Brace yourselves, burger fans: Lexington Burger Week returns July 11 through 17, with 35 local restaurants planning special burgers, according to organizer Smiley Pete Publications. Each burger will be $5, and chefs are encouraged to make their most unique creations (expect lots of sriracha mayo and kimchi this year). Blue Stallion craft beer pairings are suggested for many burgers. Organizers warn fans to prepare to be patient because restaurants will run out most nights and are likely to have waits to get in. Last year, more than 21,000 burgers were sold.
This year’s restaurants will include A&W, Al’s Bar & Beer Garden, AP Suggins, Athenian Grill (both locations), Banners Bar & Grill, Brasabana, Bru Burger, BurgerFi, The Cellar Bar & Grille, Charlie Brown’s, Cheapside Bar & Grill, Cheddar’s (both Lexington locations), Collins 300 Grill (Southland Bowling Lanes), Columbia Steakhouse downtown, County Club, Drake’s, Enoteca, Frisch’s Big Boy, Harry’s (both locations), Jax Burgers & Brews, JDI Grill & Tavern, The Ketch, Lexington Diner, Life Brewpub, Locals’, Lynagh’s, Napa Prime, Nick Ryan’s, Parkette Drive-in, The Pub, Shamrock’s Bar & Grille, Smithtown Seafood, Stella’s Kentucky Deli, Street Craves/Freakin’ Unbelievable Burgers, Wallace Station and Willie’s Locally Known.
▪ All four Ramsey’s restaurants are kicking off Corn Daze with fresh corn picked daily at Gallrein Farm in Shelbyville and fresh vine-ripened tomatoes from both Lincoln county and Southfork Farm in Owsley County. Daily veggies, in addition to the normal 21 fresh veggies, now include corn on the cob; fried corn; creamed corn; Parmesan deep-fried corn on the cob; marinated cucumbers, onions and tomatoes; sliced tomatoes with cottage cheese; okra, corn and tomatoes; fried green tomatoes; and sliced tomatoes with dressing. Available at 151 West Zandale, 4053 Tates Creek Center, 3090 Helmsdale Drive, and 4391 Harrodsburg Road.
▪ Mark your calendars: Next weekend Azur Restaurant and Patio, 3070 Lakecrest Circle, is having a Farmers Market Brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 9 featuring the wares of Emmett Farms, Clark Farms and Hokhman Farm. Chef Jeremy Ashby will prepare a buffet of sausage, corn, egg and sweet onion souffle; Swiss chard vegetable and cheese burritos; Weisenburger cheese grits with summer ratatouille; southern-style popovers with local preserves; roasted potato, leek and tomato hash; zucchini bread French toast with blueberry and peach bourbon sauce; local corned beef with poached eggs and bearnaise; bloody Mary heirloom tomato salad; chilled cucumber and basil soup; yogurt, fruit and local granola parfait; and bourbon fried chicken and cream gravy. Call 859-296-1007 for reservations.
Azur also is starting a new supper series, Blue Jeans and BBQ on Sundays. For $20 a person, you get two chef-inspired grilled entrees and a variety of farmers market sides, served buffet-style on the patio. The menu changes weekly. Call 859-296-1007 for reservations.
▪ Alfalfa, 141 East Main Street, will celebrate Spanish cuisine for International Night on July 6. From 5:30 to 9 p.m., you can get Basque chicken, seafood paella, pasta olivada available with chicken, potato tortilla and escalivada (roasted eggplant, roasted yellow and red peppers, roasted tomato, roasted scallions and roasted potato skins with garlic olive oil drizzle served with crumbled goat cheese, green olives and toast points).
Alfalfa also has a new summer menu that includes peach salad, curry shrimp salad, linguine di pistachio, summer vegetable burgoo, steak & egg tacos, eggs flamenco, and pistachio chicken sandwich, also available with eggplant. And Alfalfa is now offering breakfast all day throughout the week. In the evenings, Alfalfa is serving chicken Talese every Thursday, the Alfalfa version of Trinidadian Doubles on Friday, and a special hot Brown every Saturday. The full brunch menu continues on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
▪ Apiary Fine Catering and Events, 218 Jefferson Street, will host July’s Pick & Prep fundraiser at 6 p.m. July 11, featuring chef Renada West-Riley of Lexington Diner and Creative Table workshopping fresh ways (more than just frying) to transform those end-of-harvest green tomatoes into a variety of tasty dishes. Tickets are $65 and benefit Seedleaf, a nonprofit dedicated to growing and sharing food in Lexington.
▪ Were you a fan of Rogers Restaurant? A new book by The Toast’s Jaya Saxena has something you might be interested in. The Book of Lost Recipes, The Best Signature Dishes From Historic Restaurants Rediscovered includes two recipes from Rogers, the city’s oldest restaurant when it which closed in 2004. Luckily, Lexington cookbook author Barbara Harper Bach saved a recipe for Rogers’ tartar sauce, which Saxena includes along with Rogers’ famous salmon croquettes. The secret? Miracle Whip. The cookbook is $24.99.
▪ Brasabana, 841 Lane Allen Road, has a new special: Tamale Tuesday. For $18.95 from 3 p.m. to close for $18.95, you can get four tamales — vegetarian, salsa veracruz with queso fresco; chicken, cuban gumbo with pineapple; beef, ropa vieja with pepper salad; and pork, mojo-braised pork with pepper jack. Call 859-303-5573 for reservations.
▪ Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Great American Pie Contest, Lexington’s annual kick-off for Fourth of July festivities. In the from-scratch category, first-time entrant Loris Points, 82, of Lexington won with her rhubarb-apple pie; second place went to Michelle Walker for her French silk sie; and third place went to Jerry Nichols for his homegrown cherry pie.
In the semi-homemade category, first place went to Joan Kookendoffer for her raspberry white chocolate mousse pie, second place to Don Willoughby for his volcanic apple pie, and third place to Stephanie Jeter for her strawberry pie, which also won prettiest pie.
From Loris Points, winner of 2016 Great American Pie Contest, scratch category
2 cups sliced Delicious apples
2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar (or more)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more)
4 tablespoons flour
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar topping (turbinado)
Combine apples (put lemon juice on them) with rhubarb in a bowl. Add sugar mixed with cinnamon and flour. Pour into crust. Spread higher in middle. Add choice of crust — lattice or cover fully. Water edges of pastry. Apply top crust; seal and flute. Pour 2 tablespoons of water in center hole. Use sugar to top.
Never-fail pie crust
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cups shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, well-beaten
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vinegar
Cut shortening into flour and salt. Combine egg, water and vinegar and beat. Pour liquid into flour mixture all at once. Blend with spoon until all moistened.
Crust molds well and can be re-rolled without toughness. Keeps two weeks in the refrigerator. Makes two crusts, enough for a bottom and a top.