Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 25, 2013

Tim Preston: Trader Joe's; a haunted move; consignments; and a field report: 8/25/13

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — One of my favorite local people apparently read my recent note about the effort to bring Trader Joe’s to Huntington and attract Target to Ashland. Since I’ve never had a Trader Joe’s experience, she decided to give me a little taste of the action and I arrived at work to find a bag of great stuff from that particular grocery store in another city, along with an outstanding giant sub from Firehouse Subs.

Man, that was some good stuff.

The Trader Joe’s bag had only “store brand” items, including Trader Joe’s vacuum fried pineapple chips, which I shared with a musician friend who took one taste and got this big goofy grin on face before saying he didn’t expect “an explosion of flavor” from the healthy snack. There was also a box of Meyer lemon-flavored Old-World-Recipe cookie thins my wife and I both went nuts for. I had assumed the recipe was created by someone named Meyer, but it turns out it’s a type of citrus fruit native to China and “thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange.” The cookies reminded both of us of the Moravian spice cookies we used to enjoy while living in Winston-Salem, N.C., although I’ll rank them as 10 times more delicious.

And, the real treat was a bag I initially looked at and thought, “I wonder who I can give this to?” For nearly a decade I’ve been avoiding cashews because of an allergic reaction that causes me to break out and itch in places no man wants to scratch. The tough part is I genuinely love cashews and could easily eat pounds of them in a single sitting. So, when I saw a bag of Trader Joe’s Thai Lime and chili cashews, I thought I could use my incredible willpower to just leave them sealed. That lasted for maybe two minutes before I was telling myself, “You can get away with one or two of them,” which soon turned to “I know I’ll pay for this, but I’m going to eat a few more of these.” I limited myself to a fistful of the spicy, citrusy cashews (which aren’t really nuts if you want to research that one on your own) and waited for the next few days to see where the intense itch would show up. To my shock, I never had the first reaction and started eating those cashews in increasing  amounts until I had finished the 1-pound package. Reading the label, I also discovered there was no actual lime involved, and the cashews got their distinctive flavor from the leaves of the Thai lime tree.

So, without ever stepping foot into a Trader Joe’s, I’m a huge fan. If the economic development folks in Huntington can recruit these folks into the area, I’ll certainly make the short drive to shop there.

And, the Facebook campaign to bring a Target store to the Kyova Mall at Cannonsburg is also reported to be at or beyond the halfway mark as far as the number who’ve signed up to show their support. If you like the idea of having a Target store locally, log on there and hit the “Like” to show your support.

Bogie’s on the move

Bogie’s, a local haunted house that has been in operation for the past six years, has announced plans to relocate in Raceland at 469 Greenup Ave. Owners Rick and Jodi Mullins report the business relies upon the help and dedication of friends, family members and local businesses, and they give back to the community every year. Last year, for example, they gathered nearly 400 pounds of nonperishable food for Ashland Community Kitchen.

Bogie’s Haunted House will be open Oct. 4, with frights available starting at 8 p.m. each Friday and Saturday through Nov. 2. Admission will be $5, with children younger than 5 admitted free. Big believers in family-oriented activities, the Mullinses say they started Bogie’s based on their desire to provide safe activities for children.

For more information, check out the video on YouTube, visit the Facebook page or call (606) 694-2924.

New in Grayson

There is a new consignment store called Sugar-n-Spice & Puppy Dog Tails Consignment behind Rite Aid Pharmacy on Carol Malone Boulevard in Grayson.

Store owners Clay and Kim Settle say they are eager to work with consignors and shoppers. The business features clothing for newborns, toddlers, boys, girls, youth, college age and adults as well as maternity wear. They also offer name-brand clothing lines such as American Eagle, Mud Pie, Gymboree, Justice, Pink, Miss Me, Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch and UK collegiate wear. The shop also sells shoes, accessories, books, backpacks, purses, stuffed animals, children’s games, baby nursery items and more.

The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday. The store is closed Sunday and Monday. The Settles “pledge to offer high quality, gently used clothing and merchandise to their customers with a large selection of styles and sizes,” in addition to excellent customer service.

The shop is accepting clothing and items from consignors. All clothing must be freshly laundered, in excellent condition, stylish and “in season,” and free of holes, stains, odors, damage, pet hair and similar concerns. Consignor “take-in” days are Tuesday and Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For more information, visit the Facebook page, email sspconsignment@yahoo.com, or call (606) 615-8150.

Greek to me

I’ve had a few messages in response to editor Mark Maynard’s search for a Greek salad, including a report the cafeteria at King’s Daughters Medical Center makes an excellent version of the classic salad.

And, perhaps the most practical advice came in an email from Kali Orexi advising, “Tim, it’s very easy to prepare. Even you and Mark can do it.” The message offered the following recipe: “Greens (lettuce), cucumbers, onions, tomatoes. Mix with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano to taste. Toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar and top off with feta cheese and kalamata olives (sold at Kroger’s).”

I’m not sure if Mr. Maynard is a do-it-yourself kind of guy or not, so if anyone knows of any other good commercially prepared Greek salads, please let us know.

Traveling burger brothers

I love field reports, especially from the small band of friends who seem to be willing to travel great distances to test drive interesting burgers.

This week’s report comes from nearby West Virginia, where the fellows made the apparent mistake of ordering a burger at a barbecue restaurant.

“We went upriver on our burger search, we ended up at Buddy's All American BBQ at 1537 Third Ave. in Huntington,” their report said. “My burger buddy and I ordered the Buddy Burger with cheese and bacon at additional cost of 79 cents per item. The wedge fries were included in the Buddy Burger price of $5.99. They also have a 1/2 pound burger for $6.99, plus additional cost of 79 cents per add-on item.”

Both concluded the meat was in the form of frozen patties, resulting in a chewy burger of uneven consistency. “They need to stick to their pulled pork, beef and chicken. The restaurant was busy, but we felt this was an evening gathering place by the atmosphere, serving adult beverages, and since it is only a few blocks from Marshall U,” the reported.

Despite the low marks for the burger, the traveling team gave the service at Buddy’s an excellent rating, noting their server asked “how everything was” at least four times. They also gave the place five stars for atmosphere, and awarded four stars for menu variety.

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