Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Historic Meal along the famed Mississipp

Gorgeous Rosalie antebellum mansion in downtown Natchez
Natchez, Mississippi is not only a truly historic city set along the famed Mississippi River in the Southern United States, but it's also my birthplace. I always liked to say I was born near the "Mighty Mississipp."

I've never lived a day in MS though. I was raised across the river in Louisiana and I still live within an hour's drive of Natchez, which is the reason my Mom, her co-worker and I recently headed to this historic city for a special dining night out - a progressive dinner.

This trip was a spur-of-the-moment excursion. Mom and her co-worker had mentioned just going to eat somewhere and then I threw out the idea of a progressive meal. They were sold. The most fun part for me though was that each location was a surprise. I’d set the culinary boundaries in downtown Natchez and the restaurants within a few blocks of each other.
The first stop on the three-part dinner tour I had organized was the perfect kick-starter for this trip – Biscuits and Blues. The restaurant, located at 315 Main Street, is not only a place of finger licking good biscuits but also live blues music on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Crawfish-Mushroom Beignet, Biscuit & BLT Potato Skins
We parked on the street and walked into the small but busy place a little after 6:30 and were seated at a nice little table near where the night’s musician sang soulful ballads by Norah Jones and similar artists.
Our waitress brought over the complimentary basket of biscuits and apricot butter, which paired with the biscuits is a little slice of Southern-style paradise. This stop was for appetizers only and I had to get the place’s other starter specialty – the Crawfish and Mushroom Beignet.
The dish consists of crawfish tails and mushrooms sautéed in a light garlic cream sauce and served over a warm beignet. According to their menu, this dish was actually made famous by Natchez Author Greg Iles in his novel, “The Quiet Game.” A new appetizer I hadn’t tried before was our other dish – BLT Potato Skins, which were potato skins topped with cheddar, bacon, lettuce and tomato with Ranch dressing. It was all quite delicious and my two other eating companions agreed.
Our main course stop for dinner was at nearby Pearl Street Pasta – 105 S. Pearl Street. We were seated right away near the entrance. I had actually never eaten there before, though I’ve heard rave reviews from others.
Pearl Street Pasta and Crab Cake with homemade Remoulade
During these types of progressive dinners, I like to sample the best of the venue, so we split their signature entrée - Pearl Street Pasta with a side of crab cakes served with housemade Remoulade and a basket of garlic bread.

The main dish was superb with angel hair pasta, sliced grilled chicken breast seasoned with lemon pepper and served with pearl onions, mushrooms and a rich cream sauce.
Our third and final stop for dessert actually surprised me. Two years ago, I had enjoyed its unique atmosphere reminiscent of a quaint bistro in the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter. Since then though, the Cotton Alley Café has moved to a more prominent location at 208 Main Street (not too far from Biscuits and Blues) and it’s atmosphere has risen in uniqueness and elegance.
Lovely front of the Cotton Alley Cafe
At this point in our food journey, we were becoming quite full, so we opted to split two desserts at the café with its lovely glass front with a wrought iron bench and its lovely little tables with tablecloths, plants and art-covered walls. I definitely would like to return to eat a sole meal there.  
Delicious Brownie & Tropical fruit cake
The waitress showed us to their dessert case to make our selections, which were a double caramel and chocolate brownie and a slice of homemade tropical fruit cream cake. The cake had three layers of soft, spongy lemon and orange cake with a light kiwi icing in between and over the top layer, which was sprinkled with green grapes and a slice of kiwi. Both selections were fantastic.
It was the perfect end to a nice evening in downtown Natchez. I would recommend paying a visit to all three of these establishments and if a progressive dinner is the goal, keep the party count down to four or less, be flexible and be willing to skip one place if you have to. Just enjoy the company, the experience and the atmosphere in this historic city.

For more info about Natchez, check out their official website here.

Have you had a progressive meal? Where was it? Have you been to Natchez? What did you do there? I'd love to hear about it below in comments.  :)

1 comment:

  1. I've never done a progressive meal ... would love to try it! I have been to Rosalie and found it fascinating. Would like to go back. Monmouth Plantation is a great tour and B&B with amazing food and service.