Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

June 16, 2013

Tim Preston: Strangely familiar flavors; bacon on a footlong; and fast photos: 6/16/13

ASHLAND — I recently mentioned that Maria Lemaster from Maria’s Manila Asian Market was planning to bring a sample of some of the foods she grew up with, and sells at her store, into the newsroom.

While I expected her to bring a few of those delicious Goldilocks cakes and maybe a bag of cracker nuts, Maria instead showed up at the office with friends and family packing huge trays of freshly prepared foods and served up a lunch that had everyone in the office smiling and talking about for days to come.

I took advantage of the opportunity to interview Maria, as well as my old buddy Chuck Robertson, about foods and traditions in the Philippines and they told a fascinating story  I’m saving for use in an upcoming special edition. I will, however, share a little bit about some of the foods they treated us to on that recent Friday.

Instead of serving up some of the more unusual items they stock at the store, Maria and crew brought things similar to dishes we share in common. For example, there was a steaming container of adobo, which is basically a roast pork dish, and another called afritada, which is essentially a beef stew. The meal also included two types of eggrolls, along with plain and fried rice, and a couple of sauces that practically defy description.

We talked a lot about our favorite traditional foods, and without robbing my notes too heavily, I learned Philippine-style cooking is a blend of things reflecting the history and overlapping cultures of the island nation — particularly Hispanic and Polynesian flavors. Robertson, who prepared the most-excellent fried rice as well as the adobo and a special adobo sauce, also seemed to take a lot of pride in his efforts to modernize his mom’s traditional recipes.

Considering the success of Maria’s market, Robertson said he is considering opening a Philippine-style restaurant in the area. While we may not be familiar with the names of the dishes, everyone who shared the meal that day agreed it was outstanding food and we want more.

We also had a few laughs talking about things like silver fish (which are unwanted pests here, but are tiny, anchovy-like fish to the rest of the world), and a delicacy called balut (look that one up on your own as I fear you won’t believe me if I describe it). Maria said she was surprised to have many of her American customers who’ve spent time abroad ask for balut as the No. 1 item on their wish list.

Maria’s Manila Asian Market is at 1564 Diederich Blvd. in Russell. For more information, call (606) 388-4088.

Rock N Robins

I was in Russell for the opening of the new senior center and the start of Railroad Days, where I met a friend who offered to buy lunch from the nearby Rock N Robins restaurant while we discussed our schemes for an upcoming documentary/memorial project about Mike Murphy.

I walked in with a clear choice on my mind, since I’ve been hearing great things about the restaurant’s remake of the Flying Saucer burger. My buddy ordered a footlong hot dog, however, and that firm decision went right out the window when I realized I could get one of those babies “with everything” plus the ultimate topping — bacon. I ordered a side of onion rings and my pal said we could split an order of cheesecake bites for dessert. I didn’t see any tables inside or out, which was fine as we adjourned to a nearby patio to enjoy our lunches.

My long dog was excellent, and just a little on the messy side, with just enough bacon on there to add flavor. The onion rings were hot and crispy, and the meal was generous enough I barely had any room remaining for the cheesecake bites, which were just as good as my friend had promised. My beverage of the day was also served over my favorite kind of restaurant ice — the kind that looks like it was frozen in a straw.

I was back in Russell the following day and planned to go back for a Flying Saucer-style burger, and was disheartened to discover the little restaurant was closed on Saturday. Several people have also mentioned the place has an outstanding “hot bar” with different daily selections, as well as two-dozen flavors of high-quality ice cream.

The restaurant is at 501 Bellefonte St., and is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Winery dinner

I learned a new word last week while researching an unfamiliar dessert dish included on the menu for Friday’s dinner and wine tasting at Rock Springs Winery and Vineyard in Carter County. The word was “banoffee,” which I discovered is a compilation of banana and toffee.

The dinner, which gets under way at 6:30 p.m. with a wine tasting and vineyard tour, features an appetizer of olive bruschetta salad with raspberry vinegarette, followed by an entree of Tuscan pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes and vegetable medley, and topped off with banoffee pie. Dinner is served with a glass of wine or soda, or you can have a beer for a few dollars more.

Reservations are accepted through the day before the event. For more information or to make a reservation, call (606) 923-9085.

Short, sweet shoots

Local photographer Rachael Layne (whose name rarely gets spelled correctly) sent a note advising she is offering a service many might appreciate.

“I am going to be doing short, but sweet, 30-minute photo shoots,” she said, explaining she will meet subjects at Ashland’s Central Park from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. the first Saturday of each month.

Text or call (606) 615-2835, email RL.Fierce.Fotography@gmail.com or FB message facebook.com/FierceFotography. Or one can stop by Studio 139 in the Pendleton Art Center for a walk-in appointment, then meet her at the park after the shoot is set up.

Layne also invites people to visit her at the Pendleton on First Fridays. The studio is headquarters for her photo company as well as Dragon’s Layers, “which is all of my handmade jewelry and items.”

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

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Uncovering forgotten treasures

    You know the big difference between me and a hoarder? I mean, except that you can walk through my house and there are none of the disgusting aspects of hoarding in my life.
     

    April 14, 2014

  • Political stories worth retelling

    With Kentucky in the midst of the political season, it’s time to share some stories I’ve heard about the art of politicking.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 0413timbizcolweb.jpg Tim Preston: Great salmon; finding Dr. Amy; and more Maria: 4/13/14

    It isn’t an especially convenient location unless you happen to be going that way, and if you don’t get there within the next couple of weeks you’ll have to wait until fall to try it out, but I had the best lunch I can remember last week at one of the last places you’d likely think of when pondering where to eat.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Restaurant horror stories; garden planning tips

    In my couponing classes, I always had fun with everyone by telling them gross restaurant stories. In encouraging them to eat at home more and save their money, I was also teaching them how much cleaner it is.
     

    April 12, 2014

  • Feeling happy is ...

    Anyone hoping the Ashland-Huntington area will soon overtake Disney World as “the happiest place on Earth” will be waiting awhile.
     

    April 10, 2014

  • 0410markcol.jpg Mark Maynard: Brick House (South Ashland Florist) brings in $13K so far: 04/10/14

    Here’s a 14-name salute coming your way:

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cannon: Take this joint, please: 04/09/14

    Some of the things that occurred during our recent week in Jamaica were unexpected and even a bit weird. I suspect those will be the things we will still clearly remember long after the memories of the hours of lying on the beach have faded. I started to mention them in last week’s column, but opted to save them until a later date in the interest of length.

    April 8, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: March Madness, sadness for Cats

    It’s just another game. That’s the message John Calipari preached profusely throughout the 2014 NCAA tournament. It’s typical coachspeak, but Cal’s young Kentucky team clung to the step-by-step approach to produce atypical results.

    April 8, 2014

  • Sweet thoughts on the season

    So far, I’ve been a good girl. Or a pretty good girl anyway. See, I have this thing for Reese’s peanut butter eggs. Homemade peanut butter eggs? Eh. I can take ‘em or leave ‘em.
     

    April 7, 2014

  • What happened to safety of childhood?

    In the years before air conditioning, we slept soundly and safely with the screen door often unlatched.

    April 6, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone