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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. www.cafeontheparkcom. (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.

Dudley’s Restaurant
380 S. Mill Street in Historic Dudley Square. 252-1010. A Lexington tradition, with adventurous takes on regional cuisine and an award winning wine list. Patio, bar, and dining room each provide a unique atmostphere. Open everyday: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30 for lunch; Sun 11:30-2:30 for brunch; and dinner Sun-Thurs 5:30-10 and Fri-Sat 5:30-11. Reservations recommended.

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.

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.

"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.

The Homestead
3955 Harrodsburg Rd, 219-9922. 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.

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 BBQ, Convenience Over Quality?

Our founding fathers understood the essence of good BBQ. They knew over 100 years ago that you need a healthy dose of uncooked meat and a love for being outdoors. A little bourbon never hurt either. They had a working formula that is often lost in our Age of Technology: Fire + Relaxation = Good BBQ. It's the very same formula that made American BBQ famous.

Nowadays, it seems Backyard BBQs across this proud nation are being run by grillmasters more concerned about a televised baseball game, than tending burgers. I should know; I used to be one of these people.

I have several friends who own outdoor 20" televisions specifically for BBQs. They'd stand over the grill watching A-Rod step up to the plate while the burgers burned on through the afternoon. "Hey! People! Can someone come tend to these burgers for me?"

Now I'm not a burger hater-far from it. But I've always believed The Hamburger was something we invented to be more neatly consumed in cars. Growing up as any warm-blooded American did, I ate three, four, maybe five burgers a week, all of them in cars. That goes double for The Hotdog-which was perfectly engineered to be eaten without ever taking your eyes off a baseball game or a busy highway. So with everyone and their cousins grilling up backyard burgers, wouldn't you like to try something new?

How about slow-smoking beef brisket for 10 hours? Despite the daunting fact that you've probably never cooked anything for more than three hours, a good brisket can actually save you money and be easier to cook! Sure, you have to cook it a lot longer, but instead of slaving over the grill for an hour with burgers, you can put a brisket on the grill and if your heat is just right you can elect to completely forget about it-for at least a few hours.

Preparing a brisket is simple; generously rub in brown sugar and pepper, and then slow smoke it on low over a drip pan for approximately one and a half hours per pound of brisket. Use any wood you like for the smoke and remember, do not put the brisket directly over the flame.

Check it once every hour to make sure the sugar isn't smoking. If it is, your fire is too hot and you'll need to sprinkle the top of the brisket with a light coat of apple juice. This neutralizes some of the burnt flavor you don't want the sugar to take on. If the fire is still too hot, simply take the entire brisket out until your unit cools down. If your grill is as low as it will go and you're still running hot, prop the lid open with a steel wrench to provide extra ventilation. No matter what, don't panic. You won't hurt the brisket.

You want an ambient temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an oven thermometer for your virgin attempt and make a few prototypes before inviting company over. Trust me.

Next, you'll need to let the brisket ease. This removal stage is still far easier than flipping burgers. Just let the slab of meat hang out for roughly 10 minutes. This allows it to cook thoroughly and in the process, makes it far easier to cut. Slice it against the grain in thin slices and pile it over anything nearby and cover it with your favorite BBQ sauce-nothing fancy, the sauce is an optional condiment anyway and I think in Texas it's against the law to put sauce on a fresh brisket. Now day-old brisket is allowed sauce. Just heap it over a burger bun so you can eat it in your car.

Convenience and quality.

Sound easy? It is. It's almost too easy. And think about all that free time you have for the next 10 hours. Now you can spend that extra time relaxing, without ever having to take your eyes off the big game.