Zdenek Kastanek (center) with fellow 28 Hong Kong Street employees after being awarded "Best International Bar Team" at the 2015 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.
Tales of the Cocktail / Facebook

On this week's Louisiana Eats!, we examine the lives of five different individuals who have taken long, adventurous journeys, both personally and physically, to reach maturity and a clear sense of purpose.

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.

Peter Ricchiuti.
Alison Moon / It's New Orleans

Wherever you go in the world you find human beings have two things in common. We all like to eat. And we all like to incorporate into our living spaces non functional objects we call art.

In many countries we’ve institutionalized these traits. We dine in restaurants and we hang art in galleries. In New Orleans, as usual, we’ve gone our own way. We’ve turned dining into an art form. And our artists are increasingly hanging their works in their own spaces.

Peter's guests on Out to Lunch today represent both strands of this movement.

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, began the evening of December 6 and ends the evening of December 14.
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

On this week's show, we celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of lights, a time when families gather to light the menorah, exchange gifts and feast on traditional foods.

First, we share stories with Rabbi Ed Cohn of Temple Sinai, the spiritual leader of the largest synagogue in Louisiana. Rabbi Cohn tell us about his tenure at Temple Sinai and his favorite Hanukkah food memories.

The chicken parmesan po-boy at Sam's Po-Boys in Old Jefferson
Ian McNulty

Picture a po-boy filled with chicken fried steak, or another holding a clutch of New Orleans-style hot tamales, just gushing grease. Conjure the prospect of a chicken parmesan po-boy under a thick cap of chunky meat sauce. And how about a po-boy filled with sliced wieners all soaked with pepper gravy, or yet another encasing slices of hog headcheese fashioned in the form of gumbo?

Where to get such creations? A boundary-pushing pop-up, a modern food truck on the make?

Chris Jay, bartender Aulden Morgan and Poppy Tooker sample the Carolina Reaper-infused vodka at Zocolo Neighborhood Eatery in Shreveport.
Joe Shriner

It's the holiday season in Louisiana—a time to eat, drink and be merry!

On this week's Louisiana Eats! we're getting ready for the season by planning the ultimate holiday cocktail party. Master mixologist Adam Seger tells us about his craft of pairing cocktails with art and culinary innovations. We also get a chance to taste his newest creation Balsam Amaro — a versatile vermouth unlike any you've ever had.

Wind-power trees, part of many installations at COP21 in Paris.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

In Paris, international climate change negotiations continue. Drafts of the negotiating text are circulating, as the delegates meet in working groups behind closed doors. Meanwhile governments and agencies are releasing new reports and studies to highlight the serious impact of climate change. That includes new information on how climate change affects basic human survival through food production.

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

In its natural habitat of shopping malls and concourses, the food court is set up for convenience and speed, offering a spread of ready options.

Transport the idea of a food court to a particular New Orleans neighborhood in the midst of change, however, and put a nonprofit business development group in charge, and you have something different. In the case of Roux Carre, it’s a food court designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs take a step up in the burgeoning business of New Orleans dining.

Joyce N. Boghosian / The White House

Leah Chase: say the name and New Orleanians know exactly who you’re talking about. She’s a great chef, a civil rights activist, and an avid art collector. And it’s not a stretch to say that – to some people – she’s the maternal figure of the city. On this edition of Nola Life Stories, Leah Chase, in her own words.  

This interview was conducted by Mark Cave for the Historic New Orleans Collection.

We've got a veritable cornucopia of Thanksgiving stories to share on this week's Louisiana Eats!
vxla / Flickr

This week on Louisiana Eats!, we gather around the table to delve into Thanksgiving traditions old and new. We hear about an unlikely culinary partnership between cookbook author Brandon Schultz and his cat, Lucy Schultz-Osenlund, who collaborated on a cookbook called Cooking for Two: Your Cat & You, a collection of recipes that will appeal to both man and man's best feline friend. Brandon tells us how he and Lucy celebrate something we're calling Catsgiving.