Sharon Thompson: Fish fry at Azur promotes invasive Asian carp as seafood choice

swthompson@herald-leader.comSeptember 19, 2013 

Jeremy Ashby, executive chef at Azur Restaurant, is joining the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to promote Asian carp as an inexpensive source of domestic seafood.

"These fish have a light taste and excellent texture," Ashby said.

The Asian carp was imported to the United States in the 1970s to control algae and micro-invertebrates in extremely fertile waters, including aquaculture or sewage treatment ponds. It took only 30 years for the population to explode and create massive ecological and economic problems, Ashby said.

The Asian carp populations are choking out other native fish species and threaten to destroy important economies in Western Kentucky that rely on fishing and recreational boating, Ashby said.

Tickets for Azur's fish fry, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, are $30, with $10 going to Fish and Wildlife Resources to continue efforts to promote commercial harvest of Asian carp. A new processing facility is under construction in Wickliffe.

Call (859) 296-1007 or go to Azurrestaurant.com.

Special events

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 Cravelexington.com.

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 Feastlex.org or Facebook.com/Bourbon.n.Toulouse.

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 Catering@b-f.com.

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 Marikkas.com.

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 Beetnik.com.

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 Firstwatch.com.

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 Bluegrassfarmersmarket.org.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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