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Food & Drink

Video: Dine with Mosquito Supper Club

Two charming hosts (and fantastic cooks) serve up authentic Cajun food, family-style.

For 45 years, beginning in 1710, the British struggled to deal with a restless population of French colonists on the Acadian Peninsula of Canada. By 1755, they had had enough, deporting more than 11,000 Acadians, most of whom made their way to Southwest Louisiana. The French (and the Spanish after them) welcomed the group to Louisiana, knowing the Acadians would become farmers who would supply the city of New Orleans. The Acadians became part of Louisiana, but distinct from the Creoles of New Orleans.

Today (and for the past 260+ years) the Acadians, now called “Cajuns,” have influenced New Orleans cuisine, blessing it with country-French dishes, seasonings, and spiritual influences. Forget the notion, nay, the myth, that Cajun food has to be blackened and so full of cayenne that you forget what’s underneath. Chefs Michelle Martin and Effie Michot are myth busters. They’re also the duo behind Mosquito Supper Club, a dinner club that celebrates the food and traditions of Cajun culture through locally and regionally sourced ingredients.

Martin brings her family’s food from Chauvin, LA, to the city in a family-style setting. Platters are set down on the table, and everyone digs in. It’s a dining style New Orleanians relate to, whether they’re from Irish, German, Italian, or Afro-Caribbean families. Cajun music fills the dining room (limited seating, reservations only) as guests enjoy a five-plus course meal.

A sample menu, this one for fall, is quintessentially Cajun: doughy “Lagniappe Rolls” with Steen’s Butter (as if butter isn’t decadent enough, this one is laced with cane syrup from Abbeville, LA); crispy eggplant fritters; gumbo with shrimp, crab, and okra; cucumber and tomato salad with Steen’s vinaigrette; stuffed Lousiana crabs; and blackberry dumplings with “Pop Rouge” ice cream for dessert. (Local folk of a certain age may remember the old “Pop Rouge” strawberry/cream soda from Lafayette.)

This fall, Mosquito Supper Club commences on Thursday nights at 810 N. Rampart Street, a light-filled, second-story space in the French Quarter with a can’t-beat-it view of Armstrong Park. Dinner begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. Go to their site’s reservations page to book your seats… and meet your adopted Cajun family.

Extra helping: Michot and Martin also run Curious Oyster Company in St. Roch Market, open daily, if you can’t make it to a supper club event.

Mosquito Supper Club Video Transcript

Effie Michot: Melissa and I love where we’re from, we love sharing it with people. 

Melissa Martin: Mosquito Supper Club is essentially a family-style Cajun meal, five courses, maybe more, depending on how generous I’m feeling. Shrimp roulettes, crab claws, and fried oysters… 

Michot: Crawfish pies, boudin, etouffee, sometimes gumbo, shrimp and grits. Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s a big spread. 

Martin: Everyone always emails us and asks, “How do we join the Mosquito Supper Club?” and we’re like, “You’re already a member!” If you would like to come to a dinner, you do have to make a reservation because we do sell out at 24 people. Everyone shares all the food that’s put on the table, the way you would a picnic with your family.

Michot: When people walk out of here, they’ve made new friends, almost, not even almost, every time. 

Martin: For me, growing up, I got to eat like a king. There was always seafood on the table, there was always ducks in the wintertime, and I wanted to be able to share that. 

Michot: Trying to make people understand what it means to be Cajun, and we give you a very authentic experience. This is directly from our heart and our past. 

Martin: Will anybody be able to try and cook my grandmother’s oyster soup again if I don’t document it and share it and pass it on? For me, it’s about saving the things that I love and sharing it with people and keeping it alive. 

Author of five books on the history of New Orleans, Edward Branley is a graduate of Brother Martin High School and the University of New Orleans. Edward writes, teaches, and does speaking engagements on local history to groups in and around New Orleans. His urban fantasy novel, "Hidden Talents," is available online and in bookstores. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, @NOLAHistoryGuy.

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