The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Columns

September 6, 2013

Enjoying an out-of-this-world lunch with a friendly alien

Point Blank

I had lunch with an alien the other day. The petite time traveler landed his weird-looking craft at a used car lot in town. He’d been around the universe a time or two, at least that’s what he said.

We met at a hamburger joint called “Ray’s Outer Limits,” a place noted for extraterrestrials and cosmic curios. It’s located just off Bradbury Boulevard near the Space Museum.

The atmosphere is very hip but comfortable. Artwork from around the universe adorns the walls. Much of it is for sale and I have purchased some pieces as gifts. There is free wi-fi and many people linger for hours and are encouraged to do so.

They have a number of used sci-fi books there for browsing or purchase with the proceeds going to the local museum for non-profit. They have fresh bakery items daily. Their delightful coffee and teas are fair trade and organic. They have a number of inventive specialty-coffee drinks. The staff is very cool and very attentive to your needs. They are active on social media and are always tweeting or posting on Facebook about Happy-Hour specials or what is going on. I recently saw a post about a 60-calorie Almond Frappe that they had. I am not a frappe kind of guy usually, but I do know that you can’t even sniff a frappe at most places for 60 calories. I tried it and liked it.

I really enjoy the food at Ray’s Outer Limits. It is a limited menu — simple, but good, fresh and organic, and local whenever possible. Everything can be made vegan — if you want it — just ask. I have tried just about everything by now, but my favorite is the Vegan Alien Burrito. I am not sure if it was inspired by Area 51 or the Twilight Zone, but what is not to like about a spinach tortilla filled with beans, couscous, pepper jack cheese, hummus, avocado, red bell pepper, tomato and spinach — many of my favorite things all wrapped together.

As locals, Ray’s Outer Limits is one of those places we need to treasure. If you are from out of town (or from another galaxy for that matter), Ray’s is about a mile off the strip, east of the airport. It is a great destination point to enjoy something that can’t be found at a hotel. Enjoy your time there and just hang out, or take it to-go and head across the road to the new section of Sunset Park. There is an amazing network of conscious and kind eaters out there and the number is growing daily. This is not a trend or something that will fade away in time.  

Ray’s, though, is not only vegan-friendly, but Angus friendly as well. Aliens come in by the droves to sample the quarter pounders with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise and mustard.

Ray, owner of the establishment, claims his burgers are the finest in the entire galaxy. His buns are slathered with a celestial sauce and his cheese is collected from the Milky Way. Only choice cuts of “intergalactic beef,” about the size of small asteroids, are grilled over an open spacecraft.

My new alien friend ordered a “Cosmic Angry Bull Double Decker” with a Moon Pie and a side of “Stellar Onion Rings.” He raved about the meal, saying that he’d have to travel the length of the entire universe to find a comparable menu. He paid his bill with some strange looking coins that had eye-like jewels on them. Owner Ray bellowed from behind the bar, “Come back the next time you’re in the Solar System.”

Everybody was happy. The alien got a gourmet lunch before blasting off for outer space, and Ray wound up with coins worth a fortune. The quarter-size disks are on display at a local pawn shop, where Ray gets the “used rocket parts” for his grill.

So, I guess it’s just natural with life throughout cosmos that, when it comes to “stellar entrees,” the higher forms devour the lower forms.         

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Top o’ the morning!

— Blankenship is a reporter for The Register-Herald.

E-mail: jabbb@suddenlink.net

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