Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 23, 2013

Tim Preston: Real cow flavor; lunch at Johnny's Pizza; and new at the mall: 6/23/13

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — Time was not been on my side last week, so if I spell my own name wrong in this week’s column I’ll apologize ahead of time. I was on the road a lot, but at this point I can’t even remember where I’ve been or if they had good cheeseburgers. So, in the interest of time and the other stories I have to finish before I’m allowed to leave, I’m just going to start writing.

We had an outstanding dining experience at home last week, following the purchase of meat from the Rolling Hills Market, which you may remember as the Healthy Foods Buying Club formed in the area in recent months. I didn’t have a lot of cash to spend, but wanted to take advantage of a “meat sale” event the group had last weekend.

The meat is locally grown and processed from Rolling “R” Farms in Carter County without the use of antibiotics, steroids or hormones (ASH Free), and based on previous samplings I knew it to be excellent quality. The Rolling “R” Farms beef is also grass fed and grain finished, instead of being fed corn and grains from an early age. Checking down the list of available products, I chose two filet mignon cuts, along with some ground beef and a couple of pounds of bacon (of course).

We tried the bacon first and it was so good, I almost repeated my habit of savoring every delicious slice by myself. Using what I will describe as an incredible amount of self discipline, my wife got to enjoy several slices and I even managed to put one back for our local skateboard kid. It was, however, the ground beef and the steaks that simply rocked my world.

I had planned to fire up some charcoal for those filets, but it got late real early and I just turned on the oven broiler. I sprinkled a little seasoning and popped those inch-thick beauties in for just a few minutes per side, resulting in the closest thing to medium rare I’ve ever cooked. I started to do my usual cook-until-done thing, but my wife intercepted me and made it clear she was ready for her steak then and there. I’m glad she did that, as both steaks were as close to perfect as I could imagine.

I’ve seen one-too-many documentaries to be terribly comfortable with ground beef in recent years (somehow that concern doesn’t count when it comes in the form of a bacon-laden cheeseburger), so I wasn’t really looking for anything especially magical from the burger I bought. Once again, however, I was in for a surprise. I made three patties (I had to remember the skateboard kid) from the one-pound package, and the meat smelled delicious from the moment it hit the skillet with a dash of pepper. Once done (I used a meat thermometer), my wife slapped the burgers onto buns with no additional condiments and we jumped right in. Before I even realized it, I was making a noise that went something like the, “Nom-Nom-Nom” sound people make when describing anything delicious, only with a note of something almost obscene. And, it wasn’t just the flavor. The texture of that meat (especially the steaks) was just ... exquisite.

Honestly, I think we had both forgotten what cow is supposed to taste like.

For more information about the Rolling Hills Market, which has grown to include nearly 300 members and is actively seeking new members to boost buying power, search Facebook. Better still, attend a meeting at 6 p.m. the first Monday of the month at the Kyova Branch of the Boyd County Public Library.

While in Grayson

I completed a real hit-and-run mission in Grayson recently and was going at such top speed I figured I wouldn’t even have time to stop at Weaver’s Market for a loaf of most-excellent sourdough bread.

The phone rang, however, and it was our reporter on the disabled list, Kenneth Hart, asking if I had time to grab some lunch. I hadn’t seen Ken since before his bypass surgery and, as bad as I hate to admit it, I just missed the guy. So, I decided to slow down and make enough time to share a meal and get an update on his recovery.

I’ve been hearing excellent things about Johnny’s Pizza near the new and old courthouses along West Main Street, and we agreed to meet there. I had a minute or two to spare waiting for Hart to arrive, so I just strolled around and spent a few minutes talking to the friendly server who greeted me when I walked in. I had nothing but good first impressions.

Once Hart arrived, we nearly drove our server crazy by just sitting there shooting the breeze and catching up, although we did eventually order a couple of sandwiches. I had a pizza bread with chips and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve blanked on what Hart ordered, although I do remember he had fries on the side and gave it a thumbs-up upon completion.

And, while we really don’t agree on a lot of things very often, Hart and I both concluded Johnny’s would be a great place to enjoy a malt beverage with a pizza. I have no idea if that is in the plans now that Grayson has voted to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages. I asked the friendly server and she said (in a way that indicated she’s had to answer that one often) they might not add beer to the menu because much of the customer base might be offended by it. I spoke to another person who is friends with the owner, and got a chuckle at that comment and the idea the business wouldn’t take advantage of such an option.

Speaking for myself and others who appreciate a glass of wine or a beer with anything in the Italian-food family, I can safely say I would intentionally drive to Grayson to eat there if the beverage option was available.   

 Johnny’s Pizza is at 117 W. Main St. in Grayson. For more information or to place an order, call (606) 474-2441.


If you enjoy being fashionable, and you are young or have fashion-conscious kids, you’ll be interested in knowing a new P.S. by Aeropostale should be open at Ashland Town Center by the end of the month.

Aeropostale specializes in casual apparel and accessories, primarily aimed at  ages 14 through 17, with the P.S. brand marketed for ages 4 through 12. For more information, visit aeropostale.com or ps4u.com.

Which way should I go?

Since I’m just rattling things off the top of my head for this piece, I will admit I have a bunch of follow-up work to do. Those missions include a few tough tasks — like making it to the Ashland Elks lodge for one of those great cheeseburgers I wrote about several weeks ago. I’m also overdue for a good meal at Suplex Tacos on 13th Street, and I haven’t been to Jim’s Hot Dogs & Spaghetti in what seems like weeks. And, I will soon check the progress of the new Mexican market at Meade Station Plaza.

While I’m at it, something tells me I have misplaced a note about a small business, although for the life of me I can’t even nudge a memory about where to look for it or who to call for a repeat. If you’ve been watching this column for a note about your business and you still haven’t seen it, give me a call this week and remind me.

All of this is leading to another request for your guidance, seeking the names and locations of small businesses (especially restaurants) that might be good to write about. While I tend to be Ashland-centric, I’m especially interested in hearing about places in the region. I intend to be on the road a great deal during the months ahead, and it is always valuable to know where to find the good stuff.

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