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.

 

Subscribe to Where Y'Eat as a podcast:

1. Open Itunes

2. Go to the File Menu, click on Subscribe to Podcast…

3. Enter this URL: itpc://wwno.org/podcasts/6095/rss.xml

And that’s it! New episodes download automatically.

Ways to Connect

Photo by Ian McNulty - The gumbo at Dunbar's Creole Cuisine is loaded with meat and seafood.
Ian McNulty

No two bowls of gumbo should be exactly the same. Heck, even when they’re served from the same pot the precise mixture of seafood and meat and seasoning may differ from bowl to bowl, based on the luck of the ladle.  This is certainly the case with Creole gumbo, a down-home style sometimes described as kitchen sink.

And yet, even for the endless gumbo variations out there, sometimes an overarching house style for a particular gumbo can speak to you in a voice you may recognize even years after your last taste. 

That’s just how food memories are wired, and that was my experience recently over a bowl of gumbo at Dunbar's Creole Cuisine. 

Antoine's Restaurant in the French Quarter threw a party for its longest-serving waiter, marking his 50th anniversary.
Ian McNulty

We live in an era full of celebrity chefs that you probably have never heard of. Just think about that for second - people can be celebrities now and you’ve never even heard their names. 

The title is the usually bestowed because a TV producer somewhere said so, and thus is born the next celebrity chef. New Orleans has produced its share. It's nice to see local talent in the national spotlight, but there’s a different category of acclaim in the New Orleans dining world that runs a little deeper in our own particular culture, and it’s one filled by the career waiter. 

Marjory Collins

Even before you start picking at the turkey or swilling the early afternoon Beaujolais, you might be feeling a bit full of Thanksgiving. It’s the run up, which we are now in the midst of. As the calendar ticks down to Turkey day, we’re being stuffed with advice, product promos and tips to "master" the feast and host the "ultimate" holiday meal. How will yours compare? 

The Buffalo shrimp po-boy from Avery's on Tulane.
Ian McNulty

If you love po-boys, you already know how you like them. It’s sloppy roast beef or crispy shrimp, thin-sliced ham or fat fried oysters. I bet you even have a precise combination for how you like it dressed.

Just listen to some po-boy pros when they order at the counter. In their confident cadence and specifics, they can sound like surgeons gloved up for an operation. “Hot sausage. Dressed. No lettuce.” 

When the Saints are playing, New Orleans is eating.
Ian McNulty

For players and coaches, a football game starts long before kickoff. The same holds true for the food-minded Saints fan. For such fans, it starts with choosing what to cook and devoting the hands-on work to ensure a victorious feast.

It's really no wonder. Take the enthusiasm of the Who Dat Nation, add south Louisiana's endemic passion for food and the results are predictably over the top.

It’s one of our greatest food holidays, never mind that there's rarely ever any cooking involved. It’s Halloween. So what if most of the food that makes this holiday tick is store-bought candy, dispensed one little bit at a time from your front steps?

Pumpkin gelato is a highly specific flavor of the season at Angelo Brocato's Ice Cream in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

You can't really count on the calendar to tell you when seasons change in New Orleans. Balmy and temperate one day, you know we can still plunge right back into humidity the next. You’ve got to be on your guard. But there are other cues that let us know where we stand.

Ian McNulty

We don’t hear much about German heritage in New Orleans, until October that is, when it comes at us with all the oomph of an oompah band. Suddenly you’re showing your nephew how to do the chicken dance, you’re dissecting the differences between bratwurst and weisswurst on your sausage platter and you’re proclaiming “prost!” as the foam drops another inch down your stein.  

The patio at Treo on Tulane Avenue in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

In deepest summer, there is a certain mindset in New Orleans that regards the outdoors as enemy territory. Maybe you’ve succumbed to it once or twice yourself.

When this mindset sinks in, the outdoors is something to be monitored and cordoned. You dash from door to door at your own risk, and air conditioning on an outing for dinner or drinks is as necessary as air tanks for a deep sea dive. When true fall arrives, of course, all is forgiven and an outdoor perch is the place to be.

Red snapper from Maypop (top) and char-grilled pork steak with herbs from Marjie's Grill, two innovative new restaurants in New Orleans.
Ian McNulty

Brace yourself, I'm about to use the F word. That would be “fusion.”

Alright, maybe that's not such a big deal to you, but in certain restaurant circles fusion is one provocative term. It brings food memory flash backs to the days of sesame crusted everything, of the indiscriminate use of plum sauce and of milky green wasabi mashed potatoes.

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