The new dining concept from Bluegrass Hospitality Group — the restaurateurs behind Harry's, Sal's, Drake's, Malone's and more — will debut Dec. 4 at the Lansdowne Shoppes.
OBC Kitchen, which stands for "Old Bourbon County," will feature a menu created by Chef Alan Lamoureux. Starters include an artisanal ham plate, Bluegrass fondue, and hand-cut fries with a choice of dipping sauces of grilled tomato ketchup or poblano tartar sauce. Plates include chicken and waffles, wagyu beef medallions, and smoky shrimp and grits. For dessert, the menu will offer warm doughnuts with dipping sauces.
The menu also has a voluminous variety of bourbons.
To kick things off, on Dec. 3, University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari will host, along with BGH co-owners Brian McCarty and Bruce Drake, a pre-open party beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50, and availability is limited. Go to OBCKitchen.com. Proceeds will benefit The Calipari Foundation.
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The event will feature an open bar, specialty cocktails, a sampling of the OBC menu and a silent auction (including rare bourbon.)
■ Two Willett events: From 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4, Willett master distiller Drew Kulsveen will lead a tasting at Enoteca, 191 Jefferson Street, of Willett Family Estate ryes and bourbons, including its new XCF (Experimental Cask Finish), a seven-year rye finished in French curaçao barrels. Enoteca bites will be included. For reservations, call (859) 687-0346 or go to Enotecalex.com.
Wine+Market, 486 West Second Street, will hold a Holiday Open House from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5. It will feature rooms full of wine samples poured by wine reps, craft beer samples, live music, complementary bites from WM's cheese and meat cases, and a bourbon tasting led by Hunter Chavanne of Willett Distilling in Bardstown. A rare bottle of Willett will be raffled to customers who spend more than $50 the day of the party.
■ New lunch/brunch menu: Chef Javier Lanza's Sabio, 380 South Mill Street, is serving a variety of salads, including roasted beet and apple, fried green tomato, and roasted carrot and crab; and entrees including the Sabio burger, crab cake sandwich, turkey and brie, and more.
■ Mark your calendars: City Barbeque, the barbecue joint featuring "low and slow" smoked meats, a wide variety of side dishes, desserts and a healthy dose of backyard hospitality, will open its second Lexington restaurant, at 2187 Harrodsburg Road, at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13 with samples. The new restaurant will feature the chain's first curbside pick-up service.
■ Speaking of barbecue: Sonny's BBQ is accepting nominations for Random Acts of BBQ. If you know someone who deserves to be honored with a free catered meal this holiday season, go to Randomactsofbbq.com and fill out the online nomination form. Sonny's BBQ will be accepting nominations through Dec. 31. Sonny's has restaurants in Nicholasville, Richmond, Somerset and Corbin.
■ Holiday in Clermont: Jim Beam is inviting bourbon enthusiasts to dinner with Fred Noe on Dec. 11. The Home for the Holidays cocktail and bourbon dinner at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse will kick off at 7 p.m. with cocktails crafted by notable local mixologists Larry Rice and Jared Schubert, a delectable dinner menu and live entertainment. According to the news release, Jim Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe and his son Freddie will share stories of holidays past as the fireplace crackles "and spirits fill the air in more ways than one!"
Tickets are $65 and must be bought in advance under the "Tours and Reservations" page at Americanstillhouse.com. You must be 21 or older to attend.
■ Latest Orphan Barrel release from Diageo: Lost Prophet Whiskey is a 22-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, distilled in 1991 in Frankfort, at what was then the George T. Stagg Distillery. The mash bill for is 75 percent to 78 percent corn, 7 percent to 10 percent barley, and 15 percent rye. Tasting notes say it opens with notes of honey, dried fruit, apricot and clove on the nose, and "tastes of spice cake, vanilla and leather before a sweet, smoky finish." It's a limited release, Diageo says, and it's 90.1 proof. Suggested retail price is $120.
■ Del Monte swears it's true: Kentucky is ranked No. 1 in the United States for love of green-bean casserole, according to the Del Monte Green Bean Index. To conduct this study, "bean counters" (get it?) at Del Monte asked 1,500 Americans to rate their fondness for the classic green-bean casserole side dish.
With 78 percent of residents saying they "really like or love the dish," Kentucky beat out Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa and Maine in the top five. The most popular secret ingredient was bacon, followed by cheese, mushrooms, bread crumbs/croutons/crackers, and almonds.
(Mine has cheese, mushrooms and almonds, but I might give the bacon and croutons a try. Some variations on the classic recipe here: Bit.ly/1AeNnVo.)