Food & Drink

Alfalfa’s features Middle Eastern menu; Lexington Diner opens catering kitchen

At Alfalfa Restaurant Wednesdays are International Nights. This week’s menu celebrates Middle Eastern cuisine. Photo by Tom Eblen
At Alfalfa Restaurant Wednesdays are International Nights. This week’s menu celebrates Middle Eastern cuisine. Photo by Tom Eblen Herald-Leader

Wednesdays are International Nights every week from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Alfalfa, 141 East Main Street. This week’s menu celebrates Middle Eastern cuisine with specials including lamb and tomato pies, artichoke koresh (local chicken with artichokes and onions in a saffron lime sauce), fish kofta (flaked fresh cod fingers in a spiced tomato sauce), imam bayildi (stuffed eggplant rounds), and vegetable kibbeh (red lentil bulgur finger patties.)

▪  Learn the art of crafting and appreciating bourbon from master distiller Chris Morris and master taster Elizabeth O’Neill at a day-long experience at Woodford Reserve Bourbon Academy at the distillery at 7855 McCracken Pike in Versailles.

The day includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the distillery, an interactive demonstration of using grains to make mash, charring a barrel and tasting a variety of whiskeys. The class also features an appearance from chef-in-residence Ouita Michel, who will guide you through a flavor wheel demonstration that helps you identify the flavors in Woodford Reserve. A bourbon-inspired lunch is included.

The academy will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 27, April 2, June 11 and Aug. 20. Cost is $225 per person, plus tax; reservations are required. Book a spot by calling 859-879.1953 or

▪  Ranada West-Riley, chef-owner of Lexington Diner at 124 North Upper Street, is opening a kitchen for catering, private cooking classes and chef’s table dinners at 185 Pasadena, off Nicholasville Road. Creative Table – Kitchen and Catering will open March 1.

▪  Longtime Ramsey’s waitress Nancleen “Momma Gay” Reed, 66, died Wednesday at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Memorial contributions in her name are suggested to the Lexington Humane Society.

“Mama Gay worked for 25 years at the original Ramsey’s on High Street and then made the move to Zandale two years ago,” said Rob Ramsey, restaurant owner. “Prior to that she served customers at Buffalo and Dad’s and earlier she worked at Columbia Steak House. Over the years Mama had served and entertained thousands of people with her cocky charm and wonderful sense of humor. There have repeatedly been times that we would have empty tables and yet customers would wait for extended periods to sit in her section.

“I have no doubt that my initial chances to succeed in the food business were vastly improved by being lucky enough to have Gay decide she wanted to work with me. The Ramsey family and thousands of Lexingtonians will mourn and miss Gay as the matriarch of Lexington servers.”

▪  And, here’s more sad news. One of the founding four brothers of Hunt Brothers Pizza, Jim Hunt, died Jan. 3 in Lexington. With his three brothers, Jim helped grow a local, family-operated pizza business in the 1970s into Hunt Brothers Pizza, which today has more than 7,300 locations in 28 states and is the nation’s largest brand of made to-order pizza in the convenience store industry. Hunt also was the founder of Pizza Wholesale of Lexington, a wholesale food distribution company that serves over 3,000 customers in 16 states.

▪  The Bats, a rock and roll comedy cabaret will have a supper club performance Jan. 16 at The Red Mile’s upstairs clubhouse. The act used to perform at the recently closed Natasha’s. Tickets are $35 per person and include a full dinner buffet starting at 7 p.m., a two-hour show starting at 8 p.m., and a free wager voucher at The Red Mile. A cash bar is available. Call for reservations: 859-255-0752 or email Allie Herald at

The Red Mile’s regular clubhouse also has been renovated and is open again for events; chef Joe B. Hall, former chef at Nick Ryan’s, is handling the catering. Contact food and beverage manager Jerry Morse to schedule the venue.

▪  Brasabana, 841 Lane Allen Road, is serving Tapas Mondays in January featuring a three-item appetizer sampling menu paired with rums or tequilas for $15 per person.

▪  All month, Azur, 3070 Lakecrest Circle, is continuing the popular Burger Mondays — five burgers, $5 each, from 5 p .m. to close — and Sunday Sopranos Table featuring two family-style pasta dishes with two Italian inspired side dishes for two for $20.

▪  Boone Creek Creamery’s next beginner cheese making class will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at 2416 Palumbo Drive. Learn to make six different cheeses. Cost is $110 per person.

▪  Green BEAN Delivery, the region’s largest online natural and organic grocery delivery service, this week donated 4,800 pounds of fresh produce to God’s Pantry Food Bank, 1685 Jaggie Fox Way. During the WUKY December pledge drive, Green BEAN Delivery committed to donating $100 of healthy food for every $1,000 raised from WUKY members.

▪  A new apple variety, Pazazz, has debuted in the Lexington market before it goes national. Kroger stores around the region have samples of the apple. Pazazz was developed from Honeycrisp to offer retailers a premium variety to drive sales beyond the fall peak season. “Lexington residents love and know their apples,” says Don Roper, vice president, sales and marketing, and one of Honeybear’s dedicated team touring the country to gain feedback from customers and retail partners. “We’re eager to hear what customers and retailers think of this year’s Pazazz crop as well as its “wow” taste and crisp, juicy texture.” National roll out is expected in 2017.

▪  Louisville-based KFC (which used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken) is jumping on the hot chicken bandwagon, debuting KFC Nashville Hot Chicken via food trucks in eight cities named Nashville outside Tennessee that don’t have a KFC. Once the tour ends Jan. 20, the hot chicken will be available at all 4,300 locations nationally in extra crispy breast, drumstick and thighs, and tenders.

▪  The Cheezy Mac in Fayette Mall closed at the end of the year, according to the mall, following the closure of the restaurant on Richmond Road and the sale of the food truck. Calls to owner Jerry Adamany on future plans have not been returned.