It's gator-eating time in Lexington. When the University of Florida Gators come to town Saturday to take on the University of Kentucky Wildcats in men's basketball, two restaurants will be cooking huge batches of alligator étouffée or alligator piquant.
■ Kevin Heathcoat, co-owner of Bourbon n' Toulouse, said, "We only make gator étouffée for Fat Tuesday and when we play Florida in basketball and football. This truly is a special event around here. It is by far the most popular dish we make all year long." Bourbon n' Toulouse is at 829 Euclid Avenue. Call (859) 335-0300 or go to Bntlex.com.
■ Gumbo Ya Ya, 1080 South Broadway, is making alligator sauce piquant in honor of the weekend game. Call (859) 252-9292 or go to Gumboyayaky.com.
Valentine's Day specials
Valentine's Day is Friday. Here's some of what's being offered:
■ Old Kentucky Chocolates, 450 Southland Drive, has chocolate-covered strawberries and grapes. The company, owned by Don and Pam Hurt, is celebrating its 50th anniversary Monday. It was founded Feb. 17, 1964, in Frankfort. The company also has locations at 3385 Tates Creek Road and 410 West Vine Street. Call (859) 278-4444 or go to Oldkycandy.com.
■ Furlongs, 130 West Tiverton Way, is having a "two can dine for $30" special Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Included are an appetizer to share, choice of entree (beef tenderloin escrivesse, beef tenderloin and lobster, chicken creole or étouffée, bayou trout), and dessert to share. Call (859) 523-5500.
■ Coba Cocina, 2041 Richmond Road, is celebrating with "two to tango" happy hour and tango dancers from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Happy hour specials include two-for-one tapas. Call (859) 523-8484 or go to CobaCocina.com.
■ Marikka's, 411 Southland Drive, is serving a traditional German dish, paprika chicken with green beans and mashed potatoes, for $12.95. A slice of German chocolate cake or Black Forest cake is free with each entree. Call (859) 275-1925 or go to Marikkas.com.
■ Abuelo's at Fayette Mall, 3395 Nicholasville Road, is offering fajitas for two for $29.99, plus free dessert. Abuelo's prime rib special for the weekend is served with raja con queso and signature papas con chile. The specials are available Friday through Sunday. Call (859) 971-0922 or go to Abuelos.com.
■ The Grey Goose, 170 Jefferson Street, will serve its sweetheart special Friday through Sunday. Included are Creekstone Farms filet served with haricots vert and puréed purple potatoes; grilled scallops served with linguine and marinara robusto; and Buffalo chicken pizza. Call (859) 233-1500 or go to Greygooserestaurants.com.
■ Natasha's Bistro chef Alex Jenkins says her new burger is the best in town — and maybe the most expensive. The Marksbury Farm andouille burger with fries is $17.
The burger is a blend of locally raised beef and andouille sausage topped with grilled red onion and a honey dijon mayonnaise, dressed with lettuce and tomato on a grilled brioche bun. "It has become our best-selling burger," owner Gene Williams said.
Natasha's is at 112 Esplanade. Call (859) 259-2754 or go to Beetnik.com.
■ Graeter's Ice Cream has two new items: gelato and an ice cream that's "a little less indulgent."
Graeter's French pot process for making gelato employs the same Old World freezing process used by Italian gelato machines. The method prevents air from being whipped into the product and forces the producer to make it in small batches, a requirement of an authentic gelato. Gelato traditionally has significantly less air than American ice creams and only half the butterfat content of super-premium ice creams.
Graeter's "A Little Less Indulgent" line is sweetened with a natural sugar substitute made from monk fruit extract. It has 50 percent less sugar and about 25 percent less fat and 25 percent fewer calories than Graeter's regular ice cream.
Lexington locations are 836 Euclid Avenue, (859) 253-6741; and 1925 Justice Drive in Hamburg, (859) 219-1936. Go to Graeters.com.