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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 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.

Common Grounds

343 East High Street 233-9761 Voted #1 coffeehouse year after year by ACE readers. Fresh treats available daily in the bakery. Night life is great, too: Open mic Mondays, vinyl record night on Tuesdays (Bring your own jazz or blues!). Call about art exhibits.

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.

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.

l Stocking Stuffers

Amid ho-ho-hos and Clement C. Moore inspired daydreams, I have begun getting the house ready for this Christmas season. My checklist, now finished, is as follows: the tree is up and 500 lights later, looks great, the slate mantels are decorated with greenery, the bar is being repainted, and Elvis Christmas songs are floating through the air. With this done, normally I would start worrying about what I would be cooking this season, but since I am currently only using a two-burner, microwave and a grill, no one wants me to cook. Instead, my thoughts have turned to kitchen and entertainment gift giving.

Local home furnishing shops are so much fun to browse; the selections are unique and the personal service is incomparable. I went to three stores that I really enjoy, each for different reasons, in search of food and drink gifts specifically for Christmas stockings that I will be sending to my sisters. The items needed to be small, interesting, and of a fair price because it can take quite a few gifts to fill a stocking.

Decoratifs is a wonderful place to start because the store is dressed to the nines for the holidays and it should help you acquire the holiday shopping spirit. The atmosphere inside is warm, has a formal whimsy about it, and the store is literally filled to the ceiling with merchandise.

The stocking gifts that I found here would be great additions to any hosts' entertaining supplies. Really lovely antique reproductions of buffet serving pieces ($9, silverplate over brass and made in India), are available in the styles of macaroni, fish and a pie/sandwich server. Other silverplate items include beaded julep cups (small, $6.50 and large, $12), and a wine coaster with a wooden bottom ($16). White linen beverage napkins are embroidered with ivy or Christmas trees ($17.50 for four) and holiday needlepoint coasters ($29.50) come in several designs.

Mulberry & Lime is a gorgeous new store that encompasses the front, first floor space of a huge old house that is replete with architectural novelties and is an open space with several rooms, all very charming.

Gifts from this store that I really like are afternoon-tea-in-an-old-farmhouse-kitchen oriented. There are beautiful, rich-colored tea towels in French designs ($15), and bright Provencal colored fabric breadbaskets ($24) that start out flat and then tie on the corners making a square. Elmwood Inn is represented through teas, cheese wafers, scone and shortbread mix, lemon and cranberry curd (various prices), and several designs of Bridgewater Pottery from England including white-with-blue-stars sugar ($38), creamer ($26) and children's tea set ($175) with little chickens around it. There are also many types of table linens that would fit snugly into a stocking.

White Wash, at No. 8 Chevy Chase Place, is a store that offers white, modern, fun, and kitsch merchandise. As soon as you walk in, you are met with shelves of gleaming white platters waiting for a splash of color and behind that, rows of unique home furnishing accessories.

Of all of my favorite things at this store, the hand-carved, polished horn spoon ($6.50) and spreader ($6) are perfect for caviar and unbelievably unavailable at other stores in Lexington. I have searched high and low for caviar spoons and am very excited to have found some locally. They are small, inexpensive, very handsome, and necessary for holiday entertaining - a great gift.

There are very modern, brushed aluminum stylized pieces such as slender chopsticks ($52) that break down like a cue stick and have a red rest, as well as salt and pepper shakers ($59) that are shaped like a pen and have a tiny knob that opens and closes them. These are unique and definitely for showing off.

The last thing that I found that is perfect for a stocking is coal. I have a friend that has a stocking with "brat" written on it, which is full of coal, appropriately, and he is so proud. White Wash has blackberry bubble gum in a black box called "Coal" ($5), and written on the side is, "it's all you get because you've been very bad." This is great and I'm sure that I can find someone in need of this gift.

Christmas stockings are fun to give (and receive) because the only rule is that the gifts must be able to fit inside, which leaves lots of creative leeway. Candy, tools, books and toys can all be found at local merchants, who are happy to assist you with ideas for this project, and the end result (smiles, giggles, etc.) is worth all of the effort.

Please email your culinary heads-ups to Karen at