A visit to Bluff Park in Natchez demonstrates why the town attracted the French in the 18th century and why it then became the capital of the Mississippi Territory: the riverside cliffs offer a clear strategic military advantage. Today, the high vantage point above the Mississippi River is cherished for its stunning, panoramic beauty rather than its defensive position. Nearby, horse-drawn carriages set off from Canal and Washington and go clip-clopping down the streets.Throughout town, beneath boughs of oak trees dripping with spanish moss, dozens of antebellum mansions show off their Greek Revivalist columns and wide-brimmed straw hats affixed to chimneys to combat the southern sun. Several restored mansions open their doors year-round for tours, but many remain private residences to this day. Near the river, the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture illustrates the history of slavery in the region through historical artifacts and turn-of-the-century portraiture.
El Paso Mexican Grill's menu of more than 100 dishes is formidable?luckily you don't have to settle on just one. There are plenty of opportunities to sample several of the restaurant's specialties. Take the Plato El Paso, for example, which includes a chile relleno, a beef tostada, a beef enchilada, a beef taco, a burrito, and a flauta. There are plentiful combo platters as well for customers who find it tough to choose between items like tamales, chalupas, and quesadillas, though those ready to commit to a single dish won't go wrong either. Entrees include such delectable items as barbecue-chicken quesadillas and a whole-fried fish marinated in house spices.
A homegrown success story with a slew of awards and nearly 40 years of history, Popeyes has introduced its menu of Louisiana eats to taste seekers around the globe. Rather than downloading low-quality, unsatisfying meals through the Internet, packs can pick up Popeyes’ family-style meals, pairing eight pieces of Cajun fried chicken with four buttermilk biscuits and a side of award-winning rice and beans ($16.99). A po boy stuffed with crunchy shrimp ($3.49) makes a splash in lunchboxes, and chicken nuggets ($2.49 for six pieces) surf into mouths on waves of refreshing sweet tea ($2.99/gal.).
Gee whiz, Skip, is it true that Cheeburger Cheeburger's been voted Best Burger in 29 Cities? Yup. This is a real 1950s-style hot spot. This is a place that takes pride in serving additive-free, 100% all-natural Angus beef and frothy milk shakes in thousands of possible flavors. Amidst vintage-inspired decor, cooks fry freshly cut Idaho potatoes and onion rings in cholesterol-free peanut oil and top American-bred, vegetarian-fed beef with more than 25 toppings. Modern day soda jerks also add one of more than a dozen syrups to flavored sodas and scoop ice cream into floats fizzing with cola, root beer, Dr. Pepper, or the lesser-known Pepper sibling, Gary, who forever lives in the shadow of his brother's medical degree.
Tsubaki Hibachi Grill & Sushi's kitchen team sears, fries, and rolls traditional Japanese cuisine on hibachi griddles flanked by seated diners and cataloged on the menu. Sprung from hibachi grills into properly prepared mouths, shrimp ($22) and steak ($22) are scored on skill and landing by a judges' table of soup, house salad, and fried vegetables. Six slices of red snapper ($7)—one for each year it takes to crush a grape with a heavy thought—slink into ponzu sauce, and tofu, seaweed, and green onion soak in miso soup's ($3) soy-bean broth. Diners can also indulge palates' seafood predilections by imbibing the spicy tuna, crab, shrimp, cucumber, asparagus, and masago that unite as roommates in the Ricky roll ($10), an enfolded sheet of soy paper.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.