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Lexington, Louisville chefs bet their food, not their money, on Cats vs. Cards

The battle on Friday between the ­University of Kentucky and the ­University of ­Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA men’s ­basketball tournament is spilling over into ­Lexington and Louisville kitchens.
Bill Lynch, chef at The Bristol Bar & Grille in Louisville, is challenging Jeremy Ashby, chef/owner of Azur in Lexington, to a wager.
If the Louisville Cardinals lose to the Kentucky Wildcats in Indianapolis on Friday night, Lynch has agreed to wear Kentucky blue and serve Ashby’s signature dishes at Azur. If the ­Wildcats lose, Ashby will don ­Louisville red and serve patrons at The Bristol’s Hurstbourne Parkway ­restaurant.
A date for the dinner has not been ­announced. Go to and
Nick Ryan’s Saloon, 157 Jefferson Street, is celebrating the Kentucky-­Louisville game with all-night happy hour on Friday. In celebration of the Wildcats’ 26 wins, the restaurant will offer its 8-ounce filet mignon for $26; it’s regularly $29. If the Wildcats win, Nick Ryan’s will serve the special on Saturday for $27. Call (859) 233-7900 or go to
Special events
■ Seventeen ­wineries are participating in ­McConnell Springs’ 7th annual Wine ­Barrel ­Tasting on Saturday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at any participating winery. Call (859) 272-0682 or go to
During the event, Jean Farris Winery, 6825 Old Richmond Road, will offer a limited lunch menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ­Included are filet burger, smoked chicken salad, grilled chicken Caesar, shrimp and grits, and duck sausage pizza. Call (859) 263-9463 or go to
■ Kathy Archer will serve Howard’s Creek authentic beer cheese at the Taste of the South in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
Taste of the South was founded in 1982 by transplanted ­Southerners ­living in Washington. The group ­decided to host a party where they could share with Washington residents their love for all things ­Southern. Thirteen states are ­represented, and this year, Kentucky is the featured state, with ­proceeds going to West End School in ­Louisville. The free alternative school serves at-risk boys from preschool to eighth grade.
■ Sherrie Keller-Pauley and her husband, Ben Pauley, are back in the restaurant business in the same location where their original Three Suns Bistro was, 502 North Main Street in Nicholasville. The Pauleys’ Three Suns opened in 2000. It moved to Brannon Crossing in 2005 and closed in 2012.
Now called The Bistro, the ­restaurant will offer “some tried and true favorites from the Three Suns ­Bistro menu including pecan-fried chicken with praline glaze, lobster bisque, and our honey vinaigrette, a Kentucky Proud product,” Keller-­Pauley said. The menu includes hand-cut steaks, seafood, pasta, salads and burgers. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Call  (859) 221-3925.
First Watch Daytime Café is ­offering three new limited-time items for spring: lemon ricotta pancakes; AB&J waffle topped with almond butter, strawberry sauce and granola; and smoked salmon and roasted vegetable frittata. Locations are 3071 Richmond Road, (859) 899-3447; and 1080 South Broadway, (859) 252-2226. A new First Watch will open this spring on ­Winchester Road in front of Hobby Lobby. Go to
■ Saturday and Sunday specials at 1790 Row House Restaurant, 2117 Old Main Street in Washington, in Mason County, are Hawaiian chicken with grilled pineapple, pesto grilled shrimp, grilled pork chops, sausage quiche, and white chicken chili. Call (859) 907-6093. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Chef Jim Olert opens a grill in the country

AvonJim Olert, who teaches culinary skills to students at Southside Technical Center, has returned to a working kitchen. Olert and his wife, Elaine, have opened a grill at Avon Service Mart, near Bluegrass Station.
“It’s a cozy mom-and-pop country store that serves breakfast and lunch,” he said. “Our menu consists of an American flair with several comfort food choices. We have everything from burgers and hot dogs to chicken, pork and fish.”
Homemade items include sausage gravy, beer-battered onion rings, seasoned home fries, and fried pickles, Olert said. Daily specials can include meatball sandwiches, sloppy Joes, chili, or Kentucky hot Browns.
Olert is a graduate of Baltimore International Culinary College and has worked as sous chef at Roy and Nadine’s, kitchen manager at Café Joseph-Beth, banquet chef at the Hyatt Regency hotel, and executive chef at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park. He started teaching at Southside in 2004.
The grill is at 5569 Briar Hill Road. Hours are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ­Saturday. Call (859) 327-3212.
Special events

