Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten fast for many, and on Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras revelers can indulge at their favorite restaurants.
Here are places celebrating Mardi Gras.
■ Bayou Bluegrass Catering at The Red Mile Clubhouse, 1200 Red Mile Road. Fat Tuesday lunch is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $14.50. Dinner, 5:30 to 9 p.m., is $26. The lunch menu features Cajun smoked beef brisket and crawfish pie. For dinner, fried alligator and catfish, boiled crawfish, shrimp étouffée, filé gumbo and pralines are on the menu. Boiled crawfish may be bought by the pound. Call (859) 233-0814 or go to www.bayoubluegrass.com.
■ Brown's Bakery, 1397 West Main Street. It is making beignets and King cakes for your at-home Mardi Gras party. Call (859) 225-8400 or go to www.brownbakery.com.
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■ Buddy's Bar & Grill, 854 East High Street. Fat Tuesday menu includes jambalaya, étouffée, and red beans and rice. Keith Hubbard and the Hubcats will entertain from 6 to 10 p.m. Call (859) 335-1283 or go to www.buddysbarandgrill.com.
■ Good Foods Market & Café, 455 Southland Drive. A hot buffet on Tuesday blends the flavors of Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras. Dishes include andouille chop suey, Szechuan tofu Creole, and sweet and sour triad (alligator, crawfish and chicken). Blues artist R.E. Otherson will entertain, along with Nine Dragons Fung Fu dancers. Call (859) 278-1813 or go to www.goodfoods.coop.
■ Gumbo Ya Ya Cajun Creole restaurant, 1080 South Broadway at Simpson Center. Free slices of King cake will be served along with the regular menu, which features gumbo and jambalaya. Call (859) 252-9292 or go to www.gumboyayaky.com.
■ Three Suns Bistro, 298 East Brannon Road in Brannon Crossing. Now through Tuesday, dinner specials include red beans and rice, seafood gumbo, crawfish, chicken and sausage jambalaya, blackened prime rib and blackened fish. Call (859) 245-0048 or go to www.threesunsbistro.com.
■ Varden's, 599 Main Street, Paris. Lunch special, for $10, includes crab cakes, gumbo and King cake. Call (859) 987-4700 or go to www.vardens.com
■ Winchell's, 348 Southland Drive. Featured are fried okra, chicken and sausage gumbo, crawfish étouffée, shrimp and grits, red beans and rice, and King cake.
Call (859) 278-9424 or go to www.winchellsrestaurant.com.
Café's menu is different every week
Spring might be weeks away, but it feels like springtime at Garden Girls' Café, 6109 Lexington Road, Winchester.
The café at Al's Garden Center is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Breakfast is served 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The menu changes every week, owner Marla Hubbard said, and includes grilled meatloaf, barbecued chicken, chicken salad croissant, soups, homemade breads and desserts. Call (859) 299-7908 or (859) 744 4840.
A mystery and a three-course meal
Bluegrass Mystery Dinner Theatre will have three performances this month. Shows begin at 7 p.m., and the cost is $45 for the show and a three-course meal. Locations and dates are: Summit Restaurant, 1097 Duval Street, on Thursday; Portofino, 249 East Main Street, on Feb. 27; and Serafini, 243 West Broadway in Frankfort, on Feb. 28. Call Dana Edison at (859) 494-2877 or go to www.bluegrassmysterytheatre.com.
An all-you-can-eat option
If you're missing the all-you-can-eat buffets at the now-closed Ryan's and Fire Mountain Grill, Country Cookin' by George is the place to fill the void. The restaurant, 1801 Alexandria Drive, has three buffet bars: entrees, sides and salads. Call (859) 276-0001.
Salad bar's on tap now, too
805 All Sports Bar & Grill, 805 North Broadway, offers more than bar food. All Sports has added a salad bar to its lineup of plate lunches, lamb fries and frog legs. Call (859) 420-0561.
Bellini's changes its lunch lineup
Bellini's executive chef Andrew Myers has created a new lunch menu for the restaurant, at 115 West Main Street. Included are brown sugar-pecan crusted Diver sea scallops with butternut squash purée; pan-fried chicken or veal cutlets served with capellini pasta and pancetta; sautéed chicken livers, crimini mushrooms and onions tossed with house-made tagliatelle pasta; and capriolli goat cheese with roasted peppers, capers and baby spinach served on ciabatta. Call (859) 388-9583 or go to www.bellinis.us.
A new sandwich selection
A new sandwich will be on the lunch menu at Orlando's Party and Pantry, 160 Moore Drive, on Friday. It features seasoned pot roast topped with Dad's Favorites Asiago sun-dried tomato spread on grilled flat bread. Call (859) 277-7404
$19.89 special marks Inn's 20 years
Montgomery Inn, in the Greater Cincinnati area, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with all-you-can-eat ribs. The special, $19.89, runs Sunday through Thursday. Go to www.montgomeryinn.com for locations.
Local food vendors go to The Market
Kentucky Crafted: The Market is Saturday and Sunday at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Food vendors who will showcase their products include: Dad's Favorites, Screamin' Mimi's Salsa, Nancy's Fancy, and Kentucky Specialty Sauces, all of Lexington, and Elm Street Epicure of Versailles. Market admission is $8. Call (888) 833-2787 or go to www.kycraft.ky.gov.