Side Dish

Disaster May Save Us

  Disaster can illuminate how we are connected and how we rely on one another. This is what is happening in my life, my relationships, and in my Uptown neighborhood near Magazine Street and Jefferson Avenue. By day the streets…

The Best Meatless Specials to Try for Lent

  For Catholics, the practice of forgoing the consumption of meat during Lent (Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday) has its roots in the early days of the church and the Black Fast, when the righteous were expected to partake of…

The Best Places to Find Real Crawfish Bisque

  In 1957 a feature in Holiday magazine described ladies dining on bowls of crawfish bisque Galatoire's. The article was already a relic by the time I read it years ago but it stuck for its description of the women…

The Best Places to Seek Shelter During Mardi Gras

  Few things are more valuable than a friend with a home and a working bathroom on a parade route. Hell, even a parade-side portable toilet with crowds bumping into its side and water sloshing about can be a blessing…

The Best Things to Do at The Higgins Hotel

My late father, Andrew Ernest Benson, Jr., was born in May of 1929. He was a war history buff, particularly when it came to WWII, which dominated his New Orleans childhood. For years I have gone to Parkway Bakery when…

The Best Fun Things Going on This Week

New Orleans became home to many thousands of Vietnamese people following the fall of Saigon in the early 1970s. This weekend, the Vietnamese community celebrates the annual free, family-friendly Tet Fest at Mary Queen of Vietnam Church (14001 Dwyer Blvd.)…

The Best New Things to Try This Weekend

  A voyeur, I like to people watch. One of my top spots for doing so is the deep, gracious balcony off of the second floor of the triangular-shaped building that houses Gris Gris (1800 Magazine St., 272-024, grisgrisnola.com). Over…

The Best King Cake Creations to Try this Weekend

  We are most assuredly in the Season of the King Cake. They are seemingly everywhere. Throughout Carnival Season, both Cochon Butcher (930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588.7675, cochonbutcher.com) and La Boulangerie (4600 Magazine St, 269.3777, laboulangerienola.com) will offer King Cakes ranging…

The Best FREE Things to Do for the Next Week

I have known the fabulous and talented photographer Cheryl Gerber since we were both very green young journalists. We once joked that it must have been a kindergarten teacher who first pulled us together, pointed at me and commanded "You,…

The Best Places to Ring in the New Year in Style

  How fortuitous for me!  Cozy, super-chic Luvi (5236 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-605-3340, luvirestaurant.com)  is located right around the corner from my house. The diminutive Asian restaurant is offering early dinner seatings at 6 and 8 p.m., at either a table…

The Best Resources for Locally Made Holiday Gifts

  Every year I am faced with sending gifts to members of my extended family in Sweden. I makes no sense to me to buy mass produced items made in China then ship then to my relatives across the pond,…

The Best Things to do for Halloween and the Weekend

For Halloween fun, this evening guests are invited to Nolé Cuisine de las Americas (2001 St. Charles Ave., 593-9955, nolerestaurant.com) in costume for a trick or treat experience – a surprise from the kitchen…

Four Best Places to Eat and Drink This Weekend

  Have you ever wanted to know how to make the best tortilla? Tonight Chef Will Alevar will reveal his family tradition. You’ve probably eaten his family’s tortillas at several restaurants around town, but now is your chance to learn…

The BEST Places to Celebrate with ME This Weekend

A dream of five years comes true for me this evening. For the past five years I have served as the Director of Culinary Programming for the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFab) in Central City. In this capacity I…

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about

Perhaps the only child in Louisiana history to be born to a mother with absolutely no culinary skills at all, Jyl Benson began cooking in self defense at the age of six. She is 13 years younger than her closest sibling so her parents were tired and paid little attention as she use the household kitchen as per personal laboratory, sometimes with disastrous outcomes. Her skills have improved greatly over the years and kitchen fires are a thing of the past.

She began her editorial career in 1990 with The Times Picayune and served as a regional reporter covering the southeastern United States for both The New York Times and Time magazine. She wrote "Galatoire's Cookbook: Recipes & Family History from the Time-Honored New Orleans Restaurant" (Random House 2005) as well as several cultural, historical, and architectural guides to New Orleans. She served as editor-in-chief of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine from 2009 to 2011 and founded Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine in 2012.  In addition to serving as the Director of Culinary Programming for the Southern Food & Beverage Museum/National Food & Beverage Foundation she is a dining columnist for St. Charles Avenue, Acadiana Profile and Louisiana Life magazines, a frequent contributor to New Orleans Magazine, and the author of "Fun Funky, Fabulous: New Orleans Casual Restaurant Recipes" (2015, Pelican Publishing andLouisiana's Tables (2017, Savory House Press).