Still Family Run Since 1946
A month ago I enjoyed a most entertaining dining adventure the day after Thanksgiving. My family along with both of my brothers' families left New Orleans in a couple cars in search of Mosca's, a roadside treasure on the West Bank of the Mississippi. My NOLA brother Dave had been before and warned us that it can be tricky to find.
Well, the car I was in got lost, but we finally found the small building along US 90, with gravel driveway and simple sign. Evidently there was damage with Hurricane Katrina, but there were no attempts to change appearance with renovation.
Lisa (Mama Mosca) and Provino stared down at us from the wall when we entered. In 1946, an Italian immigrant named Provino Mosca moved with his wife from Chicago when their daughter married a Louisiana oysterman. They opened their restaurant in this very building, "in the middle of nowhere" along the highway. It was owned by a big New Orleans Mafia family (evidently still owned) and there are stories about the restaurant being quite the late night hang out for the Mafia for many years. I decided not to quiz our server on this.
All About Family
The best part of the dining experience was the family feel. There were two large tables in the main room, which included a casual bar, a juke box and an ATM, since they take cash only. Our room, as well as two other small ones seemed to be filled with families gathering for post Thanksgiving feasts. The family photos on the wall and the large serving bowls on the table made it feel like we were at home doing Thanksgiving all over again! Of course we didn't have to cook this time...and it was Italian Creole, not turkey!
We started in on our shared main dishes (just as a few gathered at the juke box to play some Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr.)
We had heard that garlic was the main ingredient in most dishes. No problem there. With our large group we were able to sample most of the dishes Mosca's is known for. Oysters Mosca was a delicious, sort of garlicky oyster dressing. The Chicken a la Grande had lots of white wine, rosemary and garlic! The Spaghetti Bordelaise was a nice balance to the richer Spaghetti with Meatballs...
The Shrimp Mosca along with garlic-free Pineapple Fluff...both perfecto!
I can easily picture Mama Mosca making that fluff years ago!
As we worked on our meal, a group of what appeared to be relatives gathered at the bar waiting for other the large table to clear. The door near the juke box opened and closed as other relatives arrived and mingled.
Who is that?
I pulled out my camera at one point to take a picture towards the other end of the table, since Scott had taken the first photo. Scott and Heidi had already noticed that Harry Connick Jr. had just entered and was standing behind Scott.
My Bro and Camera
Chris was unaware of the fact that we had a celebrity in our midst when he stood to take a family photo. The rest of the table knew by this time and grinned at the camera, waiting for Chris to bump into Harry. He didn't, but if he had, Chris would have probably just invited Harry to take the camera so Chris could be in the picture!
A Photo of Scott
By the time Harry was seated, our family was busily trying to ignore and eavesdrop at the same time. We were enjoying our family enough to know better than to ruin Harry's family outing by intruding for autographs.
However my daughter, who doesn't have to fumble to put on glasses to use her cell phone, was able to quickly and discretely take a photo of Scott who had just slurped up a string of spaghetti.
Just by accident of course, Harry happened to get in the photo.
I could be extra obnoxious and tell all the gossip that we heard across the room. But there isn't any to tell. They looked like a family enjoying a restaurant they have visited for years together. Harry seemed totally relaxed and did a good job amusing a small boy with some finger and thumb tricks. There was some chanting at one point. We thought the table was saying, "Gar-lic! Gar-lic! Gar-lic!" But evidently they were not cheering someone on to eat a clove of garlic. It was "Char-lotte! Char-lotte!" who is evidently Harry's daughter...and not anywhere near old enough to drink...so there was no chugging going on either. That's as much as I know.
Great Food and Great Time!
I hope to go back. Maybe next time it won't be so busy and there will be no celebrities, so I can wander and look at family photos...and ask more questions. Maybe I can even meet Mary Jo Mosca, the daughter-in-law of Provino and Lisa. She and her daughter run the kitchen now. Next time!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.