food at Jazz Fest doesn’t change very often, and that means favorite vendors and dishes have become cherished parts of the event.  

But lately I’ve been experimenting. What would happen if I combined different Jazz Fest dishes from various food vendors? Eventually, I came up with a few Jazz Fest mash ups .

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