Ian McNulty

Producer

Ian is the host of Where Y’Eat and the Community Impact series at WWNO.

Each week, Ian shares his commentary on the intriguing food culture of New Orleans and south Louisiana with WWNO’s Where Y’Eat. He also shines light on the difference that innovative nonprofits are making across the New Orleans region through WWNO’s Community Impact series, interviewing nonprofit leaders and the people they serve.  Ian first became a WWNO contributor in 2009. He is a freelance journalist and a published author. A native of Rhode Island, Ian is a graduate of Rutgers University. He has lived in New Orleans since 1999.

Bingsu, a traditional shaved ice dessert at Little Korea BBQ in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

Back in the early days for Angelo Brocato Ice Cream, back when it started in the French Quarter more than a century ago, it was common for customers to queue up on hot summer mornings toting their own pitchers.

Watermelnon is a symbol of the summer season and relief from it, all under one rind.
Ian McNulty

A nice thick cut of watermelon is a symbol of summer and relief from it, all under one rind. Picture a bowl of watermelon glistening at the end of a picnic buffet or whole melons stacked along a roadside vendor’s dented tailgate, all green like gators and nearly as big. Conjure an image of kids spitting seeds into shaggy summer grass or of paper towels blushing pink with juice. Think about your first bite into the tip of a triangle of watermelon after you’ve worked up a thirst. It’s the look, smell and taste of simple summer pleasure.

There may be no way to improve on it. But that doesn't mean it isn’t fun to try, and this summer New Orleans has presented an abundant melon patch of examples.

Honduran style ceviche from the Pupusa Lady, a stand at the New Orleans food court Roux Carre.
Ian McNulty

At some point, New Orleans gets so damn hot you’re ready to let someone else do the cooking. Lately one of my top candidates for that job has been citrus.

That’s the alchemy of ceviche, the way citric acid from lime and other fruit transforms raw seafood without going anywhere near the stove. The texture tightens, its surface whitens and the result is a bracingly bright, utterly light seafood dish that feels so in synch with the season.

Vessel is a new restaurant in an old New Orleans church.
Ian McNulty

It seems like any building with enough room for a kitchen hood and a few tables is liable to be drafted into the growing ranks of eateries in New Orleans these days, nevermind its original purpose or design. In Mid-City, however, one of the dining scene’s newest additions has taken up residence in what has long been a distinguished New Orleans hybrid.

Vessel opened recently in the old church on Iberville Street that for nearly 30 years was home to Christian's Restaurant, and which later had a stint as the restaurant Redemption.

Bao, or Chinese steamed buns, anchor the menu of traditional dishes at Bao & Noodle in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

The meal started with a sticky cluster of peanuts spiked with chiles that temporarily numbed the tongue. There was a salad that had the crunch of fresh-cut slaw and brought a bona fide caffeinated buzz from bits of fermented tea leaves strewn throughout.

The New Orleans coffee house Rue de la Course once had nine locations around the city and a loyal, widespread fan base.
Ian McNulty

Do you remember your first beer? How about your first sip of wine? I don't. The first brush with those pleasures must've happened casually, something introduced with a taste here or there.

But, the first taste of New Orleans coffee? For me, that stands out very clearly.

A spread of traditional Vietnamese dishes at the original Pho Tau Bay, which has now relocated to Tulane Avenue in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

Vietnamese banh mi is now bar food, spring rolls are a festival snack and many neighborhoods across the city have not just their own outpost for pho but competing options. It’s never been easier to find Vietnamese food in New Orleans.

And yet, for the past year plus, I heard audible yearning for the return of one particular Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Tau Bay.

The Pontchartrain Hotel is a St. Charles Avenue landmark that recently reopened in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

In New Orleans these days, some restaurants aren't just up against all the other eateries in town. Some revived historic restaurants are also up against idealized memories of themselves that live on in the city's long memory.

Roux Carre, a new food court from a local nonprofit in Central City.
Ian McNulty

Roux Carre is a new food court in Central City, conceived and managed by the nonprofit Good Work Network as a project to help more women and minorities stake a claim in the growing New Orleans restaurant sector.

"The bomb," a sepecialty po-boy at Guy's Po-Boys in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

Guy’s Po-boys was closed for months earlier this year after a vehicle plowed through its front door late one night. Guy’s is back open now, but a group of fellow po-boy purveyors decided to hold a fundraiser to support its proprietor after losing out on so much business during the repairs. It will be a street party with a purpose, powered by po-boys.

See details below:

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