Chefs are taking advantage of bountiful local produce to jazz up their summer menus.
The staff at Portofino is growing herbs in a small garden outside the restaurant's kitchen at 249 East Main Street. The chefs are harvesting basil to make caprese salad with tomatoes from heirloom grower Roland McIntosh. The plot also contains thyme, chives, rosemary, oregano, lemon verbena, winter savory, mint, lavender and tarragon. Call (859) 253-9300 or go to Portofinolexington.com.
Portofino and its sister restaurant, Serafini in downtown Frankfort, recently received Awards of Excellence for 2012 from Wine Spectator. The magazine award recognizes outstanding wine lists and menu offerings. Serafini is at 243 West Broadway. Call (502) 875-5599 or go to Serafinifrankfort.com.
Billy's Bar-B-Q, 101 Cochran Road, is serving locally grown tomatoes, with cucumber dressing, and sweet corn. Also new on the menu is a South Carolina-style mustard barbecue sauce. Call (859) 269-9593 or go to Billysbarbq.com.
■ Evans Orchard will have its annual sweet corn festival from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Entertainment includes a corn-eating contest, pony rides and live music. The menu offers corn on the cob, pulled pork sandwiches and funnel cakes. The orchard is at 180 Stone Road in Georgetown.
■ Sondra Strunk will offer samples of her newest item from Sondra's Wine Creations at Good Foods Market & Cafe on Saturday. She will have samples of red pepper-chocolate wine candy from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the market, 455 Southland Drive.
■ The next community table series at Oliva Bella, 400 Old Vine Street, begins Saturday. "Eat, Drink and Cook Italian" is "our version of a cooking class, which in reality will be more of an Italian cooking party," owner Lea Ann Vessels said. The cost is $85 a session and includes an apron, a recipe book, food and beverages. Dates and topics for the classes, 2 to 3:30 p.m., are: Saturday, over-the-top summer antipasto platters; Aug. 4, rustic Italian summer lunches; Aug. 18, Italian summer pizzas; and Sept. 8, top five pasta sauces. Call (859) 983-3567 or go to Olivabella.com.
■ Sabio Restaurant & Bar, 380 South Mill Street, will have wine tastings, and chef Javier Lanza will teach food preparation classes 5:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays. This week, wines include Quinta do Portal Collheita Tinto 2009, Whiplash Redemption and Robertson Winery gerwurztraminer from South Africa. Sabio is at 380 South Mill Street, in the old Dudley's space. Call (859) 368-9901 or go to Sabiodudleysquare.com.
■ Abuelo's Mexican Restaurant at Fayette Mall, 3395 Nicholasville Road, will celebrate National Tequila Day on Tuesday. Margaritas will be $5.95. Call (859) 971-0922 or go to Abuelos.com.
■ McAlister's Deli, 836 Euclid Avenue, is having Free Tea Day on July 26. Guests who visit any McAlister's Deli will get a free 32-ounce McAlister's Famous Sweet Tea. No coupon is required, and no purchase is necessary. Go to Mcalistersdeli.com or call (859) 368-9880.
■ The Dish, 438 South Ashland Avenue, is celebrating its fourth anniversary July 28. Happy-hour specials, 4 to 6 p.m., include $2 off appetizers and $7 original martinis and cocktails. The Baja Yetis will entertain from 7 to 10 p.m. Jalapeño and cornbread crab cakes are back on the menu for summer. New items include scallops in tomato yogurt sauce; vegetarian paella; ribeye with blackberry and red wine sauce; and a variety of gluten-free dishes. Seating is limited for the anniversary party. Call (859) 317-8438 or go to Thedishlex.com.
Farmers market reports
■ Azur Restaurant's farmers bazaar is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays on the patio. The market features local farmers and artisans. Azur is at 3070 Lakecrest Circle. Call (859) 296-1007 or go to Azurrestaurant.com.
■ Bluegrass Farmers Market has corn, melons, tomatoes and berries. Locations and hours are: 3450 Richmond Road, in the Pedal the Planet and Fast Signs parking lot, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday; and 730 Millpond Road, in the parking lot of the Willow Oak Pool, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday. Go to Localharvest.org/blog/29529.
■ Woodford County Farmers Market will have its 12th annual Twilight Festival from 6 to 10 p.m. July 27 in downtown Versailles. There will be kids' activities, pony rides, food, live music, talent show, and local crafts and artists.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.