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a la lucie
159 N. Limestone. Lexington's special occasion address. Regarded as one of the region's best. Award winning menu with extensive wine list. Open 10-6, Mon-Sat.Reservations recommended. 252.5277

557 S. Limestone 253-0014. Voted best pancakes by Ace readers in the Best of Lexington poll year after year. Winner of 2001's "Best Veggie Friendly Restaurant." Vegetarian, chicken, and seafood entrees available. Homemade baked goods and desserts. Weekend brunch. Live music. Free evening parking behind the building. Daily specials. Open for lunch, Monday - Friday 11-2. Dinner, Tuesday-Thursday 5:30-9, Friday 5:30-10. Brunch, Saturday and Sunday 10-2.

Billy's Bar-B-Q
101 Cochran Rd. At the corner of High St. in Chevy Chase. 269-9593. Genuine Western Kentucky style pit barbecue and fixins. Dine in/ carry out/ catering/ bulk deliveries. We're the home grown guys. Open M-Th 11am-9pm, F-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11:30am-8pm.

Cafe on the Park
369 W. Vine St. at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. (859) 231-9000. With a wonderful view of Triangle Park, Café on the Park is one of downtown Lexington’s hidden treasures. Breakfast 6:30am until 10:30am daily; breakfast buffet served in season. Lunch 11am-2pm, (pasta bar on Thursdays until 1:30pm). Dinner offers affordable upscale American cuisine and a wonderful wine list 5pm-10pm. 90 minute complimentary parking. Open 365 days per year. Private dining available.

Cafe Jennifer
111 Woodland Ave at the Woodlands Condominiums, 255-0709. A cozy restaurant featuring Kentucky favorites, using locally grown produce. Lunch and Dinner daily, Mon.-Sat. Pub room atmosphere in the well-stocked bar and private room available for small gatherings.

The Depot
128 East Main St., Midway 846-4745 Eclectic creations with a down home flavor serving Central Kentucky and beyond. Good times abound at “The Depot” in Midway, six days a week for lunch and Thursday, Friday & Saturday for dinner.

Ed and Fred’s Desert Moon
148 Grand Blvd. 231-1161 American Cuisine at affordable prices. Enjoy gourmet pizzas, fresh pasta, specialty salads and sandwiches, and a wide array of entrees in an informal yet elegant atmosphere. Wonderful wine list! Patio dining and banquet facilities. Lunch: 11a-3p Tue-Fri; Dinner: Tue-Sun.

Emmett’s Restaurant
Off Tates Creek Road, south of Man O’ War, offers innovative Southern cooking in a renovated farmhouse featuring a cozy bar, casual patio dining and seven lovely dining rooms. Dinner served Mon.-Sun. beginning at 5:30 PM and Sunday brunch from 11 AM-2 PM. Reservations accepted. 245-4444.

255-2431. It’s all about the food at this continental eatery where Chef Jim Plymale builds his menu around fresh, seasonal ingredients. For lunch how about Black Bean Cassoulet or Crispy Polenta Napoleon? Imagine the dinner fare. Located on (that’s right) 431 Old Vine St. in downtown, the atmosphere is smart and cozy. And the bar is the swankiest in town. Dress: As yourself. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5:30-10; Fri-Sat 5:30-11.

521 West Short Street. 455-9660 Where tradition meets style. Five course tea service at noon and 3 pm Wed-Sat. in an atmosphere of understated elegance. Reservations required. Greentree also offers graceful service and imaginative cuisine demonstrating fine Southern hospitality for professional meetings, club events, and every wedding occasion.

Happy Dragon Chinese Buffet
1510 Newtown Pike, 859-388-9988. All you can eat chinese buffet. Over 120 items daily, featuring fresh seafood, beef, chicken, pork, soups, salads, fruits... and much more! Open Sun. to Thurs. 11am - 10pm, Fri.& Sat. 11am - 10:30pm.

The Homestead
The Homestead Restaurant offers superb regional cuisine in a classic and beautiful setting. A warm and cozy ambience naturally complements the traditional southern dishes prepared by Executive Chef Tony Cortez. With a charming bar, a romantic patio, and laid back live entertainment, The Homestead is the perfect spot for any occasion. The Homestead is open for dinner six nights a week. They are closed on Sundays, except during Keeneland and on some holidays. Dinner: 5:30 Mon-Thur,, 5:00 on Fri & Sat.

Imperial Hunan
Woodhill. 266-4393. One of Lexington's oldest and finest Chinese restaurants. Voted Best Kung Pao by Ace readers. Don't forget the Sunday Buffet. " Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30am-11pm, Sat Noon-11pm

Jonathan at
Gratz Park

120 West Second Street 252-4949 Redefined regional cuisine served in our Southern dining room or in the English pub room. Signature items and daily specials, every entrée a Jonathan original. Festive Sunday brunch from 11:30-2 pm. Reservations suggested. Also call us for intimate dinner parties, fabulous banquets, business lunches, pre-wedding events to the reception.

Mancino’s Pizza
& Grinders

1590A Leestown RD. 253-2299. First in Kentucky with HOT oven grinders! A taste of New York right here in Lexington. Everything from the traditional Mancino’s Pride pizza to the “New” Zesty Ranch Pizza. All Grinders are oven baked and served Hot from the oven. Everything made to order. Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; 11am-3pm Sat

Natasha's Cafe
112 Esplanade. A look and a feel of the Bleeker Street in the Village. A taste of Mediterranean cuisine interpreted by talented poet and chef Johnny Shipley. Lunch Buffet 11-2, Dinner 5-9. Lighter fair and exotic coffees in between. Fine dining for any income bracket.

