Antibellum Voodoo Noir: Where Live Goats, Foie Gras, and Bondage Collide

We went behind the scenes at L.A.’s most popular black magic-themed experimental roving dinner series
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Part six-course dinner, part Eyes Wide Shut food orgy, Antibellum Voodoo Noir is Samuel Monsour’s irreverent gourmet pop-up. With just 20 seats available at $333 a head, the monthly event draws celebrities and other adventure seekers looking to get weird with foie gras. What else takes place inside the secret Venice Beach lair? We sat in on opening night.

7:45: After arriving at a converted loft, each guest is given a Mardi Gras mask and instructed not to speak.

7:57: Diners are escorted past the 20-seat table to the bar, where Devin Espinosa pours an array of boozy tinctures for guests who mill about awkwardly. It’s hard to schmooze in silence.

8:21: Actor Kiko Ellsworth, dressed as a witch doctor, summons diners with a guttural yell and a proto-Creole “prayer.” Time to take a seat.

8:44: The first plate lands at the table: foie gras with spoonbread, corn relish, honey, and serranos. Top Chef ’s Marcel Vigneron pokes his head into the kitchen to gush.

8:51: “We’re good on time,” Espinosa tells Monsour. “Homegirl’s still being tied up.” The bondage-burlesque show is in full swing.

9:16: A potent chicken-foot broth studded with hominy, chicken hearts, and pig ear cracklin’s comes out next.

9:47: There’s a goat on a coffee table munching romaine. Ellsworth, wielding a knife, asks, “Who wants to eat some goat?” Diners gasp. “OK,” says Ellsworth. “We spare his life. We eat goat salad instead.”

9:49: Et voilà! Roasted beets, marinated trumpet mushrooms, and crab apples with goat kefir are served. A dancer twirls on a stripper pole. Ellsworth writhes on the ground in ecstasy. The absinthe appears to be working.

10:37: Plates of andouille-spiced smoked beef heart are set down. With 
a folk-rock band jamming away, a few people stroll into the kitchen to heap praise and swipe tasting spoons through pans of étouffée.

11:14: By the time the pomegranate ice cream goes out, the fourth wall has been shattered. Half the guests neglect dessert to join the gyrating dancers while the rest lick their plates. The Ubers queue up out front.

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