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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 atmosphere. 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.

Good Foods Coop
455-D Southland Dr. (859) 278-1813. Good food fast.
Eat in or carry out. Self-serve hot bar, cold salad bar,
grab & go deli goodies, free range chicken, hormone-free
beef & pork, fresh fish, cheeses, homemade breads, muffins, bagels. Coffee, juice & smoothie bar. Morning coffee and muffins, full lunch & dinner. Mon-Sat 7:30 am-9 pm, Sun 8 am-9 pm.

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.

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 Roly poly snakeheads

A new threat has been introduced to America, and it smells fishy. A scaly, sharp-toothed predator native to Asia has slowly begun invading our ecosystem and our vocabulary, with a descriptive name that can be difficult to say, straight-faced. The northern snakehead fish is known to the people of Thailand as the reincarnation of a sinner. It's known to the residents of Crofton, Maryland, as a potential threat.

And last week it was known to me as dinner.

Details of the elusive and rapidly multiplying snakehead fish filled the news and topped the lists of major Internet search engines last week.

Stories describe a science fiction-like monster that has invaded a nine-acre Maryland pond, attacks humans and anything else that moves, has the head of a snake, the body of a fish and can walk on land for up to three days in search of food. The resilient, air-breathing fish can thrive in any climate. They may be coming soon to a pond near you.

I decided it was time to know my piscine enemy. A quick call to the local fish market put my fins in a frenzy as I learned that they do, in fact, sell whole, frozen snakehead fish. I headed over there, and when I asked about the snakehead fish, they laughed at me.

"She's buying it?" one fish gut-covered worker guffawed to his cohort. Because the snakehead fish is considered a delicacy in Chinese and Thai recipes, it seems these folks were baffled to see a girl like me toting the ugly creature from their freezer. They should have seen me gutting it.

OK, so it wasn't really me who gutted it. It was all I could do to allow the toothy fish to thaw in my sink. By the time the ice melted I'd called some strong-stomached friends over. I wasn't going to be left alone with this wide-mouthed, sharp-toothed beast, dead or alive.

We pried open his jaws, hefted his tongue, admired his spiky teeth and fist-wide mouth. Then we lopped his head off, yanked his entrails and tossed him on the grill. He was delicious. And as much as I hate to say it, he tasted like-you guessed it-chicken. But this is good news. See, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton is trying to make it illegal to import live snakehead fish into the country (this activity began when someone bought a couple of live ones to put into soup, and then decided to just release them into said pond).

According to the L.A. Times, Norton wants the snakehead to be added to the U.S. list of "injurious wildlife."

"These fish are like something from a bad horror movie," Norton said at a press conference. "These fish are top-level predators. They'll eat virtually anything in their path."

But it appears that even with the ban, there won't be a shortage. The Maryland snakehead fish population is already approaching 100. There's talk of poisoning the lake, but creepy fish that walk from pond to pond on their strong pectoral fins don't seem to be deterred by poison. To me, this says that our marketplaces will soon be flooded with snakehead fish, which means they will be dirt cheap and filling the bellies of hungry Americans.

So look out for them at ponds, and look for them in markets. As I see it, we might as well bite them before they bite us.

Barbecued snakehead fish


1 Snakehead fish

2 tbsp. canola oil

1 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp. lime juice

1 tsp. sugar

jalapeno peppers (to taste)

salt and pepper (to taste)


Lop head off fish. Chop tail off fish. Yank out entrails. Discard. Slice fish down the center. Rinse off blood and marrow. Set aside. Combine other ingredients in food processor. Brush onto fish. Allow to marinate for about 20 minutes. Place on hot grill, skin side down. Cook about seven minutes, or until raw fish look is gone. Eat, but be careful not to swallow bones.