dining

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 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.

The bar at Tujague's Restaurant, a New Orleans restaurant marking its 160th anniversary.
Ian McNulty

Give any restaurant enough time and an institutional history will accrue. Give it as much time as Tujague's has on the clock, and it can develop its own lore and legends and even some dichotomies that might seem like contradictions but end up defining the place.

The longtime deli FredRick's is now Bienvenue Bar & Grill.
Ian McNulty

Around downtown New Orleans, a small circuit of old fashioned diners and delis give their own particular read at the food life of New Orleans, set to the reliable rhythms of red bean Mondays and fried seafood Fridays.

Szechuan pepper shrimp at Nine Roses in Gretna, La.
Ian McNulty

A circuit of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants in New Orleans serve their own renditions of a distinctive, twice-fried style of seafood that makes a refreshing change of pace from the local standard. 

It goes by different names too --  salt baked seafood, salt and pepper seafood, Szechuan pepper seafood or rang muoi.

Off bottom cultivation is bringing a different flavor to Gulf oysters.
Ian McNulty

Oysters make people happy. That’s a simple truth that resonates deep, and goes beyond satisfying an appetite or even a craving. It’s something as visceral as the raw oyster itself, bursting with the essence of the tides. It can instill a sense of well being bordering on euphoria.

In New Orleans today there are many more ways to chase this bliss. As the number of eateries serving oysters has increased, so have the variety of oyster bar types in which to partake, depending on your style, your mood or your budget.

Ian McNulty

All around New Orleans, the sounds of the season signal cooler weather ahead. Some of these speak directly to our appetites too.

If you heard a sharp snap one recent morning, it might've been the sound of New Orleanians collectively switching off their air-conditioners at the start of a dramatically cooler day.

Ian McNulty

Of all the facets of local life that have been up for re-evaluation lately, the New Orleans neighborhood restaurant might seem an unlikely candidate for change.

You know the places I’m talking about. They’re long on tradition, beloved and generally successful, sharing a common approach that New Orleans knows by heart. Why would anyone mess with that?

Ian McNulty

Food writer Ian McNulty on a surpiring new restaurant in New Orleans that's giving the notion of fusion a good name.

Ian McNulty

Conjure an image of elegant decay, New Orleans style, and what comes to mind might look a lot like Feelings Café.

This is a restaurant found in the vestiges of a plantation established in the 1700s, and it retains the feel of a French country house even in the midst of its increasingly busy Marigny neighborhood. Framed in faded masonry, splashed with green fronds and steeped in a 40-watt glow, Feelings Café has been prized as much for this evocative ambiance as for its French and Creole cooking.

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