Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 9, 2012

TIM PRESTON: Big breakfast, healthy lunch, window tints and limos

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — I try to avoid clustering potentially competing businesses in each week’s column, although I have little choice this week and trust that anyone who reads this space has long since learned to do his or her own investigative work.

And, since everyone tends to enjoy reading food- and vehicle-related notes, this week’s limited-theme column delivers a pretty good package.

Big bags of breakfast buffet

Our old friend “Rajah” Ron Elliott called up last week and instructed me to swing by the next morning to grab breakfast for everybody in the office. Knowing how this crowd likes to eat, he knew I couldn’t decline, and it was good to take a few minutes to sit there with him at Rajah’s Lunch Bucket while Debbie Maddox and Mary Porter whipped together an aromatic collection of everything from scrambled eggs and two types of gravy to country ham, biscuits, fried apples, bacon and sausage for anyone who was fortunate enough to be at the newspaper when I got there.

Anyone who knows Elliott understands he is a guy who loves what he does, especially interacting with people on a daily basis, talking politics, horse racing and car racing. After knocking his head against the economic ceiling for months and months, however, I fear our old friend may be getting worn out by it all, and I think he could use a boost from seeing old friends and customers who haven’t been by in a while.

Back to those bags of breakfast. It was an odd morning when nearly everyone at the office had already had breakfast, although the smell of bacon, eggs, fried apples and the like quickly worked its charms and roughly a half-dozen samplers went to work making breakfast biscuits and bowls. Considering the critical nature of the crowd, it was amazing the only suggestion we agreed upon was the fried apples could have used a touch of cinnamon. The country ham was exceptional, and not the super salty and tough type you often encounter as you travel farther South. The sausage, which Elliott proudly noted he gets from Swaggerty’s, also received high marks from those of us who greedily gobbled it up.

“I’ll put our breakfast right up there beside Bob Evans,” Elliott said.

While the ladies were bagging it all up, Elliott and I stepped into his next-door storage area and I was hit in the face with the smell of homemade corn bread cooling, awaiting a pairing with menu items, including the famous brown beans, salmon patties and other featured specials. I asked Elliott what he might want me to pass along to readers looking for a good meal, and he simply said, “Just remind them I’m out here,” he said.

Rajah’s Lunch Bucket, in the Meade Station Plaza along U.S. 60 in Summit, is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with “a crowd of retirees” who welcome newcomers to help greet each day’s first batch of biscuits. For more information or to place an order, call (606) 929-5222.

Healthy lunch

I mentioned Café Zeal in last week’s column, although I left out what I thought was the most significant part of that day’s notes as well as a few follow-up comments.

The café inside The Frame Up Gallery on Winchester Avenue is a favorite for many and a mystery to more. I asked owner Jo Etta Lynch about the things her lunch crowd wants to eat and was both pleased and surprised by her answer — “Healthy food ... homemade and organic.”

One of Café Zeal’s regulars, Emily Click, who just happened to be the victim of my hit-and-run journalism, also gave her highest endorsement to something she called “a turkey/apple/walnut with cheese.” Since that reference, several people including the Independent’s Mark Maynard have backed Click up on that opinion, smacking their lips and getting a far-away look in their eyes as they describe the sandwich.

Taking advantage of a Thursday time warp in the newsroom, I slipped in a telephone order for one of my own. Lynch advised most guests do not order the sandwich, which is listed on the menu simply as “Turkey and Apple Sandwich,” with cheese, although I went with the Emily Click model and added a slice of sharp cheddar. My to-go order was packed up with a side of chips with some really tasty fresh salsa, and the sandwich had a nice flourish provided by the artistic touch of a few apple slivers atop the toothpicks holding it together. Accented perfectly by that cheese, the sliced turkey and apples are drizzled with honey on toasted sourdough, sprinkled with Craisins and walnuts with a touch of Dijon mayo. I can honestly say it’s the most delicious cold sandwich I’ve had in Ashland.

Café Zeal, which also still holds the title for serving the best cappuccino I’ve had in this city, serves lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with take-out and downtown delivery available for large orders. For more information or to place an order, call (606) 324-8565.

