Friday, April 01, 2005

Bye, Bye, Bye (Bluegrass)

Plus, a shout out to my favorite Lexington restaurants

From inside the UK Library

I'm keeping my chin up

Well, this is it. Today's my last night living in Lexington. I'm kind of melancholy about the whole thing. Leaving the place that taught me to drink hard, how to be sober and then how to drink responsibly. The place that showed me I could live my life being the girl all the fraternity guys and later preppie business men wanted me to be, but instead nurtured me into thinking being myself was damn good enough.

Lexington has been chock full of growth for me, and for that I'll be eternally grateful. I've met friends that fit every category of that fabled email (reasons, seasons or a lifetime) as well as a whole bunch of people that showed me how -not- to be.

And who knew a sleepy (especially after last call was extended to 2:30 am) little town could be SO MUCH FUN? Not just in the late night liquid buffet lifestyle of my college years (okay, and a few of those after school) but in the Wow. I'm content to sit in this coffee house all by my lonesome and read some Poe sense. The past few years have blessed me with a broadening of interests, including:

- Tinkering around the Farmer's Market
- Walking around Lexington's older, cobblestoned streets and admiring the architecture
- Taking afternoon drives in the glorious sun on little roads that weave in and out of the patchwork of horsefarms in the Bluegrass
- Spending afternoons holed up in my kitchen with my apron on slaving over my latest impulse
- Discovering God's love and the faith bubbling beneath my surface
- Lacing on the ol' tennis shoes and taking a turn or two around the path at the Arboretum
- Passionately seeking out local dining establishments to enjoy the culinary talents of independent restauranteurs

This includes the social givens that come with living in Lexington, like Keeneland, UK Basketball and the fun nightlife (and a passion for good bourbon). Yes, that last one is a social given in Lexington (especially about the bourbon).

I am going to miss fair Lexington, but I know the way back from Cincinnati by heart, so I shouldn't have too much trouble finding my way to the doorsteps of my good friends or across the threshold of my favorite haunts.
In honor of all the places I've stopped at while eating my way across town, here's a list of The Best Restaurants in town according to me. Should you be visiting Lexington sometime soon, be sure to check these spots out:

Atomic Cafe The best patio in town and excellent Caribbean food. Good Island drinks too and steel drum bands regularly in the summer. The place to see and be seen.

Ramsey's My favorite restaurant of all. It's casual, it's homegrown and a lot of it's dishes are heart attacks on a plate, but I love it! Stop by between 4 and 7 for 2-for-1 drinks and make sure you try the Kentucky Hot Brown, the zucchini burger or any of the special side dishes. (And save room for Missy's Pies... especially Mayday Pie).

The Sal's/Malone's/Oscar's/Harry's dynasty The first two have great steaks (and are good date places). Sal's is more like a NYC steakhouse with Italian influences. Great polenta. The other two are good watering holes, with an older crowd at Oscar's - a piano/oyster bar kind of place, and Harry's more of the yuppie on the prowl kind of crowd and a high class sports theme. Think granite table tops, horse prints and plasma everywhere.

Portofino Candlelight. Wine. Graceful Italian food. The embodiment of romance.

Nagasaki What can be more fun than rounding up your ten best friends and getting a private room with rice paper walls? Sitting on the floor and eating with your shoes off has never been cooler. My recent experiences with cold sake have upped this spot on my list. Great sushi, and get one of their salads with the Wasabe dressing.

Joe Bologna's Lexington's first smoke-free restaurant. It's all about pizza here (and grinders, and lasagna, and pasta, and sandwiches and salads). Make sure you get a breadstick more like a bread loaf with garlic and olive oil.

De Sha's The food isn't on the cutting edge, but the view of Triangle Park (at the heart of downtown), what with it's twinkling white lights in the trees, make up for it. In the historic Victorian Square, De Sha's portions are substantial and the food is full of comfort.

Dudley's White tablecloth service with servers who know how to pronounce all those fancy words like confit and soufle. Okay so those words aren't hard to pronounce, and it wouldn't be hard for you to get used to the likes of Dudley's. Always sophisticated, always "grown up", this tops my list of special occasion restaurants.

Cheapside One of my favorite weekend drinking spots. Don't overlook it's menu though, great Duck Enchilada, Barbecue Chicken Pizza and Black Bean Chili. Monday night is Martini Monday with $3 single serving drinks. The rest of the time they come with a cute lil' side car. The patio is always chock full of the pretty people, even in the early Spring and late Fall (when the outdoor heaters are fired up at full throttle).

Truth be told, Lexington has a lot of other great restaurants I've never been to. I've heard Annabelle's is good, same with le Deauville and Bellini's. They're all new and I'm more of an old school kind of gal. The Homestead is supposed to be "fancy down-home" and A' La Lucie was voted one of the best date restaurants (read: fancy-romantic-white tablecloth-he's gonna pop the question) in the country.

I guess I still have a few things to look forward to next time I make my way down south on I-75.


Vertical Man said...

Best of luck to you! You've got some great memories and can look forard to writing your life's new chapter...and making some new memories.

Alro said...

The Atomic Cafe is my favorite place to eat in Lexington. Good luck in Cincy!

Micah said...

Need I say that I'm really digging the glasses?

Kate The Great said...

S. Davis, Thanks for the cheers! I agree, this new chapter is going to prove to be wonderful! I am bursting with the anticipation.

greg... The food @ AC is incredible. I love the coconut chicken and any of their fish dishes. There's one that's steamed in banana leaves (think it might be mahi mahi) that was wonderful.

Micah- Now you know how I look when I'm at work. 10 hours of face time with a computer can do a number on a girl's baby blues...