Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

December 8, 2013

Tim Preston: A great gift; fine Italian cuisine; confections; and stringed things: 12/8/13

ASHLAND — I am walking around with the coolest Christmas gift ever in my wallet.

Like a lot of us in the area, I deal with some physical problems that are always amplified when the weather gets cold and wet. And, I tend to be more than whiney about it.

It’s Thursday morning as I’m writing this, watching out the newsroom window as the wind builds and brings in black clouds — reminding me of the extra-special gift in my back pocket.

I have essentially turned my back on the medical community for this problem and rely upon combinations of OTC medicines and home remedies (along with plentiful public whining) to get by on bad days.

A week or so back when the first real cold, rainy days of the seasons set in, I was doing my usual routine when a friend asked if I thought a good massage would help. I knew he wasn’t offering to rub on me (I mean, we are friends, but we’re not that kind of friends), and I thought the question was simply a curiosity issue until he showed up at the office with a gift certificate for a full one-hour massage session with Dr. Amy Litteral at Moxie Massage & Boutique about half a block from the newspaper office at 1607 Winchester Ave.

I called Dr. Litteral, whose title comes from her studies of the chiropractic arts, to schedule the session and asked her how many of her clients are in the same boat as I am.

“More people come to me for pain relief than for relaxation,” she said, just before explaining the actual reasons why cold weather causes such an increase in discomfort levels. I would attempt to translate that explanation, but promise she can make it much clearer than I can. With a 30-degree temperature drop forecast for Thursday afternoon, Litteral said she was confident “Everybody will be calling.”

 I went ahead and got my name in the book for a lunch session next week, and I can honestly say I’m looking forward to it as much as my last vacation.

I also took advantage of having Litteral on the phone and asked her to tell me more about the boutique side of Moxie Massage & Boutique.

Litteral explained she “is always making” new jewelry with sterling silver and gemstones, with each as a one-of-a-kind creation, which she has among her inventory — just in time for Christmas.

Moxie Massage & Boutique is open from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, visit Drlitteral.com or call (606) 831-1501 to schedule a session.

Tres Fratelli

I have been hearing great things about the Italian restaurant Tres Fratelli in the former Rajah’s location at Meade Station Plaza in the Summit/Cannonsburg area.

I must confess, I’d almost forgotten the place was there. We had an excellent meal there about a week after the place opened and, at the time, I promised we would come back after they were licensed to serve wine with their meals. They got the license, but even though I drive past there a couple of times a day, the return visit somehow slipped my memory.

Jogging my memory, I received a call from a world-traveler type who is more than a little tired of reading about me eating at the same old places all the time.

When I asked for suggestions, Tres Fratelli was the first place she endorsed. My boss also dined there with his wife and a friend a couple of days later, and he practically raved about their meal, as well as the total cost (including tip) of their afternoon out.

Tres Fratelli, at 8130 U.S. 60, is open for lunch and dinner. For more information, call (606) 929-5469.

Candy-making class

If you’ve always admired those homemade candies that come out only at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but have never attempted making the delicious delights yourself, you may want to call and sign up for a candymaking class in Grayson this week.

Michelle Wallace, owner of Mama Hazel’s Bakery at 122 S. Carol Malone Blvd., will be teaching a candy-making class from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday.

The class will offer hands-on instruction for making peanut butter balls, potato candy, turtles and candies made using plastic molds.

I will offer a personal endorsement on this one. I don’t know if Wallace is a great teacher, but I do know she is an outstanding baker and candy maker.

The cost to attend the clinic is $15. To register or for more information, call (606) 474-2418.

Geared up

I enjoy visits to local music stores, and the gang at 4 O’Clock Rock Guitar Shop always tends to make my day with either a new guitar for me to dream about, a good banjo-player joke or a good story or two from the road.

I stopped by there a week or so ago and found two or three of the guys working like Santa’s little elves to rearrange their impressive collection of amplifiers as part of an effort to get a few more guitars out on the showroom floor.

The result was truly impressive, with a bunch of half-stack amps by different manufacturers (including Orange, Egnater, Soldano and PRS) in the middle of the room, surrounded by guitars suitable for practically any player. The PRS amps are even “on super-special sale,” according to shop owner Dave McCoy.

The businessman also had a note of excitement in his voice as he explained they are waiting for their first shipment of G&L guitars early next week (possibly even by the time the ink dries on this page). He said they have a record number of preowned Gibson and Fender guitars in stock, as well as many high-quality yet affordable guitars for beginners, in addition to instruments worthy of the most accomplished musician.

“That’s what we’re known for — the good stuff,” McCoy said.

 There is also an excellent selection of bass guitars, a whole wall of ukuleles and a staggering assortment of accessories and effects pedals. And, while they don’t have many of them on display, the shop is rumored to have a great selection of drum sets, including many low-cost “junior kits” hiding in the back rooms. They even have a real-life harp (not the kind I play, but similar to those depicted in the hands of angels), as well as an entire room dedicated to acoustic guitars. I’m not sure about this, but I suspect they even have a couple of really nice banjos around there somewhere.

4 O’Clock Rock Guitar Shop at 2328 Greenup Ave. is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (606) 326-0097.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at (606) 326-2651.

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