Getting the feel for a new destination requires sampling a little of the local cuisine. Since this trip was all about seeing the south, we wanted to embrace the foods that have become legendary. We had already received a good background on the history of Natchez, Mississippi at the local tourism bureau. It had been quite a while since our meager breakfast and we were feeling the urge to fill up. A short drive to downtown landed us at Biscuits and Blues, which held lots of promise for a heaping helping of southern hospitality.
Biscuits and Blues
The city of Natchez sits on a hillside, which offers sweeping views of the Mighty Mississippi River. Being the oldest city in the state, we expected to find it bathed in southern charm. We were not disappointed. As we rode along Main Street, the antebellum architecture told us that we had arrived in the south. The heat of the early summer day was only beginning to unfurl and the sweet aroma of Gardenia hung in the air. We found a parking spot and crossed the street to Biscuits and Blues.
Our visit occurred on a Sunday, so we knew going in that not everything would be open. Fortunately, many of the local restaurants open their doors in time for the church crowds. As we entered, it was immediately apparent that we were the only ones in the place who were not locals. We found ourselves greeted by an abundance of smiles and nods, which told us we were more than welcome to join in the festivities. Our server started us off with a pair of their namesake biscuits, which comes with a helping of Apricot Butter. What a delightful way to welcome diners.
Southern Comfort Food
Our visit to Natchez was not impromptu, but we did have a limited amount of time to see as much as possible. It was imperative that we stay on track, so we chose to make lunch a bit lighter than most meals. Our server walked us through the menu. When I mentioned that we were looking for something uniquely special to Biscuits and Blues, he pointed me toward the Grits & Grillades. This southern comfort dish is comprised of cuts of tender pork tenderloin marinated in a savory gravy. It is served up on a bed of Jalapeno Grits, which adds a nice touch of flavor without bringing too much heat. I discovered a dish that I would add to my list of good things to watch for at other restaurants.
Tastes of the South
Crystal went in a different direction, but still stayed on a southern path. Her choice of a cup of J.P. Gumbo started her on the way for many more variations during our week-long trip. This version comes packed with loads of chicken and andouille sausage, swimming is a hearty broth. The addition of a side salad created a balance that is common for her midday meals. The gumbo had a little kick, but most of it came from the sausage. Crystal gave this dish a thumbs up and finished it off to the last drop.
Visit Like a Local
With our appetites satisfied, it was time to check out more of Natchez, Mississippi. The city has certainly moved far beyond its humble beginnings in 1716. Driving through the streets of the city, we could see how the various ethnic backgrounds had impacted the architecture. French, English, and Spanish designs blend to create a tapestry that provides a background for the people who live here. Clearly, the southern hospitality has been found in this city for many generations. It made us feel like locals and we couldn’t wait to share some of their stories. Have you ever visited Natchez?