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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. (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.

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.

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. 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 Simple society

Cluttered homes, lives, and minds are easily attainable in our short-attention span world, as though the goal is multi-tasking practically every minute of the day. Like juggling delicate glass vessels of civic, social, family, and work responsibilities, each depends upon the movement of the others to remain consistent so that there is an even flow and a graceful appearance of ease. Unfortunately, things, for some of us, rarely run this smoothly and it is during these peak moments of frustration that we should remind ourselves that we need to simplify, get back to the basics, and be thankful for the gifts that we have.

Being grateful for the simple gifts was a core tenet for the Shakers, who believed that you should do your work as if you would live for a thousand years and live your life as if you might die tomorrow. Their goals were to be kind and hospitable, pure in thought and spirit, and hard working. Clean lines represent their architectural style, as fresh from the earth represents their food. Unadorned and hearty meals were served to any hungry guests that would appear at their open door. Today, thanks to many who wanted to preserve the buildings and beliefs of the Shakers to educate others about this culture so exemplary at simplicity, we have a glimpse into their way of life.

Driving to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill near Harrodsburg is a nice escape, with rounding curves that arrive at pristine buildings and rock wall surrounded fields of various photogenic farm animals. This National Historic Landmark encompasses 2,800 acres of farmland that once was the home to members of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, from 1805-1923. The grounds are open seven days a week with tours, nature walks, hiking and horseback trails, carriage rides, and a riverboat excursion. Overnight lodging is available in several of the original Shaker houses.

Food is served in the Trustees' House, which has four dining rooms with large windows that look out onto the fields, gardens, and 19th century clapboard and brick buildings that have been restored. There are smooth wooden floors, tables and chairs, and the only indoor lighting in the rooms is from white candles in hurricane lamps on the tables and candled sconces hanging from the pegged rails that run along each wall. The plates and linens are crisp white, the flatware and glasses have weight to them, and everything is functional as well as beautiful. These rooms are always busy, so call for a reservation; seatings are on the quarter hour.

"Midday Fare" is the lunch served Monday through Saturday and begins with a wooden bowl heaping with coleslaw and a basket of cornbread sticks with butter for the table to share. There are several entrées to choose from that change daily and are accompanied with three vegetables and a choice of one of the daily soups. The day that I visited, the soups were Vegetarian Vegetable and Tomato Celery, and were served with a small basket of crackers, both water and toasted savory seed, wrapped in a linen napkin. Fried Catfish, Hearty Open Faced Sandwich, Vegetable Plate, and Shaker Best are the "dishes of the day" so I chose the Shaker Best: turkey and dressing, new potato, asparagus spears, and zesty carrot casserole, which was a rich carrot and horseradish dish. Also sandwiches of roasted turkey, country ham, and chicken salad, as well as garden, gelatin, and fruit salads are served alongside the soup of the day.

"Daily Fare" is served in the evening, Monday through Saturday, all day on Sunday, and is one of the favorite meals for three reasons. First, it is served in four courses, excluding dessert; second, the Relish Bowl, a large wooden bowl of olives, baby corn, radishes, green onions, pickles, etc.; and third, Egg and Aspic, a hard boiled egg in a beef broth aspic on anchovy toast. Any of these three independently would make me a very happy girl, believe it or not.

The menu is set up so that there are specific choices for food served each course, all included in the price of the entrée. It begins with the wonderful Relish Bowl and Cornbread Sticks, and then goes on to the appetizer, which could be soup, fruit of the season, fruit juice, or Egg and Aspic. The salad service choices are coleslaw, mixed greens, or a seasonal salad. The entrees repeat some of what is on the midday menu, (Baked Country Ham, Pan Fried Catfish, and Vegetable Plate) but also include Fried Chicken and Ribeye Steak, all of which are served with three vegetables and hot breads. The Village gardens produce much of the food that is served at the Trustees' House, as the menu adapts to changes in seasons.

Visiting the epitome reinforced my belief that simplicity is attainable; less chaos, more meditation. The amount of incredible work (craft, farming, building) that the Shakers accomplished while inviting anyone into their midst makes my dilemma of balancing all of my objectives and goals seem silly. Be thankful for the simple gifts.

Please email your culinary heads-ups to Karen at