Kokopelli is a new Southwestern-style restaurant in Lake Highlands that paid a lot of attention to creating an authentic Southwestern theme.

And it was an effort to turn a strip shopping center space into a New Mexican adobe hut with sand and turquoise tones, embossed images on the walls and even a foundation inside.

The menu is a sampling of Spanish food, Tex-Mex, vegetarian Tex-Mex, chicken dishes, beef dishes, Southwestern-style and seafood.

Appetizers start at $2.95, while dinner prices range up to $17.95.

The menu offers new meaning to Mexican food, particularly the squash enchiladas – yellow squash and zucchini rolled into two light, homemade tortillas covered with a light sour cream sauce.

Another selection is the Ratones, which are jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese.

Lunch specials are priced from $5.50-$8.50 and include Mexican dishes, pastas and even Hamburguesa Mexicana.

A few months ago, we took nominations for the Readers Choice Awards, tallied them up, and printed your favorite neighborhood restaurants.

I’d like to cast my vote for Natchez, 2810 N. Henderson. It couldn’t be better for value, atmosphere, good service and food. Need I say more?

Natchez can’t be classified as American Casual. I would prefer to call it Orleans Nouvelle. It is New Orleans or Southern-type cuisine with a tastier, healthier twist.

Since Natchez is a small place at the end of Henderson near Central Expressway, it tends to be overlooked, while people wait hours in line at other, less-deserving restaurants.

Natchez is well-known for its “Debris,” a roast beef sandwich unlike any other. The roast beef is cooked until it falls apart (yet it’s not dried out), and it’s served with gravy and coleslaw on top.

Natchez also serves a unique catfish dish, with the catfish lightly fried in a pecan coating.

These dishes come with either soup or salad and grilled vegetables on the side. The soups are always fresh; the cream of mushroom or black bean soups are wonderful.

The atmosphere is cozy yet elegant, the service is impeccable, and the wine list is out of this world.

Prices range from $4.95-$12.95. I assure you, it is always worth it.