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

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 .

Ian McNulty

People in southeast Louisiana know how to fest. A full dance card of homegrown festivals gives us plenty of practice, and mastering the logistics of good times outdoors with a crowd of fellow revelers is a point of local pride.

At Jazz Fest, all this plays out on a huge stage. When it comes to the food at Jazz Fest, some particular pragmatics and etiquette help keep the wheels turning.

Crawfish is more than a meal in Louisiana. It's a way of life.
Ian McNulty

You can love crawfish, you can be obsessed with them, you can post your social media pictures of all their red shell glory until your phone dies.

But I have a firm conviction that no one ever really gets crawfish until they soak in the full experience of the do-it-yourself backyard crawfish boil.

The Lenten fish fry is a sign of the season in south Louisiana that brings more than flavor to the table.
Ian McNulty

In Louisiana we have the food seasons that nature gives us, the harvests so prodigious that clearly the only logical response is a feast, a fest or at least a party.

Then there are the food seasons that we make ourselves, through tradition, through custom that becomes ritual.

Ian McNulty

Red beans and rice is a dish that likes company. Yeah, we all know its roots as the Monday laundry day dish, but today red beans and rice is also social food.

It's on the stove when people come over and ladled up at parties. Think about how many times someone has offered red beans the first time you walked into their home. It feeds a crowd affordably, soothes the soul like comfort food should and lets you know where you stand: and that’s in New Orleans.

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

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.