Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 27, 2012

TIM PRESTON: What women want,chili parlor burger and lost punks

The Independent

ASHLAND — You’ve heard the joke about the man who bought his wife a power saw for their anniversary? Well, I may have topped that one last week by buying my lovely wife a “tube screamer” for her birthday. Just what every gal wants, right?

I’ve been stuck in a time warp of some sort for weeks it seems and there was that fateful recent morning when I said to my wife, “You have a birthday coming up don’t you?” She gave me a look which I should have picked up on, but instead I bravely stated “I even know the date!” The look changed a bit as she asked, “Oh, you do? When is it?”

With absolute confidence I said the date aloud and then (with a move so sudden it would shame a striking snake) she picked up the morning newspaper and directed my attention to the printed date which I had just stated.

I’m not kidding when I say I went into total “guy panic,” and began trying to talk my way out of that one while also trying to scheme up some way to cover my tracks and instantly produce a birthday gift. It was about that time that I realized I was actually holding such a thing in my hands, an Ibanez Tube-Screamer (an effects pedal for an electric guitar) I had bought used the day before. I offered her the prized box of electronic goodness, but it was far too late for that.

Making it even worse, we were in one of those waiting-for-payday modes, so I had no way to go out to buy something nice (and claim I had it planned that way all along), even if I did have some way of distracting her.

My wife actually took all of this quite well. You have to understand that her birthday just happens to be a day with a long history of tragedies — Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre for example. And, dear Aunt Mary really saved the day a few minutes after my blunder by calling and inviting us out for a birthday lunch at Bob Evans.

While my lovely wife isn’t really into “the whole birthday thing,” I will be beating myself up for the next year for forgetting her special day. She deserves roses every day of the year as far as I’m concerned.

Chili parlor burgers

I had seen a coupon or something promoting new menu items at Gold Star Chili and decided to scoot on over to Russell one day last week to sample their club salad.

When I got there, however, my longstanding and often denied addiction to cheeseburgers kicked in as I read about the restaurant’s new line of gourmet burgers, including one topped with that most perfect of all foods, bacon. My server couldn’t help giggling at my struggle to order a salad while wrestling with mental images of a gourmet cheeseburger, and I ultimately just gave in and ordered the All Star Bacon Cheeseburger, with fries and a drink.

It was an excellent burger, and you could really taste the fresh ground beef. It was so good in fact, that I’m planning on going back to try their Backyard Burger, and Mushroom & Swiss Burger for my weekly diet “cheat” in the days ahead.

Inspecting the new menu items, which includes three or four additional gourmet burgers, I realized I could have maintained my attempt at healthier dining with another of the new menu items, a grilled chicken sandwich, among the four new chicken sandwich options. And, the club salad I originally wanted to try could have been substituted for a Cafe Salad, Spring Harvest Salad (both of which have the little healthy heart icon beside them on the menu) or South of the Border Chili Salad.

Daft punks?

This column comes out one day too late to do any good on this one, but I feel compelled to write a short salute to Tiffany Hixon at The Daft Craft Shop on 15th Street in downtown Ashland, near Fat Patty’s.

Unless something weird happened, the shop hosted its first free concert last night with live music by the band Little Friends. This is the latest effort by a downtown business to bring something cool to Ashland specifically for the younger generation of consumers, and I hope it pays off.

Concerts aside, Daft Craft is also shaping up as an excellent downtown success story with a growing crowd of enthusiastic customers in search of handmade arts and crafts. The shop also has an excellent, if not tiny, gallery space and has already helped shine a spotlight on the works of a couple of outstanding artists who I probably wouldn’t have known of otherwise.

For more information, search for The Daft Craft Shop on Facebook or call (606) 329-9189.

Speaking of punks

I really do try to avoid writing about a business that has gone out of business, although I continue to lament the end of Banshee’s in downtown Ashland.

Not that I spent much money there (although I did purchase a studded leather guitar strap that appeared to be straight from the Iron Maiden/Judas Priest yard sale from the shop), but it was a great place for the area’s goth/punk kids to revolve around.

Shop owner Joe Waugh also brought a different voice to downtown business, and showed tremendous potential for making the monthly First Friday events something to look forward to. I mean, has anyone else downtown made an effort to bring their own sideshow complete with fire-breathing performers out for that?

On that note, I expect I will forever get a choking chuckle out of the extreme over-reaction to Waugh’s plan to bring a burlesque show to the streets of Ashland, as well as the fact he is the only person I’ve heard of during my five years back in this city who suffered a $100 fine for violating Ashland’s still-standing ordinance prohibiting tarot card reading.

I’ve heard some disturbing things about what the “coincidental” series of events that resulted in the closing of Banshee’s, although I am under obligation to keep that to myself for the time being. Regardless, there’s no way around the fact that the shop is now gone forever. Something in the back of my mind, however, tells me we haven’t heard the last of Mr. Waugh, whose last words to me were something like “They haven’t heard the last of me. Not by a long shot.”

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