Coming to Kyova

I’ve been waiting for a call from somebody about a banner hanging at Kyova Mall announcing the “Coming Soon” of My Dad’s Pizza, and Mark Pratt rang me up last week to confirm his family’s business is indeed expanding to the former Cherron’s Pizza spot inside the mall along U.S. 60 in Cannonsburg.

If you’ve haven’t stopped by My Dad’s Pizza in Flatwoods since the family of the founder resumed operations, you’ve missed a good one. Pratt said the Kyova location will have everything on the menu in Flatwoods, except burgers, and they have changed the name of one of their signature sandwiches from “The Libwich” to “The Dadwich.”

My Dad’s Pizza will offer delivery in a limited area, Pratt said, and should be open tomorrow if everything goes according to plan. For more information or to place an order, call (606) 928-DADS (3237). I asked Pratt if he had to pay extra to get that phone number and he cheerily reported he just took a list of available numbers and worked the real-life word puzzle around to find a fit.

Tina the Tinter

News of the recent Christmas open house at Lloyd’s Trading Post in Westwood got around pretty good and even brought in a note from fellow Westwood business owner Tina “The Tinter” Sanchez.

Tina Hennecke-Sanchez, who racked up nearly two decades of experience tinting windows at Ashland’s Tint America, now operates Tina’s Tinting at 203 Wheatley Road, across from Lloyd’s place. Tina the Tinter specializes in things such as vinyl pinstriping and graphics for vehicles including RVs and boats, as well as window tinting. She also applies those fancy all-around “wraps” to vehicles, and does a lot of work for area automotive dealerships.

I was a little surprised to learn a good portion of tinting business for the 1986 Raceland-Worthington High School graduate (who now supports Fairview High School at every opportunity) comes from tinting windows at homes and businesses. where those inside appreciate the increased privacy factor, as well as energy benefits and prevention of sun damage to their valuables, including art on the walls.

Tina’s Tinting is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and by appointment. For more information, call (606) 571-8293.

To be seen on TV

The details are hush-hush, but Ashland-based transportation and entertainment service Classy Limousine will be included in an episode of a program to be aired on the TLC channel next spring.

Business owner Chuck Williams reports he can’t say much about it at this time, but has shared his company provided an SUV limo for a small wedding in Princeton, W.Va., and he expects the unidentified program to be shown in March or April.

I’m reminded that for all my adventures in planes, trains, automobiles and horse carts, I have never been involved with anything that involved a real limo ride. If Williams is open to the idea, I’m going to contact him about doing a feature story about the ins and outs of his business, and maybe bum a ride back and forth across the Ohio River for a few friends as part of my research.

Classy Limousine serves the Ashland area, as well as parts of Ohio and nearly all of West Virginia. Williams said the company has a fleet of tasteful vehicles, including four standard limos, a party bus and an SUV it uses for airport runs and VIP purposes. For more information, visit classylimo.net or call (606) 232-0049 or  (888) 696-4778.

Jim’s extends

My buddy Jim Crum caught me in a wild whirlwind of a moment last week to report he has decided to try changing the hours of operation at his spaghetti and hot dog restaurant in the Camayo Arcade building on Winchester Avenue in downtown Ashland.

Jim said many of his regulars have requested he add a couple of hours to the day so they can stop by and enjoy dinner from his menu, so he’s adopted a new schedule with the doors open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“We’ll try it for three months,” Crum said, adding he will also be applying an automatic discount to Saturday orders. “A lot of people say they want to come in and have dinner, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Investigators needed

If anyone wants to volunteer as a local restaurant field researcher, I have a mission for you.

If you can find Janie’s Country Kitchen in Westwood and enjoy a meal with family and friends before I get over there sometime next week, file a report and I will share it in a future column. I’ve heard good things, but it may take me a while to get there.

And, I want to acknowledge the notes I’ve received from several readers who’ve moved ahead of me in researching the new gourmet burgers at Gold Star Chili. I’ll share a few of those in the weeks ahead. I will keep your identities a well-guarded secret, as several of you are obviously better at this than I am and I don’t want my boss to have any way of contacting you.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.