Taco Traveler: Fat Mama’s Tamales, Natchez, Mississippi

If you read that you are going to be driving in the general vicinity of a place called Fat Mama’s Tamales that is the home of the Knock-You-Naked margarita there isn’t a lot of debate about whether or not you will stop. You just do.

fat mamas outside

When we arrived in Natchez, Mississippi at the end of our drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway we were looking forward to some lunch and a tour of some antebellum homes. It was scorching hot outside with the thermometer in the truck staying consistently over 100 degrees. This made lunch extra appealing, with cold beverages and air conditioning seeming like the best plan possible. We knew we had found the right place when we saw the bathtubs…

fat mamas

Inside we found cheerful yellow walls, bright, fiesta-like decor and even whimsically painted toilets in the bathrooms. Fat Mama’s has no wait staff so you have to order at the counter, pay at the counter and then come and pick up your food when it’s ready. Not a big deal since the dining room is spacious, but not huge. We decided to try the tamales, of course, the Gringo Pie – listed as Fat Mama’s Favorite in the menu – and the knock-you-naked margaritas. We added on some chocolate chip pretzel cookies after we ate.

fat mama margarita

The margaritas came out first. I was pleasantly surprised to find no overly strong tequila taste coming from my glass, just a nice tart margarita. I probably should’ve known better considering they are called knock-you-naked. I slurped through the second half pretty quickly and paid for it with a seriously upset stomach for about 30 minutes in the car. Too much tequila too fast is my guess. Fat Mama’s sells cute little bottles of the margarita mix that you can pick up for mixing at home. We saw them some other places around Natchez for about $1 more so make sure you go to the source if you want to save some money.If you don’t want a margarita but enjoy a good draft beer, try the Southern Pecan. It’s a very nice nut brown ale type beer, good flavor and only a touch of bitterness at the finish.

fat mama gringo pie

The Gringo Pie came out first – three tamales topped with chili, cheese, onions and jalepenos. It was okay. I think, by visiting Solly’s Hot Tamales first we may have spoiled ourselves for any other tamales. It was certainly not bad by any means. Mr. Taco Traveler and I finished it off with no problem. It just wasn’t anything truly remarkable.

fat mama tamales

Tamales came out next. The first thing I thought when I took a bite was, “Oh, they obviously use masa flour.” There is a distinct flavor to masa flour and it completely permeates every bite of Fat Mama’s tamales. If you love that flavor you will really love these tamales. Unfortunately, it is not a flavor that I love so I was a little turned off. The texture was a little softer than other tamales we tried and they had a little less sauce clinging to them. Mr. Taco Traveler enjoyed them but we both agreed the tamales were disappointingly average.

The chocolate chip pretzel cookies at the end were good, though not “to-die for” as was suggested to us. Maybe we’re just food snobs?

With that said, I would still say it is worth a trip to Fat Mama’s if you are in the Natchez area because people will ask if you’ve been there if they know anything about Natchez. And you can get great knock-you-naked T-shirts and stickers that make for fun vacation souvenirs.

Fat Mama’s Tamales, 303 South Canal St. Natchez, Mississippi earns 3.5 tacos out of 5 – 1 taco for good atmosphere, 1 taco for the food and 1.5 tacos for the margaritas. If you’re in Natchez, make sure you go get knocked-naked (I keep wanting to type knocked knaked) at Fat Mama’s. You’ll have fun.

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Taco Traveler: Panchos Backyard, Dania Beach, Florida

Mr. Taco Traveler is taking the keyboard this week to share his thoughts on Panchos Bakyard which he visited on a recent trip to Florida.

Panchos Backyard 3

Today’s adventure takes us to Pancho’s Backyard in Dania Beach, Florida.  I know that when one hears Pancho’s associated with a Mexican restaurant the immediate thought is of little red flags that you raise repeatedly to get additional helpings of “food” until you’re stuffed, but this no mass produced TexMex food from a fryer, it’s delicious made to order Mexican specials!

Pancho’s Backyard is one part sport’s bar, one part patio cantina, and two parts restaurant with a dash of elegance thrown in.  You can watch your favorite football teams (that’s what the rest of the world calls soccer) on 5 large monitors around the restaurant, or you can enjoy the best of South Florida’s sun on the covered patio.  The tables and walls are decorated with bits of colored tile that brings a vibrancy to the atmosphere inside the restaurant.  Food choices range from traditional TexMex fare like fajitas to more traditional Mexican dishes like milanesa and bisteak a la Mexicana.

Your meal at Pancho’s Backyard starts with the traditional chips that come with a delicious but not too spicy salsa that incorporates bright tomato and cilantro flavors.  I had the opportunity to try two different entrees at Pancho’s Backyard: chili rellenos and bisteak a la Mexicana.  Both were very delicious interpretations of these dishes with rich and silky goat cheese in the rellenos and a spicy tomato based sauce with peppers and onions on the flank steak.  Pancho’s Backyard does a great job of incorporating traditional Mexican flavors like cumin and cilantro with its well prepared and fresh entrees.

Pancho’s Backyard is supported by a full bar but a limited beer menu.  Enjoy fresh margarita’s or other cocktail of your choice along with your meal.  Corona and Negra Modello are the two Mexican beer choices.  The wait staff are friendly and attentive without constantly hovering over your table.

Both of my meals at Pancho’s Backyard were delicious as well as a good value.  The atmosphere is enjoyable and the food delicious.  If you’re in South Florida, stop by it’s a worthy stop.  The taco traveler gives Pancho’s Backyard three tacos out of five.