Sharon Thompson: It's Mardi Gras; eat up and enjoy

swthompson@herald-leader.comFebruary 27, 2014 Updated 17 hours ago

Sharon Thompson

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF — mcornelison@herald-leader.com

Snow and freezing temperatures in Louisiana have put a chill on Mardi Gras celebrations in Lexington. The crawfish aren't eating and they're likely to be smaller than normal. Still, the limited amount of crawfish won't halt crawfish boils at Fat Tuesday parties.

Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, is Tuesday, the last day before the season of Lent begins. Here's what some Central Kentucky places have planned.

Furlong's owner Tommy Walters has been in contact with Louisiana fishermen, and he's telling customers not to expect an abundance of large crawfish. "It's the worst beginning to any crop people my age have ever seen," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get some crawfish that are a nice size. "The good news is that we'll probably have crawfish all summer long."

The menu for Tuesday's party at Furlong's includes crawfish etouffée, shrimp etouffée, gumbo, jambalaya, boudin and andouille sausage. Furlong's is at 130 West Tiverton Way. Call (859) 523-5500.

Bourbon n' Toulouse's annual Fat Tuesday party is so big it spills over to Chevy Chase Inn, The Beer Trappe and other bars and restaurants in the neighborhood. "We'll be serving up bulk orders all weekend long for people who can't make it down here on Tuesday," owner Kevin Heathcoat said.

The Cajun specialties, except boiled crawfish and alligator etouffée, are available by the quart and gallon for carry-out. The deadline for orders is Monday. Call (859) 335-0300 or email Catering@ilovecajun.com.

Tuesday's festivities begin at 11 a.m., and the menu includes alligator etouffée and king cake from Sunrise Bakery. The crawfish boil starts at 6:30 p.m. Bourbon n' Toulouse is at 829 Euclid Avenue.

CCI, 833 Euclid Avenue, opens at 11 a.m. to allow for more places for diners to sit (you must be 21, but you don't have to buy drinks). The Tall Boys will entertain from 7 to 9 p.m.

Also starting at 11 a.m., diners 21 and older may take their food to The Beer Trappe, 811 Euclid Avenue.

■ One of Lexington's largest Mardi Gras parties is at The Red Mile Clubhouse, 1200 Red Mile Road. Bayou Bluegrass Catering serves a lunch buffet that includes sausage gumbo, crawfish pie and bread pudding. The dinner menu features fried alligator and catfish, shrimp etouffée, seafood gumbo, smoked beef brisket and Cajun fried turkey.

Lunch, $16.50 a person, is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner seatings, $29.50, are at 5:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Call (859) 621-3912 or go to Bayoubluegrass.com.

■ A la Lucie, 159 North Limestone, is having a Big Easy/Fat Tuesday party that features shrimp Creole, oysters, beignets and king cake. Call (859) 252-5277 or go to Alalucie.com.

Ramsey's Diners will have its 25th annual Fat Tuesday celebration at all locations. "We'll be flying 1,200 pounds of live crawfish in from New Orleans," owner Rob Ramsey said. Also on the menu are seafood gumbo and king cakes baked by Missy's Pies. Go to Ramseysdiners.com for addresses.

Gumbo Ya Ya, 1080 South Broadway, will begin its 11th annual Fat Tuesday celebration on Friday. Chef-owner Greg Todd will serve alligator sauce piquant and several crawfish dishes through Tuesday. Tuesday's festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. with free slices of king cake and Ale-8-One soft drinks. Order party packs or king cakes at (859) 252-9292 or go to Gumboyayaky.com.

Willie's Locally Known, 805 North Broadway, will have a crawfish boil beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday, along with gumbo, jambalaya, king cake and beignets. Live music will feature the Baja Yetis. Call (859) 281-1116 or go to Willieslex.com.

■ The lunch and dinner menus at Nick Ryan's Saloon, 157 Jefferson Street, will feature crawfish etouffée and shrimp Creole. Call (859) 233-7900 or go to Nickryans.com.

The Blue Heron Steakhouse, 185 Jefferson Street, will serve smoked chicken-andouille gumbo, chargrilled or fried oysters, blackened redfish with crawfish etouffée, duck and shrimp jambalaya, and beignets with dark chocolate espresso sauce. Go to Blueheronsteakhouse.com or call (859) 254-2491.

Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles will begin its Mardi Gras celebration at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with a tour of the historic distillery. A Cajun buffet will be served at 7:30 p.m. in the Dryer House. The menu includes jambalaya, crawfish, baby back ribs, king cake and chocolate bread pudding. The cost is $50. The distillery is at 7855 McCracken Pike. Call (859) 879-1953 or email catering@ b-f.com.

Special events

TAI on Rye, the pop-up, New York-style deli at Temple Adath Israel, returns Sunday. Specials include matzo ball soup and homemade rugelach, a rolled pastry with a nut filling. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Temple Adath Israel is at 124 North Ashland Avenue. Go to Lextai.org.

Wines on Vine, 400 Old Vine Street, is hosting Caitlin Craig, who will pour wines from Willamette Valley Winery in Oregon from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Brian Miracle of Failla Winery in California will be at the store from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 18. Tastings are free. Call (859) 243-0017.

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

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