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.

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.

King cake milkshake at Frey Smoked Meat Co. in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

The kid was staring at me, and I didn’t blame him. He was having lunch with his parents at the next table over and he was fixated on the king cake milkshake that I was eating all by myself.

Oysters line the stand-up oyster bar at Mr. Ed's in Metairie.
Ian McNulty

This is an ode to the oyster bar, and not just any oyster bar. Today I raise a toast to the stand-up oyster bar. 

King cake goes black and gold at Hi Do Bakery, a Terrytown bake shop just outside New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

What happens when purple, green and gold morphs with black and gold? New Orleans is now getting a long overdue refresher course on the phenomenon and one of the ways it shows up is king cake.

Creole gumbo from Cafe Dauphine in New Orleans. Gumbo in its many varities satisfies more than just a hunger in Louisiana.
Ian McNulty

The arctic blast that visited New Orleans this week set teeth chattering and tongues waging, with some cursing the very weather. Sure, those accustomed to colder climates may scoff at our complaints down here, but they don’t know what we endure in deepest summer. To freeze in winter too can feel like a betrayal by dear old Mother Nature herself. 

But here are a few thoughts to warm your heart, if not your house.

Ian McNulty

Dining trends and new concepts can be exciting, but for some New Orleans expats the food priorities are all from the past. The holiday season is their time to reconvene with familiar flavors, and that time is limited. Don't get in their way. 

For those interested in the latest from the realm of food and restaurants, these have been exciting times around New Orleans. There have been so many new eateries, new flavors and hot trends turning up, it’s been hard just to keep track of them, never mind try them all.

Photo by Ian McNulty

There's an old adage that New Orleans food doesn't travel well. But it will take a lot more than an adage to keep people from trying, especially during the holidays.

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