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Alfalfa
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." Live music. Free evening parking behind the building. Daily specials. Lunch, Monday - Friday 11-2. Dinner, Tuesday-Thursday 5:30-9, Friday & Saturday 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. Wonderful view of Triangle Park. Breakfast 6:30am until 10:30am daily; breakfast buffet served in season. Lunch 11am-2pm, (pasta bar on Thursdays) Affordable upscale American cuisine and a wonderful wine list 5pm-10pm. 90 minute complimentary parking.




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. Affordable American Cuisine. Gourmet pizzas, fresh pasta, specialty salads and sandwiches, and a wide array of entrees. 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, 245-4444, 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.



431
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., 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.



Furlongs
"Food with Character" 735 E. Main Street (859)266-9000. Full-blooded, dipped in the Bayou, authentic Southwest Louisiana Cuisine at Furlongs! PO-Boys, Burgers, Creole, Etouffees, Gumbo, Pastas, Salads, Seafood, Steaks, Fresh Fish, great daily dinner specials and extensive wine list. Open for dinner: Mon.-Sat. 4-11.




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
3955 Harrodsburg Rd, 219-9922. www.homesteadky.com. Why not tonight? 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. Open for dinner six nights a week. Open Sundays during Keeneland and holidays. Dinner: 5:30 Mon-Thur, 5:00 on Fri & Sat.



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. 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.



The Mansion
at Griffin Gate
1800 Newtown Pike. 859-288-6142. Lexington's landmark of good taste. The elegantly restored antebellum mansion offers traditional American and regional southern cuisine with European flavors. Experience gracious dining at Lexington's first Four Diamond rated restaurant. The Mansion is open daily from 6pm-10pm. Reservations are suggested.



Merrick Inn
3380 Tates Creek Rd. (Top of the hill in Merrick Place.) We pride ourselves on being the establishment of choice for over 30 years. Enjoy Chef Jeremy Ashby’s savory nightly specials and superb signature southern cuisine all served in our Kentucky manor house. When the weather’s warm, enjoy Lexington’s favorite patio by the pool offering a more casual menu. Mon.- Thurs 5:30 to 10:00, Fri and Sat 5:30 to 10:30.



Natasha's Cafe
112 Esplanade 259-0203. An array of tastes from Kiev to Cairo in the elegant atmosphere of a Parisian cafe. World cuisine buffet for lunch. Fine dining for all income brackets evenings after 5:30. Tour buses, business meetings and accordion players welcome. Voted Lexington's Best Ethnic Fare (ACE Weekly Readers’ Poll, 2001). Lunch Buffet 11A-2P, M-F and Noon to 3P on Saturday.



Scarborough Fare
355 Romany Road. 859.266.8704. A gourmand’s delight, featuring an array of entrees that will tickle your fancy. Menu changes daily. Deli dining, or gourmet carryout for those on the go. Open Monday-Saturday 10-8.



Starbucks Coffee
University of Kentucky Student Center. 257-1209. Lexington's first full size Starbucks location. Stop in today for fresh brewed coffee, espresso drinks, Frappuccinos, delightful pastries, and Starbucks merchandise. 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. www.uky.edu/auxserv.




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 A grasp of garlic

Driving along the two-lane 595 in Madison County, heading towards the Kentucky River, was something that I enjoyed frequently as soon as I caught my first glimpse of youthful freedom: exploring back roads in a car alone. Nothing to look at but deeply-etched green hills touching an endless blue sky, angled fields dotted with cows, lazy dogs sleeping in the sun, and Poosey Ridge residents taking a moment of their day to wave hello at everyone who drives by. An afternoon well spent.

I had the opportunity to revisit this scenic area recently with a friend, meet the owners of Blue Moon Farm, Leo Keene and Jean Pitches Keene, and learn more about the many varieties of garlic that they grow there. We sat in their warm kitchen that overlooks the rolling hills and river, discussing the rain situation that farmers are dealing with and how their farm has evolved over the last 13 years that they have been there. They are very knowledgeable about garlic, explaining growing times and differences throughout the nation, and I listened intently while sneaking glances out the windows.