■ Town Branch master distiller Mark Coffman will introduce Town Branch rye at Jonathan at Gratz Park, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The cost is $20. Call (859) 252-4949. Jonathan is at 120 West Second Street.
■ If you missed the Fat Tuesday ­celebrations around town, you still can get Cajun specialties at Rick’s White Light Diner in Frankfort. The diner, featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives in 2010, serves oyster po’boys, crawfish pie, ­muffalettas and crawfish etouffee. New hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through ­Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ­Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Rick’s is at 114 Bridge Street. Call (502) 696-9104 or go to ­
■ Starting Friday, Thai Orchid Café will offer Lenten seafood specials including shrimp and greens, tom yum seafood noodle bowl, and crispy chili fish. The café is at 1030 South Broadway. Call (859) 288-2170 or go to
■ 1790 Row House Restaurant, 2117 Old Main Street, Washington, is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Specials include chicken Parmesan and Swiss steak on Saturday, and baked spaghetti and hot German potato casserole on Sunday. Call (859) 907-6093.
■ The Grey Goose, 170 Jefferson Street, is serving grilled Clare Island salmon with cream risotto and grilled asparagus as the weekend special. The pizza flavor is “sky high meat pie.” Call (859) 233-1500.
■ Jan Sullivan, chef/owner of Bakery Blessings & Bookstore @ the Bar, 1999 Harrodsburg Road, is ­making ­shamrock sugar cookies for St. ­Patrick’s Day parties. Soup specials are chunky Cheddar potato and tomato bisque. Call (859) 554-6044.
■ The color green reigns at ­Greentree Tearoom this month. The menu features potato leek soup, Irish oat scone with blackberry jam, ­spanakopita, corned beef, poppy seed egg salad and Benedictine tea ­sandwiches, Bailey’s fudge, and ­pistachio cupcakes. Greentree is at 521 West Short Street. Call (859) 455-9660 or go to

Cookbook giveaway: Martha Stewart’s Cakes

marthastewartcakesTo win a copy of Martha Stewart’s Cakes, (Potter, $24.99) simply send us an old-fashioned cake recipe that’s been in your family for generations. Or, if you have a favorite cake recipe you’ve perfected, send that one. E-mail recipes to We’ll choose a winner on Feb.13.

Becki Owens of Richmond was the winner of last week’s cookbook giveaway.

Ring in Lunar new year with tofu recipes

Today marks the Lunar New Year, the year of the horse. Here are two easy recipe from  House Foods Tofu to serve your family.

chinesetofuChinese tofu dumplings

 1 package (14 ounces) House Foods Premium or Organic Tofu firm, drained and pressed
1  package (8 ounches) House Foods Tofu Shirataki angel hair noodles; drained, rinsed and cut into 1/2” length pieces
1 package House Foods small round wraps
½ cup dry wood ear mushrooms, diced (optional)
½ cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 ½  cups cabbage, chopped
1 carrot, diced
½  teaspoon ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil, plus more for frying
Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in large pan over medium-high heat.  Crumble the tofu into the pan and add noodles, mushrooms, carrot, cabbage, ginger and garlic and heat for a few minutes.  When the tofu and mushrooms are cooked through, add scallions and soy sauce and mix well.

Add 1 tablespoon of the tofu mixture into each wrap.  Moisten the edges of the wrap with water, fold in half and press to seal, making a few pinches or folds to create a fan-like shape.  Repeat for remaining dumplings.

Add sesame oil and dumplings to pan, a few at a time, and brown on each side (about a minute or two).  Add about 1 tablespoon of water to the pan and cover, allowing wraps to steam.  Once water evaporates, remove dumplings to a plate.  Repeat for remaining dumplings. Makes about 20 dumplings.


noodlesoup001Chinese tofu shirataki noodle soup

 2 packages (8 ounces each)  House Foods tofu shirataki spaghetti noodles, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 low sodium chicken bouillon cube

½ cup green onion, chopped
1 head baby bok choy
1 teaspoon ginger, crushed
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)

 In a large pan, heat sesame oil.  Add ginger, garlic and green onion and cook for 1 minute.  Add bok choy and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
In a separate large pot, boil 6 cups of water, add bouillon cube and cook until it dissolves.  Add soy sauce if using.  Add vegetables, chicken and tofu shirataki noodles to the pot.  Simmer for 10 minutes and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Today’s quick take: Sweet corn chowder

Terrific recipes ready in less than 30 minutes.

