Author: Jyl Benson

Que Rico!

From 1960 to 1979, hundreds of thousands of Cuban people fled the Communist regime of Fidel Castro and began new lives in the United States. Iderlin Carillo Rivera’s parents were among those who settled in the New Orleans area, and…

Roadside Dining: Community Fare

When the urge strikes for a trip down to the end of the road before it falls off into the water consider a stop for a meal break in Chalmette before you head off to Delacroix and the like to…

Soup Season

I am always amazed by the reaction of visitors from frigid climates such as Chicago to the misery of our own cold, damp winter weather. They are usually shocked by the way the humidity has the power to transform the…

Setting the Table

As is often the case in these parts, this year Valentine’s Day falls squarely in the midst of Carnival season. On its surface Valentine’s Day is a celebration of romance. As such, this would logically lead celebrants to the bedroom.…

Sur la menu: Allons Manger!

While the streets of New Orleans are overrun with partygoers, booze, boobs and beads, and cities all over Louisiana enjoy parades and balls of varying sizes and themes, small town Acadians celebrate the traditional day of feasting before Ash Wednesday…

Southern Comfort

I will never forget my first experience with Doe’s Eat Place. It was the spring of 2000. I worked as a regional freelancer for Time magazine, and the editorial board had assembled a group of senior editors to travel via…

Bars for Every Reason

We humans are social creatures with a natural instinct to seek out the companionship of others.  As largely insecure, but curious creatures, we are compelled to measure the quality of our lives by meeting new people face to face and…

Setting a Clean Course

  I first met Kim Sawyers in 2017 when she was applying for a grant offered by the Feed Justice Team (of which I am a member) at First Unitarian Universalist (FUU) Church. We were looking for someone with a…

Feast of Seven Fishes

A soft breeze blew in through open doors overlooking the waterfront as the Pêche restaurant family gathered to celebrate the season with a Feast of Seven Fishes, part of the Italian-American holiday celebration. Typically consumed on Christmas Eve, which is…

Holiday in Lights

With its waterfront locale and graceful plantations nearby, Natchitoches’ beauty comes as no surprise but its well-scrubbed appearance does. Old tends to look worn, yet charming. Over 300 years old generally looks ever more so despite its pedigree, but not…

Virtuous Indulgences

  With the first breath of fall I used to flee from the salads and chilled proteins I had been sustaining myself on since just after Mardi Gras. I would run to the rich gumbos, smoked and slow cooked meats…

Tacos

  Admit it. When you were a kid headed home from school and you knew it was taco night, there was a bit of extra zippity-do-dah in your step. Despite the oft-stale crunchy corn shells that were frequently disappointingly shattered…

First Breath of Fall

  With the first refreshing breaths of cooling autumn air and the turning of the leaves – to the extent that leaves actually change here – we can welcome a season for outdoor dining. After a long summer spent huffing frigid…

Sur la menu: Fill 'er up!

I’ve always had a thing for places near the Mississippi River, thrilling in the twisting drive along curvaceous River Road as it winds its way up from below New Orleans into Acadiana and beyond. I delight in the verdant, reassuring…

Best Chefs

Perhaps it is divine payback for the miseries the French Acadians endured at the hands of the British during Le Grand Dérangement when they were forced from their homes in Nova Scotia under threat to pledge allegiance to the English…

Culture Club

Tal’s Hummus and Grilled Veggies Over the course of its history the people of seven nations — Native Americans, French, Spanish, Germans, English, Italians and enslaved Africans — were the most significant contributors to Louisiana’s Creole cuisine. The foodways of…

Southern Cuisine & Fine Hospitality

In 2015, chef Jarred Zeringue and Matthew Moreland, a New Orleans attorney, purchased Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse & Restaurant (WJS), a heritage business in Laplace, Louisiana. The smokehouse had been passed down through generations of the Nolan family, producing artisan-smoked meats…

Social Hub

If all goes as planned, by 2020, the petrochemical and transportation infrastructure network will top $117 billion in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis parishes. To put that sum into perspective consider this: That’s sum is about a third…

Healing Around A Table

I was born in 1968 when my sister, Beth, was 13. She was pretty and graceful, able to dance en pointe under the tutelage of Tony Bevinetto, the Broadway dance legend who retired to New Orleans to coax the inner…

Woman's Work

Female chefs are running the kitchens and changing culinary culture in a host of Louisiana’s top restaurants

The Dish: Perfect Pairings

In January, Karla Kilgore, an internationally celebrated sommelier and New Orleans native, opened Barrel Wine Bar in Covington offering tastes, flights, by-the-glass and bottles of over 50 wines from all over the world. Small-plates include savory cheese and charcuterie boards,…

Over and Under

Overpass Merchant in Baton Rouge offers something for everyone with its global menu

Hidden Treasure

Roberto’s Restaurant in Sunshine serves up innovative takes on Creole and Cajun cuisines in a circa-1950s general store

Born Again

Shreveport’s Cotton Boll Grill gets another lease on life

Cozy Cuisine

The Cabin in Burnside serves up lunch and brunch with a heavy side of atmosphere