Pacific Pearl
Chinoe Plaza. Boldly fusing Asian and American flavors. Coconut fried lobster, King Crab legs in ginger butter, and Grilled Yellowfin Tuna are just a few of the items that represent this extensive menu. Dining room, patio and bar offers elegant decor. Open 5-10 pm, Sun-Thu. and 5-11 pm, Fri and Sat. Reservations recommended. 266.1611

Scarborough Fare
355 Romany Road. 859.266.8704. A gourmand’s delight, featuring an array of entrees that will tickle your fancy and menu changes daily. Sample the mouth-watering desserts and you’ll be back to feed your newest addiction. Special dinners prepared daily. Café dining, or gourmet carryout for those on the go. Open Monday-Saturday 10-8.

Starbucks Coffee
University of Kentucky Student Center. Lexington's first full size Starbucks location. Stop in today for fresh brewed coffee, espresso drinks, Frappuccinos, delightful pastries, and Starbucks merchandise. A supremely comfortable atmosphere conveniently close to downtown. We are a cyber-café; come surf the 'net on our laptop computers. Open Mon.-Thurs. 7am-9pm, Fri. 7am-4pm, Sat. 9am-4pm. 257-1209.

Yamamoto Japanese Grill
& Sushi
130 West Tiverton Way. 859-272-6668. Call for reservations. Prepared before your eyes!! Come enjoy our Fresh Sushi and a variety of Sushi Rolls and fantastic performance and taste in Habachi Grill. Lunch Specials and Lunch boxes available $5.95-9.95. Mon-Thurs 11-2, 5-10; Fri 11-2, 5-11; Sat 5-11; Sun 12-9.

l C'est Si Bon

If you are giddy for revelry - with its roots deeply immersed in Pagan and Christian traditions and a penchant for all-day-and-night drinking, introducing debutantes to self-imposed royal courts of masked men

and women, and gluttonous tourists in feathers and sequins baring all to someone that they would not give a stick of gum to back home - then you must be packed and ready for New Orleans. From January 6th (the Feast of Epiphany) until this year's Shrove Tuesday on February 12th, the citizens of New Orleans host weekly parties and daily parades leading up to the big finale - the Carnival of Mardi Gras.

Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) has become, for many, a day of excess, tipping the scale/bottle a bit, and something to remember for the next forty-six days until Easter - not exactly the way it was originally intended. But this is a spot of amusement in an otherwise overcast, dreary, frozen February, so I'm happy to participate in the festivities. Fortunately, Lexington has a great Louisiana Mardi Gras connection in Tommy and Kevin Walters of Furlongs. They will be hosting a celebration at their restaurant on Tuesday. It begins at noon with Louisiana style food and drinks, then Zydeco Bon plays music all evening.

The 1940s building in which Furlongs is housed was originally a drugstore, and has an ambiance that is both charming and warm. As you walk in, there's a wall separating the restaurant and the bar with a fireplace open to both rooms. The bar has low ceilings and an English pub feel while the restaurant is an open area, with candlelit tables placed underneath a bay window of leaded glass. As you can imagine, horse memorabilia line the walls.

The menu here is Cajun, with many fresh fish selections such as rainbow trout, amberjack, and catfish (blackened or fried) which are topped with shrimp and lump crabmeat in a rich buttery white sauce or presented atop a crawfish etoufée. Also available are the king crab legs and lobster tails, froglegs and crawfish tails, and "Po-Boys Are Available Anytime."

If you are more in the mood for meat (a popular thing to give up during Lent), there are ribeyes, filets, strips, and BBQ ribs. For fowl, grilled or fried quail is served with jambalaya, as is the blackened chicken breast.

Along with their daily menu, Tommy and Kevin will be boiling up 1,000 pounds of crawfish that they have hand-selected from Lafayette, Louisiana - the fine town where they were born and raised. I have seen several people who, when served crawfish, stare at their plate in horror or confusion, probably asking themselves, "how do I eat this?" The best recourse does not involve any utensils other than your hands; twist the head and separate the body, peel the shell off of the tail, and then pull the meat away. What you decide to do with the head is your own business.

Also from their trip they will be serving boudin (a Cajun sausage), and King Cakes, which have a wonderful history unto themselves. They are shaped in a ring, with colored icing or sprinkles (purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power) and originally indicated which debutante became queen of a masked ball. The woman who found the silver or gold bean or diamond in her piece of the cake won. This tradition has changed; now there's a plastic baby inside the cake. The person who finds the baby is blessed with good luck for the next year.

The Crescent City is already a busy place this time of year, but add a little football championship and the place must be a madhouse. The city has been busy for months preparing parades for the Carnival and masked balls to present debutantes to the kings, dukes, and otherwise never-officially-coronated royalty. Large tri-colored cakes are being baked with plastic babies mixed in. Mounds of crawfish are ready to be inhaled alongside a cold beer or hurricane. But if you don't have the time or money to travel, you can still celebrate heartily in Lexington at Furlongs' Mardi Gras - and then be well-behaved for the next six weeks.

Please email your culinary heads-ups to Karen at