Later in the day, we walked down a rocky, shaded path towards the river, turned a bend, a there, in front of us, were several picturesque acres of garlic plants. We walked around the acreage and Leo told us that when the garlic is ready to be harvested and then stored, it is hung in a way a lot like tobacco, even using the same vocabulary, and that they use a wood stove in the barn to cure (dry) the garlic so that it will have a longer storage time. Some of the garlic is also braided, which allows for airflow between the heads and also adds to shelf life.

You have probably seen the Keenes on Saturday mornings at Farmer's Market on Vine Street. They are always smiling, and ready to answer questions about their garlic. To some it's a bit intimidating because it does not look like the papery heads of garlic that we are used to buying in the grocery stores. What comes to Market is fresh from the ground, not cured, and is the whole plant, ready to use.

For example, last week their booth had baby Green Garlic and Scapes. The baby Green Garlic has a small head that has not quite matured, but can be harvested early with great results. The whole plant, including the leaves, can be used so I chopped one into about one-inch pieces and threw them into a pot of spareribs that I was braising in beer, very tasty. Scapes are the blossom stems of the garlic plant and look somewhat like thick chives. They are pliable, have a kick when eaten raw, and are mild when cooked, as seen in the recipe below. The Scapes work very well as edible wrappers or diced and added to uncooked dishes, but are only available for about two more weeks of this season.

There are two types of garlic, hardneck and softneck, which the Keenes will harvest throughout the summer to bring to the Farmer's Market. The hardnecks have more cloves, are easier to peel, and include varieties such as German White, Music, and Red Rezan. The softnecks have a longer shelf life, so they are the variety that we normally see in the grocery store, and include Machashi, Silverskins, and Purple Cauldron. Many of these are not quite ready for harvest, but this Saturday, in addition to the Green Garlic and Scapes, they will bring in Chinese Pink Garlic, which Leo dug a sample of while we were visiting the farm. The head has a crimson and white skin, similar to a red onion.

If you cannot attend the Farmer's Market, there are other venues for trying their garlic. On the Blue Moon Farm's web site, bluemoongarlic.hypermart.net, bulk garlic of many varieties is available for order; their cured garlic can be found at the Liquor Barn and the Good Foods Co-Op; and many chefs around town incorporate their product into recipes.

This Saturday morning, the 25th, the Lexington Farmer's Market will be hosting a Strawberry and Spring Greens Festival to showcase the early harvests of local farmers. John Foster, chef of Roy's East High Diner, will be preparing dishes made from the Market's produce and offering samples to taste. More rain than shine lately, the farmers, produce, bedding plants, baked goods, and cut flowers will be there beginning at 7 a.m.



Tilapia Stuffed With Deviled Crab Wrapped in Garlic Scapes

2T Butter, divided into 1T for sautéing,

1T for the stuffing.

3T Vidalia onion, diced

2T Garlic scapes, minced

3T Red pepper diced

2T Mayo

2 Eggs, beaten

1/2 cup Bread crumbs

2 tsp Lemon juice

1/2 tsp Dry mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

12 tsp Cayenne

1 lb. Lump crabmeat

4 Tilapia fillets

8 Garlic scapes

Preheat oven to 400º. Sauté diced onion, garlic, and red pepper in 1 tablespoon of butter for only a minute or two, then set aside. In a medium bowl, combine sautéed vegetables and the next seven ingredients. Fold in crabmeat and refrigerate, covered for 15 minutes. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or spraying with oil.

Bring saucepan of water to boil in preparation for blanching the 8 garlic scapes. This will make them pliable. When the water is boiling add the scapes, two at a time, for one minute, just until they are tender.

Place two scapes on the baking sheet, parallel to each other, about 2 inches apart. Spoon one fourth of the deviled crab on top of the scapes, molding it into an oval. Repeat this procedure with the remaining scapes and deviled crab, then dot each oval with butter. Place a fillet on top of each oval, so that it covers all sides. Bring the scape ends up and tie together, creating a package. Drizzle with a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Bake for twenty minutes.


Please email your culinary heads-ups to Karen at
kworkman@aceweekly.com.


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