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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Shop for Southern Style in Oxford, Mississippi

2. Where to Eat

At Jinsei Sushi, out-of-the-box Japanese dishes are a welcome respite from heavysSouthern treats.  

Shimmy into Oxford Canteen's slender alleyway and order a heart-stopping short-rib melt with sriracha mayo ($10) from the window. Come early for unspeakably good breakfast tacos ($6 for two) and one of the few jolting iced-coffee options in town ($3). The local lunchtime crowd likes healthy options like “dirty grain” bowls of quinoa or farro with seasonal greens ($8), but feel free to indulge in the hefty quarter-pound hot dog topped with a weekly rotating allotment of “everything but the kitchen sink.” A recent combo came with smoked bacon, local farmhouse cheddar, and a green-tomato relish ($9).

See and be seen at James Beard Award–winner John Currence’s City Grocery, Oxford society’s default watering hole. Currence, known for his reverence of farm-to-table principles, now helms a growing Oxford-based restaurant empire, and at City Grocery, guests congregate as much for the company as the ever-changing menu of high-minded seasonal southern fare. Jambalaya gets an artisanal-tasso-ham upgrade ($24), and lowly catfish calas are elevated with spiced pecans and fire-roasted tomatoes ($9), but the classics are worth a try too: The shrimp and grits with house-cured bacon ($27) is almost always on the menu.

Take a break from barbecue and biscuits at Jinsei Sushi. Tucked into the back of a strip mall, the horizontal, raw-wood slats of the exterior stick out against the other drab storefronts, and so do the elegantly plated twists on sushi-bar fare. Yes, the menu carries the usual selection of rolls, but there are plenty of departures from tradition, like seared-foie-gras nigiri (MP), hamachi tossed with fig sauce and rum raisins ($10), maguro (tuna) with Stone Hollow goat cheese and Honeycrisp apple ($11), and sashimi tacos with guacamole ($13).

Published on Feb 5, 2015 as a web exclusive.