Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 2, 2014

Tim Preston: Andy's, so-good soup, TV and local connections: 2/2/14

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — There wasn’t a bite to eat in our house (at least the way I tell the story) when the last big snow storm hit last weekend. I made a dash down the road for supplies, only to find I was way behind in the hunting/gathering process when the phone in my pocket rang as I spun around the Cannonsburg Walmart parking lot. On the line was none other than Chef Andy Moore, who was returning an unrelated call from earlier in the day. We chatted for a minute or so and I got back to my snowblind navigation.

I made it to the red light before the most obvious thought hit me: Andy probably has food in that restaurant. I called him back and he happily agreed to put together a few of his remaining foods in a supper package for my wife and myself. I parked the Hyundai at the bottom of the little hill next to Andy’s place and walked up, taking a few minutes to discuss life, love and the restaurant business as well as taking advantage of the opportunity to try a taste of his salsa (outstanding and popping with fresh veggie flavor) while he assembled the to-go order. When he had it bagged up, I traded him a couple of bucks for the bundle and trudged back down the hill.

When I got home, I could hardly believe the buffet Moore had put together for us: ribs, brisket, barbecue, rolls, baked beans, slaw and a couple of tubs marked “T.S.,” which I soon determined stood for Tater Salad. Each and every bite was delicious. The ribs were “fall-off-the-bone” good, and the brisket was nothing short of competition level, with a pronounced smoke ring and everything else judges look for. The barbecue was pure Andy’s, with a perfect application of his signature slightly sweet sauce and perfectly accompanied by that slaw. The baked beans were so good I was practically shoveling the side dish away, and to my own surprise, I ended up cleaning the seams of the little tub that had contained the “T.S.”

Andy says he’s been pleased with the reception he’s received at his newest downtown Ashland location, Andy’s Sweet & Savory, inside the Pendleton Art Center and seemed confident he will continue to operate from the almost-hidden spot in Cannonsburg as well. Moore said he almost exclusively uses Facebook to promote his business and let people know about his daily specials, including his Saturday evening filet mignon. For more information about the restaurant at 1337 Cannonsburg Road, including hours and daily specials, find Andy’s Barbecue on Facebook or call (606) 585-4089.    

It goes fast

It is no secret the people who do the hard work in hot kitchens rarely get any recognition for their hard work. I’m going to work on fixing that after tasting the most amazing chicken-and-dumpling soup last week at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill.

I had tasted the soup before, last summer when my wife ordered something like five consecutive bowls of it while sitting on the restaurant’s patio listening to live music. When the server mentioned it was again on the menu as part of the daily special, I made a point of ordering one to go. I earned many husband points for the simple act, although I caught myself really wishing I had ordered at least two bowls after giving hers a test taste.

I asked my guy on the inside about it, and he said each batch is custom crafted by a guy in the kitchen according to his own recipe. He added the soup is so good, they often have difficulty keeping it in supply once customers discover it. He then asked if I wanted to talk to the man responsible, and handed the phone to sous chef Mike Tarazon, who confirmed he makes a big batch of the soup for the Wednesday and Sunday specials.

“It is my own recipe. It’s just something I come up with at the house for my little girl (Isabella Grace Tarazon, 7),” he said, explaining he first stirred it up about four years ago.

Tarazon, who was born and raised in Benson, Ariz., said he has been cooking for 35 years, starting at 15. He said his other specialties include Mexican dishes such as chimichangas and fajitas, as well as other soups, including his take on the classic chicken noodle.

“I like to experiment,” he said. “I’ll find a recipe on the Internet and add to it to make it taste and look different,” later noting his chicken and dumpling soup may soon be added to the regular menu at Callihan’s.

For more information about Callihan’s in the Kyova Mall on U.S. 60, call (606) 585-0586.

Coates, Cline and Carter

We’ll all have to wait until the Super Bowl is broadcast today to find out if the Doritos commercial featuring locally born actor Jim Coates is included in the show. I must admit I’ve been watching the competition, which pits several independently produced commercials against one another and allows public voting to determine which is aired during the big game. I also spent a few minutes on the telephone with Coates, who takes great pride in his efforts as a thespian, and thoroughly enjoyed hearing him repeat his big line, “Get off my lawn!” as part of the conversation.

While speaking of things on TV, the Ashland area also had a moment of pride during a recent episode of “American Idol” that included the audition of Boyd County’s Jesse Cline. Oddly enough, I had met Cline about a year ago when he and his brother, Josh, happened to be walking past our house while a few of us sat inside singing and playing guitars. Almost as soon as he entered, the younger Cline brother proclaimed he was going to be on “Idol,” and I thought, “Sure you are, kid,” before handing him my guitar. He accepted the instrument, strummed a couple of chords and then began to sing in a voice so strong I had to think, “This guy really could be on ‘American Idol.’” I whipped out a video on my phone and captured a verse and chorus, then asked him to say his name.

Months passed and reporter Ken Hart mentioned something about a local person being included in an upcoming “Idol” show. I had even forgotten Cline’s name, but I did remember the kid with the big voice and asked my wife if she could find that lost video clip. When the kid on the dark video matched up with the kid on “Idol,” I nearly fell off my chair and started thinking about how to find him for an interview.

Luckily, Cline remembered me and my offer to do a story if he did, indeed, make it onto “Idol,” and he had sent a message through a friend to get in touch. For our follow-up interview, Cline sat in my house and played the song that landed him a golden ticket to Hollywood while I snapped a few pictures. Once again, I was knocked out by not only his talent, but also his outstanding attitude about life and music in general.

Be sure to follow Cline’s progress as the show continues this season, and then remember his name and make a point to buy tickets for his future shows. At 19, Cline is undoubtedly one of the most impressive young vocalists I’ve been fortunate enough to know.

And, at the top of the talent heap, if you happened to watch this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, you may have noticed a familiar face when Del McCoury’s band was called to receive an award for its efforts in the world of bluegrass music. The grinning youngster of the bunch was none other than Greenup County fiddle sensation Jason Carter.

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