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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 Pomme D'amoure

The Italians call it pomo d'oro, or golden apple because many of the early varieties were indeed yellow or golden in color; the Italian word for the tomato today is pomodoro. The romantic French, on the other hand, originally referred to tomatoes as pomme d'amoure, literally apple of love, because they considered it to have aphrodisiac properties.

The name "love apple" stuck and was referred to as such by both the French and English well into the 19th century. The Spaniards, though, adopted the name tomate, which they still use today. Tomate is actually a derivative of it's original Aztec name, tomatl; the name was eventually adopted by the French, as was a variation in the English language, hence our current wording as tomato.

Tomatoes are available throughout the year and in every corner of our vast country. Today - even in the dead of winter - there's always a bountiful supply. And with new technologies they certainly look like tomatoes, but they are often mere imposters of the real thing - true summer tomatoes that are ripened on their vines and grown within the region they are consumed.

I wonder, sometimes, what the world must have been like prior to these "technological advances" that enable a person to purchase foods with no regard to season.

During the winter months one did not expect to eat foods such as tomatoes unless they were dried or canned. Fresh tomatoes in the off months simply weren't an option.

Such luxuries were highly desired and anticipated, and - at least for cooking purposes - provide an acceptable alternative to seasonal home-grown.

While the tomato is actually a fruit by botanical standards, it is generally thought of and eaten as a vegetable. In fact, in 1893 the tomato was ruled a vegetable by the United States Supreme Courts, a ruling that was evidently created for trade purposes. The tomato is one of the world's most popular vegetables and has greatly changed some of the most influential cuisines. The U.S. is still the largest producer of tomatoes in the world, and on average we consume 18 pounds fresh and 70 pounds processed tomatoes per person each year. Tomatoes are also the most popular vegetable for backyard gardeners - as the fake spring turns our thoughts to gardening - more than 25 million people in our country plant tomatoes in their gardens each year. The popularity of tomatoes should come as no surprise; they are extremely easy to grow and are one of the most versatile vegetables. Besides the obvious options such as raw in salads, and cooked in soups and sauces, they can also be used in sweet confections, such as tomato ice or sorbet. Actually, in the first half of the twentieth century tomato soup cake was a common treat, not unlike carrot cake.

The real paradox, though, is that while tomatoes have been consumed by the peoples of South and Central America for millennia, and are ubiquitous in cultures around the globe today, they were considered poisonous when first encountered by European explorers. This misconception, no doubt, was most likely caused by their relation to the deadly nightshade plant (a botanical category that includes potatoes and eggplant, which were also at one point considered poisonous). And also some early skeptics are said to have mistakenly consumed the leaves of the plant instead of the fruit. If this is true the tomato's early reputation would have been appropriate because the plant's leaves and stem are toxic.

Tomatoes played a major role in the "Columbus Exchange," a phrase used in historical and anthropological circles which makes reference to the foods exchanged between the new and old worlds during the first European explorations of what would later become the Americas. Thus, it wasn't until the fifteenth century that Mediterranean countries - whose cuisines utilize tomatoes extensively - ever saw their first tomato.

Italy did have pasta but not with tomato sauce. It was generally tossed with spices, nuts, herbs and chicken - methods and seasonings borrowed from the Greeks and Arabs. And the famous Mediterranean soups such as bouillabaisse, soupe de poissons, kakavia and zuppa di pesce also existed, but they were probably white and, more likely than not, thickened with egg and lemon as with the Greek avgolemono. Today, of course, it's almost impossible to imagine these cuisines without the tomato.

Eventually brave souls began to eat and cook with tomatoes and discovered their culinary versatility.

Besides tasting great, tomatoes are also very good for you. One medium tomato (about 1 cup chopped) is more than 90 percent water and contains a mere 35 calories. It also contains 35% of a person's recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and 15 percent recommended vitamin A. In addition, tomatoes are naturally sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and high in fiber (1 medium tomato has approximately the same amount of fiber as a slice of whole wheat bread).

Tomatoes are at their peak during the summer months, the rest of the year canned tomatoes will do for sauce making, and sundried tomatoes are a good alternative for salads. Look for tomatoes that are plump, somewhat uniform in shape, juicy, and seem heavy for their size. They should be free from blemishes and smell distinctly of the fruit. Fresh tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and never refrigerated; the cold temperature makes their flesh pulpy and robs them of flavor.

Try this for a Valentine menu; let us know if the aphrodisiac part is correct.

Plum Tomato Coulis (for Chicken, Seafood, or Pasta) Yield: 1 quart

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 pounds plum tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup white wine

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

6 large leaves fresh basil

Sauté the fine diced shallots and garlic in olive oil until translucent but not browned. Add diced tomatoes, white wine, salt, pepper and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower it to a simmer, and cook the tomatoes for 20-30 minutes. In batches, transfer the sauce to a blender and purée until smooth. Strain the tomato coulis through a fine sieve, and if needed, finish the sauce with a pat or two of butter

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