Ian McNulty

Producer

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.

Crawfish coated with butter and garlic from Big EZ Seafood in Gretna.
Ian McNulty

It starts with spicy boiled crawfish, the pride of Louisiana, but it was born elsewhere.

Served in huge, help-yourself piles, the crawfish boil can seem engineered for social interaction.
Ian McNulty

Crawfish season is finally rolling for real, and so the food conversation turns to the endless variations on seasoning, timing, technique, process and produce that goes into the pot.

Ribs off the smoker for a backyard barbcue.
Ian McNulty

There's more barbecue around New Orleans these days. But it's not just a case of more barbecue restaurants, and that's where things get interesting. Roll up your sleeves New Orleans, it looks like our town is finally building its own barbecue culture.

Red beans and rice at Dunbar's Creole Cuisine in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

Gumbo is famous. Po-boys get plenty of press and king cake is now a seasonal sensation, splayed across social media for all the hungry world to crave.

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

Sometimes, the food seasons of New Orleans arrive in all the gaudy glory of a king cake, and sometimes they register as the roiling boil of crawfish revving up in the backyard.

A specially cultivated oyster from the waters around Grand Isle.
Ian McNulty

If we're at an oyster bar in Louisiana, we are usually not after something new, unless maybe it’s some different mojo in the cocktail sauce. But the oyster? We already know exactly what to expect. It will be a Gulf oyster – big, gregarious, generous, delicious, a bargain too and a taste we know by heart.

Arthur "Mr. Okra" Robinson was a beloved produce vendor in New Orleans. He died Feb. 15, 2018 at age 74.
Ian McNulty

When Mr. Okra died last week, it seemed to mark the end of an era. His real name was Arthur Robinson, and for decades he was a roving produce vendor, singing the praises of his inventory through the city streets. It felt like a last living link to an old tradition in New Orleans.

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

No matter what else you put into your crawfish boil, one crucial ingredient is patience. That’s what enforces the proper timing for soaking, boiling and resting the mudbugs, even when everyone is ready to eat, clutching their koozies and staring at the pot.

Even some gas stations in New Orleans get into the Mardi Gras spirit, especially those that double as fried chicken outlets.
Ian McNulty

Somewhere near the entrance to a Magnolia Discount gas station in Gert Town, a whiff from the gas pumps and a waft of just-fried chicken commingled in the air.

King cake doberge at the Bakery Bar in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

The cynical might chalk it up to the sugar buzz talking, but I believe king cake brings optimism. It barrels through indecision in favor of indulgence. It can brighten your day, even if it’s the last thing you eat at night. It’s not just a cake, it’s an emblem.

This is also why king cake has become contentious.

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