Prep time: 12 minutes

Cook time: 4- 7 minutes


Sweet corn chowder

5 bacon strips, diced

1 small leek, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme or winter savory, or 12 teaspoon dried

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cups milk

2 cups cream

2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (preferably fresh)

Brown the bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

Add the leek, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste to the pot and sauté until the leek is softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes, milk, and cream, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer (do not boil) until the potatoes are tender.

Add the corn and continue to simmer until the corn is tender, about 4 minutes for fresh or 7 minutes for frozen. Serve hot.

Variations:  When the corn is tender, stir 12 cup sautéed mushrooms or 1 cup cooked shrimp into the soup, bring up to heat, and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Soup Night by Maggie Stuckeysoup-night-cover-3d-full


Alfalfa is serving holiday brunch on Monday


Alfalfa, 141 East Main Street, will be serving brunch on Monday, Martin Luther King Day. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Specials are raspberry-almond pancakes and Boone Creek  Creamery asiago, spinach and mushroom omelet. Call  (859) 253-0014 or go to

Who makes the best soup?

100121soup057The Polar Vortex has left Central Kentucky, but we still have several weeks of low temperatures to battle. One of the best ways to warm up is with a bowl of hot soup or stew.

Does your favorite restaurant serve great soup? Let us know who makes the tastiest soup, and why it’s the best, and we’ll share your responses with other readers in a couple of weeks. E-mail or leave a message at (859) 231-3321.

Bru Burger Bar is open in Beaumont Centre

Burgers have taken over the spot where Mexican once reigned. The former El Chico in Beaumont Centre now is Bru Burger Bar. The menu at the gourmet burger place also features  salads, sandwiches, and craft beers.  Burgers choices include the Bru (Taleggio cheese, bacon, tomato jam, caramelized onion); Roma (arugula pesto, prosciutto, roasted red peppers); Kentucky bourbon (bacon, peppercorn-bourbon glaze, horseradish havarti); lamb (cucumber sauce, feta-olive relish); and ground turkey (carrot-ginger slaw, peach compote). Bru is at 3010 Lakecrest Circle. Call (859) 305-0082 or go to


Brown’s Bakery, 1226 Versailles Road, is closing the end of December. Owner James Brown said he has a “new venture, and I can’t wait.” We’ll have to wait until Brown, who participated on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and also appeared on Season 3 of TLC’s Next Great Baker, is ready to tell us.  Call (859) 225-8400 or go to
House Food & Wine, 207 South Limestone, has closed. “The time commitment was too much for us with our other businesses,” owner David Jones said.

New Year celebrations

Alfalfa, 141 East Main Street, is serving its annual New Year’s Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Specials include raspberry almond pancakes and spinach mushroom omelets. Call (859) 253-0014 or go to
Natasha’s Bistro, 112 Esplanade, is planning a romantic New Year’s Eve  dinner with a four-course prix fixe menu for $60, as well as an a la carte menu. There will be strolling musicians during dinner and at the party afterwards. Seating is from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Half price movie tickets are available for those dining early and going to the Kentucky Theatre to see  “Nebraska” or “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”  Call (859) 259-2754 or go to
Thai Orchid Café, 1030 South Broadway,  will be closed Sunday through Christmas Day, and Jan. 1. The café will be open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve, and the party begins at 5 p.m. featuring a  three-course meal for  $25.95. Call (859) 288-2170 or go to

Holiday menus

Bakery Blessings & Bookstore @ the Bar, 1999 Harrodsburg Road,  is accepting last minute orders for Christmas pies, cakes, and goodies. The bakery will be open Christmas Eve until 2 p.m. with no lunch service, closed Christmas Day, and Thursday. Call (859) 554-6044.
Double H BBQ, 1244 Versailles Road, is offering country ham by the pound through the holidays. Also available are smoked pulled pork or chicken, brisket, ribs, 24- and 48-piece wing platters, burgoo, homemade sides, and desserts.  Call (859) 523- 4227 or go to
Red State BBQ,  4020 Georgetown Road, is taking orders for smoked turkeys for holiday meals. “We get our turkeys fresh from Critchfield Meats and will be taking orders right up to close of business on Friday,” owner David Carroll said. Pickup for the turkeys is before 6 p.m. Christmas Eve. Cost is $5 a pound.
The restaurant is offering smoked prime rib as the Friday night special. Cost is $16.50 for 8-ounce prime rib, and $19 for 10 ounces.Red State is offering a 10 percent discount with a Southern Lights ticket stub through Dec. 31. Call  (859) 233-7898 or go to

Weekend specials

■ People who like lamb fries will travel great distances to eat them, and when The Julep Cup offers the southern delicacy as a special, people “drive in from all sorts of counties,” chef/owner Lindsay Brooks Brugh said. Call (859) 226-0300 or go to The restaurant is at 111 Woodland Avenue.
The Grey Goose, 170 Jefferson Street, is serving prime rib pizza and Clare Island salmon with a teriyaki glaze on Friday and Saturday. Call (859) 233-1500 or go to

Plan your weekend around these food events

cravelexington Crave Lexington food and music festival is this weekend at MoonDance at Midnight Pass amphitheater, 1152 ­Monarch Street, inside Beaumont Circle. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Local restaurants will provide samples of their specialties, and chefs will offer demonstrations on how to make fresh pasta and cook with ­chilies. Food vendors include: A la lucie, ­Athenian Grill, Azur, Cole’s 735 Main, Holly Hill Inn, Enoteca, Furlongs Cajun, La Petite Creperie, Masala Indian Cuisine, Crank & Boom Craft Ice Cream, The Midway School Bakery, Red State BBQ and Yamaguchi’s Sake & Tapas. Go to

Bourbon n’ Toulouse and Kentucky Mudworks join forces once a year for a charity event that benefits those who donate as well as the recipients.
Kentucky Mudworks has been ­working for months making more than 700 one-of-a-kind ceramic bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraiser. You can buy a bowl at Bourbon n’ Toulouse, 829 Euclid Avenue, for $15 beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. The staff will fill it for free with a Cajun specialty.
Proceeds go to Moveable Feast, which prepares and delivers hot, freshly cooked meals to people living with AIDS/HIV-related illnesses and ­individuals who are patients of Hospice of the Bluegrass. Go to or
Woodford Reserve Distillery will have its first Woodford County Low Country-style shrimp boil Saturday. Shrimp farmer and Woodford Reserve chef-de-cuisine Nat Henton will harvest freshwater shrimp that morning and serve a shrimp boil from 5 to 10 p.m. The boil will include potatoes and sausage and be served alongside kale with apples, toasted walnuts, midnight and moon cheese, cheese grits, ­vegetable mélange and fresh apple cobbler. Tickets are $50. The distillery is at 7855 ­McCracken Pike, Versailles. Call (859) 879-1953 or email
Marikka’s Restaurant & Bier Stube, 411 Southland Drive, is celebrating Oktoberfest through Oct. 12. Dinner specials include: halbhuhn, rouladen, schweinhaxen and Munich brat Reuben. Marikka’s German Trio will entertain Friday and Saturday, and Sept. 27 and Oct. 11 to 12. Call (859) 275-1925 or go to

New menus

■ Parking has always been a ­troublesome issue for downtown ­restaurants, but Natasha’s Bistro now makes parking easier for its clientele. The restaurant at 112 Esplanade will ­validate parking in the Chase Bank Tower parking garage, across the street.
Now’s a good time to try Natasha’s new menu, which includes pan-seared Scottish salmon; Lexington Pasta’s orecchiette tossed with fresh tomatoes and arugula; sautéed mussels; and a crab cake dinner. Call (859) 259-2754 or go to
First Watch has a new seasonal menu that runs through Nov. 3. The pumpkin pancake breakfast returns for fall along with roasted butternut squash quinoa bowl and butternut squash soup. Locations are 3071 Richmond Road, (859) 899-3447, and 1080 South ­Broadway, (859) 252-2226.Go to ­

Farmers market report

Bluegrass Farmers’ Market visitors will find 100 percent homegrown corn, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, lamb, goat, chicken, beef, pork, baked goods, herb seasoning,  jams, wine, eggs, cut flowers and ­homemade soap. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. ­Saturday at 3450 Richmond Road. Go to

Holiday cookbook will feature recipes from readers

holidayphoto (26) 

In attics, long-unopened cabinet drawers, and basement storage bins, you’ll find yellowed copies of past Herald-Leader holiday cookbooks.

Sometimes a reader will call to say he or she has found their mother’s stained and splattered copy of a cookbook and share memories. A number of readers call each fall to ask if the newspaper will print another cookbook.  This is the year. On Nov. 7, we’ll print another holiday edition featuring recipes from our readers. If you would like to be included, please mail your favorite holiday recipe, or two, to Sharon Thompson, Lexington Herald-Leader, 100 Midland Avenue, Lexington, Ky. 40508. E-mail recipes to

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